Live Review: Broken Social Scene and TV on the Radio at the Mann, Philadelphia, PA, 9-9-11

Being the brilliant parent that i am, i talked the Missus into taking our five-month-old to see Broken Social Scene and TV on the Radio on a double bill in Philly this past weekend.  While i hadn’t been to the Mann in nearly two decades, i figured an outdoor venue with lawn seating was the place to take an infant whose only previous concert experience came via the womb during Prince’s last tour.

From a musical point of view, both bands were in rare form.  While BSS seemed the more laid back of the two, they put on a solid set covering all their albums, plus a couple of covers (Modest Mouse and U2; who knew?).  Opening with “Cause = Time,” they never really let up after inviting a couple onstage to watch from a better vantage point.  Let’s just be honest for a minute, Kevin Drew is the kind of Canadian you’d like your sister to date, assuming you want your sister to date a Canuck (and who doesn’t?).  When the crowd started chanting for an encore, Drew came out and launched into an acapella version of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” informing the audience that if they didn’t sing along loudly, he was out.  Well, that got the crowd going through the entire “encore.”  As he put it, “karaoke for the soul is a good thing.”

To be honest, i’ve kind of fallen off on TVotR since Dear Science.  Truth be told, i haven’t even listened to the new one in its entirety.  Of course, that doesn’t mean i don’t love their back catalogue, and they played my faves, including “Young Liars” (their best track?  i think so.) and closing with “Wolf Like Me.”  Now, as we did have the five month old with us, we did leave just as they started their encore, which i didn’t recognize anyway.  They may well have brought Jesus out on bass and blown the roof off the mother, but all i can say is that they put on a damn fine set prior to that.  Vocally, it was the best i’ve heard them sound out of the three or four times i had seen them previously.

Here are some things i learned as the guy with the five month old in tow.

1.  If you bring your infant, the only other people who brought theirs will find you and sit next to you, regardless of the fact that you’re still strangers.  What if my kid had a weapon, even though we assured the security guard he did not?  Pretty risky, if you ask me.

2.  People don’t offer other people with five month olds in tow drugs, regardless of the fact that they’ll smoke them within smelling distance.  Height of rudeness, i must say.  Not the smoking near us part; obviously, the not sharing part.

3.  While i can’t get the boy to sit still for more than 15 minutes at home, he sat entranced for all of BSS and most of TVotR.  As a live music addict, i couldn’t have been prouder.

Now if i could only get him to pay more attention to Star Wars…

mp3: Major Label Debut (slow) (Broken Social Scene from KCRW on 11-08-05)

mp3: Major Label Debut (fast) (Broken Social Scene from Stockholm, Sweden on 7-08-04)

mp3: Playhouses (Kyp Malone from Ma Fama on 7-24-07)

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