Witnessing the Variety Playhouse jammed to the rafters for a sold-out show is an breathtaking experience. Wednesday night, concertgoers stuffed themselves into every available nook and cranny to see Broken Social Scene, the indie rock supergroup from Canada.
Broken Social Scene isn't a traditional band, but rather a musical collective — Wikipedia puts it at 19 current members. For this show, eight of those members graced the stage to play a marvelous two and a half hour set.
The semi-anonymous band members wandered on- and offstage throughout the night, creating a sense of wondrous chaos. They picked up and discarded instruments seemingly at random; they jumped in front of various mikes just in time to sing their parts. During one crescendo of chords, two guitarists and a keyboardist went down on one knee simultaneously. The moment had a bizarre, half-coordinate grace. Amber spotlights shone from the back of the stage, silhouetting the musicians as they played through several of their most well-known tracks. "7/4 (Shoreline)" and "Fire Eye'd Boy" drew particularly pleased responses from the crowd.
As the swirling guitars and shoegaze vocals built, the show took on the feeling of a beautifully soundtracked dream. The crowd waited eagerly for each new song. The beat thrummed through the floors. Even from my seat in the second tier of the balcony, I could feel it shaking through the house, carrying us all away.