WayBright Stage, Oro-Medonte ON, July 25
It was a surprising turn of events for everyone, including Broken Social Scene themselves; after scheduled performers Passion Pit backed out last minute due to illness, the technically defunct rock collective hauled up to WayHome to take their spot. The crowd was jazzed, but few more so than the performers themselves: with over a dozen players, including Stars’ Amy Millan and Evan Cranley, the performance was a celebration of life’s surprises and curveballs, such as the one that forged the set in the first place.
Nearly entirely composed of tracks from their second and third albums — their breakthrough You Forgot It In People and its self-titled follow-up — the last-minute setup removed the frenetic clatter of Dave Neufeld’s production but retained the jubilance.
Though supposedly on hiatus, the set didn’t find the band resting on their laurels as they continually reworked and retooled the songs, such as embracing their post-rock roots with a cutting rendition of “Shampoo Suicide” that built into a crushing, heartfelt conclusion, and adding a horn section to the end of “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” led by Millan in Emily Haines’ absence. Broken Social Scene have always played up the ramshackle element to their vibe, but the members’ veteran status shone through as they seemed completely unfazed by the myriad transitions, or the performance itself.
In the end, the last-minute nature of the set fed off of Broken Social Scene’s ethos perfectly: when life threw something unexpected their way, the band handled it with by performing their hearts out.