Last Night: Broken Social Scene at the Palladium Ballroom

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Broken Social Scene
Palladium Ballroom
August 7, 2009

Better than: The last time I caught Broken Social Scene in Vancouver. Check out photos from the show in our slideshow here.

When Broken Social Scene frontman and co-founder Kevin Drew fell ill earlier this year, the band was left with no choice but to back out of its January 30 show at House of Blues, which left many BSS fans disappointed. And, yeah, some Dallas fans even turned bitter and spiteful, resorting to posting nasty remarks on message boards, local blogs and even on BSS's own website. The next night BSS managed to play in Austin.

Adding fuel to the fire at Austin Town Hall that next night, co-founder Brendan Canning directed a few catty remarks back at the Dallas fans, stating that: "Anyone who wrote anything negative can seriously go fuck themselves. Those are obviously just ill informed little dweebs with too much time on their hands...If [Dallas has] fans like that, we'd rather be without them."

Well, last night it was clear that time had healed all wounds and all the bad vibes and bad blood had faded, because the Palladium Ballroom was packed and there was nothing but good vibes and "self-help" love in air. (Last night, Drew said/joked(?) that he sees BSS as a "self-help" band, and that University of North Texas's own Dr. Phil has asked them to play on his show, but doing so would be "selling out" and that rather BSS is more of "an intimate band.")

However, the good vibes were in the air even before BSS started thanks to a phenomenal set by Fort Worth's Telegraph Canyon.

Telegraph Canyon's upcoming album The Tide and The Current, to be released August 18, was up for grabs last night for $10 -- a very good call, because by the end of the night people were devouring the albums like they had devoured the band's set.

By the end of Telegraph Canyon's first song, the crowd was already whipped up to the point of clapping and shouting along, and Chris Johnson belted out his heartfelt lyrics in his best "if Win Butler had never left Texas" style. The audience seemed to cling to every song.

And then, there was BSS.

Drew opened the band's set by apologizing for canceling the January show, but by the time the band finally walked off the stage two hours later, he had probably repeated his apology another four or five times. By then the crowd didn't really need to hear all the details about the cancellation (which, it turns out, was just a case of the flu). But Drew explained that it was such a bad case that he wasn't allowed to board the flight to Dallas. He assured the crowd it was also the first time they had canceled a show since the band's formation in 1999.

Founded by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, the band has featured a revolving cast of talented Canadian musicians from bands like Stars, Metric and Apostle of Hustle -- just to name a few. Last night only solidified the band's revolving-door membership policy as Drew and Canning were backed by numerous members of the Arts & Crafts Records family, as well as some local musicians. (Drew paused between several songs to thanks some of The Polyphonic Spree's horn section for playing with BSS last night.)

After his first apology of the night, Drew said BSS was hoping they could make it up to Dallas.

"We're here for you, and we're here for John Hughes." Drew then dedicated "Lover's Spit," the first song of the night, to the filmmaker.

After another of Drew's many apologies, he dedicated a song that had never been played on U.S. soil to Dallas. It was better than receiving an "I'm Sorry" greeting card or even a hug for that matter, a sincere and memorable moment. And, based on the crowd's reaction, Drew can stop apologizing already.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note
: It seemed the crowd last night was not only celebrating a great Canadian band, but also Canada's much more liberal view on cannabis use.

By The Way: I've caught Telegraph Canyon four, maybe five, times now, and each time the band has managed to wow me the exact same as the first time I saw them at Hailey's one rainy afternoon last year.

Personal Bias: I love, love, love Arts & Crafts Records.

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