I went with Lauren to see an incestuous musical furpile last night at Richards on Richards: Jason Collett, Stars & Broken Social Scene. And when I say incestuous musical furpile I mean that in the best, most wholesome way possible: everyone is in each others’ band, and coming and going and toing and froing with wild, easy abandon that is probably significantly more difficult that they made it all look, especially what with the various and numerous technical difficulties glitching the show.
Despite all this they rose above to create a really wonderful, amazing show. It’s best to think of the concert more as one musical play with 3 acts, rather than one concert with 3 bands – because there’s a definite coherence about it all. Jason Collett opened to an undeservedly tepid reception as he twanged his way through some country/folk, adding a new member to the stage with every song, until he finally cut loose with a generic rocker. So maybe he’s not deserving of a glorious reception, but given the size and knowledgeableness of the crowd, he deserved better. His quirky, obtuse inter-song banter didn’t help, although I enjoyed his renaming his band between every song bit.
So after Jason Collett came Stars who aren’t nearly so saccharine live, but are every bit as sweet. This formed the love-interest building second-act, with their soft poppy tunes. Which normally would be damning criticism from me, but for this, it is in fact praise. The singer (who’s name is something like Torquil), seemed something like an overgrown child, with his manic smile and spastic dancing and over-large clothes, while Amy Millan looks a little like a doll come to life (with that crazy over-processed, razor-sharp-yet-still-shaggy hair), and was all still and somber. She also provided quite passable Johnny Cash cover during one of the technical difficulties.
Broken Social Scene provided the action-packed, intense, glorious climax in act 3, rocking out hard with their beautifully layered guitars, mumbled lyrics and near-prog-rock pretentiousness. Everyone came on stage during their set to help out, and it all worked beautifully. The energy and passion they bring to their music really translates well live, and the crowd was totally digging it (including the ever-increasinly-drunk girl next to me, whom I thought might just possibly transform into the sullen drunk girl of Saturday Night Live fame at any moment. The person with her showed marvellous patience with her, I think). So eventually, what seemed to be at the same time hours and mere moments after they got on stage, the set ended and they walked off. The crowd wanted more, but as they explained, ‘they don’t believe in encores’, and I walked out. It’s quite possible the crowd managed to convince them to play an encore, but the set and ended so perfectly that I decided to leave it at that.