Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Mar 19th 2010 1:45PM by Joshua Ostroff
SXSW is heralded as a festival -- no, make that the festival -- that can make or break a band's career. The truth is that, of the 2000 bands that come down to Austin, TX each year, most won't walk out with a golden ticket. But some do, and Broken Social Scene was one such band back in 2003 during the Canadian indie collective's first sojourn to South-by.
"Everyone came to see the Stills, and we were on before them," recalls co-bandleader Kevin Drew during a soundcheck at Stubbs amphitheatre (and BBQ joint) for the first of two Broken Social Scene showcases this year. "We met a lot of people through that. That was a fluke. That's mainly what things come down to with this stuff... timing, luck and accident."
Broken wasn't the buzz band they would become by the following year, when they played Stubbs for the first time as conquering hero headliners, but "that first one was a big show for us in terms of people in the business we met and made friends with. We still continue working with a lot of people we met at that show back on 6th street," Drew tells Spinner.
"And then to come back the next year and play Stubbs on an amazing lineup. Outdoor venues were a new thing for me; I'd never really played outside a lot and this is one of the great venues of the world."
That 2004 show cemented Broken Social Scene's status as one of indie rock's leading lights and announced Canada's arrival as an indie music Mecca (assisted by an unannounced Stubbs set the day before by then little-known Metric, who blew away a gob-smacked crowd).
Now, after a six-year hiatus while the various Broken Social Scenesters pursued their other bands, solo projects and side-gigs, the full band has returned to SXSW to headline the big stage with new, never-heard music in hand.
"I kinda was disappointed it hasn't leaked yet," Drew says. "I wanted it to leak so people knew what we were playing. You don't make a record for stores anymore. You make it for the idea that you go and play it live now."
And play they did, taking to the Stubbs stage Thursday night with a coterie of friends and companions (the group occasionally swelled to as many as 13 players, including Metric, Jason Collett, and the Beauties, who sang back-up and acted as horn section) as BSS unveiled the new songs from their upcoming album 'Forgiveness Rock Record' for the very first time.
"These are our new anthems," Drew announced boldly as they took the stage, and then Broken proceeded to back up his claim, bouncing between raging new pop-rockers like 'World Sick' and 'Texico Bitches,' ballads like 'Sweetest Kill' and new single 'Forced to Love.' They dedicated 'Water in Hell' to the ongoing fight for health care reform, gave Lisa Lobsinger a vocal showcase ('All in All') and then blew the crowd (which included 'Twilight' star Kristen Stewart) away with the all-in festival jam, 'Meet Me in the Basement.'
"There's nothing better than to be with your family on stage and have everyone at peace, with their feet on the ground and just ready to do it for the reasons of being a band of the people," Drew said before the performance.
"I'm gonna scream, people are gonna scream and hopefully everyone will walk out feeling better. That's the goal. Always has been, always will be."