Published Jun 18, 2009This Arts & Crafts showcase/book launch for This Book Is Broken had the worst kept secret in Toronto: the re-appearance of Broken Social Scene (pictured). I mean, who doesn't play at a show dedicated to their brief, yet memorable, career? Jason Collett got the night going with aplomb and a Dylan-esque drawl. Backed up by the shaggy lumberjacks of Zeus, the many new songs featured his sunny clarity and ambling aim, charming all. An extended set that alternated between Ohad Benchetrit's Years and Charles Spearin's Happiness Project brought some much needed contrast to the evening. While Years, in their live debut, only really impressed when they expanded to a full band, thus skewing very close to Benchetrit's other day job in Do Make Say Think, Spearin's Happiness Project was incredibly inspired and tight. With the excitement of Broken Social Scene on the way, Apostle of Hustle came on stage wired to fuck around with his song structures and strut like they owned the place. Which they did. While their wonky arrangements irked, you can't fault the dynamic energy and sheer talent.
While the whole crew, a mixture of "classic" and "new" Broken Social Scene, took to the stage and gave us a healthy selection of not-too-shabby new songs, the crowd was really waiting for the hits. So when surprise guest Leslie Feist sauntered on stage and the band threw themselves into "7/4 (Shoreline)," it was damn near perfect. Still, songs like the anthemic new "Force Is Love" and the epic lost b-side "New Country" won people over due to that infectiously shambolic BSS charm. With such moments as Feist throwing herself into "Almost Crimes" and the band cramming 15-plus musicians on stage for "Major Label Debut," there was no doubt the band's future is their past and their past is their future. Long may they reign.