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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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August 26, 2008
My dad, Eugene, often says things that leave me dumbfounded, bemused, or straight-up bewildered. Over breakfast on a recent trip to San Diego I recently found myself juggling all three emotions when he told me that Broken Social Scene was playing at the local House of Blues. Throughout the many years since I have moved on from discovering a "new" band like The Rolling Stones in his record collection to cutting off his Credence Clearwater Revival sing-alongs by slipping a Dead Prez CD into the car stereo, my dad has never really shown much interest in any of the music I listened to. Sure, in high school he would occasionally cast a perplexed glance/disapproving glare while passing my room from time to time, and once told me that he wished he had a gun so that he could shoot my stereo. With bands like The Locust in regular rotation, I kind of understood where he was coming from.

No matter how much I extolled the virtues of various bands and compared them favorably to his musical sensibilities, I never expected my dad to make the leap from Phil Collins to pretty much anything I listened to. So it took me more than a little by surprise when he commented positively on the Broken Social Scene album that I was playing in my apartment a couple of years ago. Of course, him being The Euge, about two seconds after telling him the name of the band he reaffirmed how much he liked the "Brother Social Set." I figured it was a passing fancy, and was frankly shocked to get periodic updates from my brother about how Broken Social Scene, in between right-wing nutcase talk radio, was on a near constant loop in my dad's home office.

Broken Social Scene


Broken Social Scene


Once I told him I would get us passes for their San Diego show, it was all he would talk about. As opposed to my jaded and generally shitty attitude about everything, his excitement leading up to Friday night was refreshing. I couldn't even begin to speculate on the last live show my dad had been to (he said it was Gordon Lightfoot a couple years back. In his defense, I think he was dragged to it by my mom) and, considering that he rarely leaves the house save for periodic forays to Home Depot, I was also afraid to speculate on what it would be like to accompany him to a crowded performance by one of the most popular bands in today's independent music scene. Turned out it was fucking awesome.

Unfortunately, we missed most of Menomena's set due to the close proximity of a friend's house to the show and his refrigerator full of beer. The three songs that I did catch were definitely good, but I couldn't help but think back blissfully to the time I saw them a year ago, in the same town, but in a place about one-tenth the size. While they were absolutely phenomenal at the Casbah, in the corporate expanse of HOB their dynamicism seemed to get a little lost.

Menomena


Menomena


After a short intermission spent trying to find someone in the audience older than The Euge, Broken Social Scene took the stage like a football team's offensive squad after the game's opening kickoff. My math may have been a bit fuzzy after celebrating the USA's domination of the Olympic medal count by drinking a sixer of Budweiser, but I'm pretty sure I counted twelve people on stage. Granted, the brass section didn't play on every song, but even without the horns it was like facing the starting five and a good portion of the bench of a basketball team. And, much like the Redeem Team would the following night, BSS killed it. The band played all of the traditional favorites from their breakthrough album, You Forgot It in People, as well as their self-titled 2005 album, and still managed to fill a good portion of the nearly two-hour set with cuts from primary members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning's "solo" albums.

I am always amazed that a band comprised of so many members can still play so tightly together. The epitome of professionalism, the members swapped singing duties, traded instruments, and not once missed a beat. The group exudes an electric presence on stage, radiating good vibes and expressing their joy in performing. Easily one of the best things about seeing Broken Social Scene live is that their congenial onstage attitude spills over into the crowd; everyone in the building, from the band to the audience to the bartenders to the poor souls selling Catfish Bites in the back, looked and acted like they were having a good time. Add to that Drew and Canning's seriously amiable stage banter and an encore that ends with an epic version of perhaps the bands' most epic song and the whole experience is, well, a recipe for an incredible amount of fun.

Broken Social Scene


Broken Social Scene


When asked afterwards how he enjoyed the show, The Euge remarked that it was really good, although he didn't appreciate the people next to him talking throughout the entire show. He couldn't understand why someone would pay thirty bucks for the privilege to yap the whole time the band was playing. It was with a sad face that I had to break it to him that obnoxious fans are pretty standard these days. Needless to say, I received the blank-look response that I expected. Nevertheless, I know that the show fulfilled all of his lofty expectations, and I was surprised that not once did I find myself embarrassed in the company of a man who, just a week before, had sat on a gigantic piece of taffy while at the movies and who once, while I was building something in the backyard, reproached me for using the "good" hammer. And not only that, but I was glad I was once again able to catch Broken Social Scene on a somewhat small-ish stage; the band seems destined to be engulfed by their huge popularity, and the definitely have the chops to graduate to much, much larger venues.

SEE ALSO: www.myspace.com/brokensocialscene
SEE ALSO: www.menomena.com

--
Kevin Alfoldy
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.

See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.

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