May 19, 2009

Broken Social Scene and crew shatter expectations

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Discontented murmurs abounded in dorms and on Facebook in the days leading up to this year's Summer Breeze concert. The lineup, headlined by the ever-so-indie Broken Social Scene, was decried as too exclusionary and obscure, especially after last spring's sold-out show headlined by Cake. The numbers in Hutch Courtyard were certainly embarrassingly sparse for the first couple of hours of the concert, but by the end of the evening, it seemed as though enough students had caved in to their inner hipster. A crowd of around 1,500 passed through the gates, and those students who did give this year's Summer Breeze a chance were given a surprisingly enthusiastic, energetic show.Patchwurk, a three-student folk group that placed first in Delta Kappa Epsilon's Battle of the Bands, opened the concert to a supportive early crowd. After a brief set change, Voxtrot took the stage. Though it was somewhat disappointing that the popular song “Raised by Wolves” was played second, before the set had gained steam, hearing the four bandmembers cry “I will never live like you, but you will probably die like me” amidst loud cheering created enough energy to last through the rest of their time onstage. Voxtrot frontman Ramesh Srivastava made a somewhat misguided effort at engaging the crowd when he said that the University had “the best looking college students I've ever seen,” but got more appreciation when he added that students should “savor that, because it doesn't last.”After a long delay, dusk was falling as Santigold began her set. Warm lights swept across a D.J. and two robot-like dancers, immediately amping up the crowd. Santigold's voice cut through the cool evening with the opening of “You'll Find a Way.” The bold and brassy singer got the swelling crowd moving with a combination of songs like “Say Aha,” “L.E.S Artistes,” and an excellent rendition of Jay-Z's “Brooklyn (Go Hard),” all of which worked wonderfully with her carefree stage manner.Before her last song, Santigold invited a few enthusiastic audience members onto the stage to dance along. For a moment, it looked as though the 12 rambunctious students might overwhelm the band’s temporary platform. But after a little rough treatment by one of the dancers, the students settled down, leaving Santigold to perform her hit “Creator” with the grace and energy that characterized her entire performance.Closing out the evening, Broken Social Scene proved themselves to be seasoned performers. Though the Canadians weren't as flashy as their forerunners, they hit the courtyard with a wall of sound, transitioning seamlessly through a set that included standbys like “It's All Gonna Break” and “Cause=Time.” Members of the band including Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and Lisa Lobsinger (on an entrancing “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl”), gave as acoustically impressive a performance as always, their chaotic instrumentation lingering in the open air. Along with the concert's other acts, Broken Social Scene delivered what proved to be a heartfelt and entertaining—if somewhat obscure—Summer Breeze.