Kevin Drew Marquee Club, Halifax NS, October 24
Published Oct 25, 2014At a Kevin Drew show, some chaos and disorder is to be expected; after all, it's not like his band is called "United" Social Scene. Yet even by those standards, Friday's night's HPX set was something of a mess.
Backed by Broken Social Scene (BSS) regulars Justin Peroff on drums and Charles Spearin on bass — along with Martin Kinack and former Stills member Dave Hamelin — Drew's show seemed to welcome one minor malady after another. Despite being smaller than a typical BSS crew, the band made such a cacophonous racket that early-set songs like "You In Your Were" and "Backed Out on the Cause" turned into impenetrable walls of noise. A broken guitar string during "Superconnected" put the entire set on hold while it was fixed; it must have been only about four or five minutes, but felt like at least three times that. An attempt to make "Mexican Aftershow Party" "as impossibly loud as we can" went about as well as you'd expect. (Drew even spent most of the set telling the crowd it was Saturday night; it was, of course, Friday.)
Not that the set didn't have its moments. There's no denying the quality of Drew's best songs, whether it's selected BSS classics or his solo material. An unexpected revival of an old KC Accidental instrumental brought a whole different energy to the set, as did Drew taking on some songs with his acoustic guitar. Things started to settle after mid-set highlight "Safety Bricks," in which the band seemed to hit upon a certain subtlety that had been absent to that point.
Drew was in typically good spirits, even as things faltered. "We're taking a hit tonight at the Marquee," he laughed. "Nothing works out the way you think it will and that's okay." Indeed it is, Kevin: Last night's set was unlikely to win over any idle passers through, but for BSS fans used to the band's taste for chaos, they'll still be there the next time the band comes through town, eager to hear if they can channel it into something wonderful.