Recap: Broken Social Scene at The Mann Center

The challenges a venue like The Mann Center must contend with acoustically and otherwise are myriad. There’s the monumental, gaping ceiling, crisscrossed with spidery rafters; the oblong breaches in the structure’s sides that make it an open-air space; and, of course, the unpredictability of the forecast. Then there is the hugeness of the Center itself; unfilled, it seems like its pitched rows of bucket seats go on for miles. As the members of Broken Social Scene—opening for TV On The Radio—took the stage Friday night, the weather obliged with a clear, balmy evening. But their performance suffered due to a sparse crowd (“We could have done this at my house,” singer Kevin Drew said at one point) and poor sound.

Broken Social Scene kicked off the concert with “Cause=Time” and “Texico Bitches.” During the second song, Drew responded to an enthusiastic fan’s “I love you, Kevin!” by pulling him on stage and handing him a maraca. Later, Drew ended the show by singing a fragment of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as an a cappella duet with the audience, a valiant attempt at conjuring a collective bond. It was as if he were determined to convert the cavernous Mann into a cozy club.

“All To All” and especially “Fire Eye’d Boy” were the most successful renditions of the night, taking full advantage of Broken Social Scene’s potential as a nine-piece that includes trombones, tambourines, violins, saxophones, and multiple vocalists. You’d think that the lengthy, baroque layers of BSS’ arrangements would lend themselves well to the Mann’s expanse, but on Friday the many moving parts were muddied. At times, witnessing the show from further back felt like being submerged in a puddle of sound, with shards of noise bouncing off every surface and in every direction in a way that was messy and overwhelming. “Meet Me In The Basement” and Modest Mouse cover “The World At Large” were less effective because of this. On “Major Label Debut,” one of the strongest tracks off 2005’s Broken Social Scene, Drew’s crisp voice was stifled and suppressed by the spiraling echoes.

Its setting is perhaps the Mann’s best asset. With sloping, manicured green lawns, pools of yellow light trapped under dark trees, and a postcard-perfect view of the city skyline, it boasts the kind of backdrop that most shows can’t hope to match. Despite the low attendance and the murky mix, Broken Social Scene delivered a set that embraced both the location and the moment.


Just Announced: Ray Davies to play at Temple Performing Arts Center in November

Former Kinks frontman Ray Davies is bringing his solo act to Philadelphia November 19th. Davies’ lengthy solo career was recently capped with 2010’s See My Friends, which charted to number 12 in the UK. See My Friends was a collaborative re-recording of many of Davies’ original Kinks compositions. Among the other artists featured on the record are Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Spoon, and the late Alex Chilton. Tickets to the show are not yet available.


Video: Hank And Cupcakes’ live performance at Paste Magazine

Hank And Cupcakes—which will perform at Milkboy’s new Center City location later this month—is featured on Paste Magazine‘s website today with a video featuring performances of three original songs and one cover (“Like A G6”). The Israeli-born husband (Hank) and wife (Cupcakes) duo plays a brand of dance-beat-heavy, electro-synth pop; the pair’s 2008 move to Brooklyn was the catalyst for its burgeoning American success. Click here to watch the video.

Hank And Cupcakes performs with Gang and Pink Skull at Milkboy Coffe on September 17th; tickets are on sale now and cost $8.


Video: St. Vincent’s greatest cover song performances

Consequence Of Sound just posted a collection of videos highlighting St. Vincent’s best cover performances. The clips drive home St. Vincent’s skills as a musician, singer, and guitarist, able to deftly interpret others’ words and notes and make them her own. The 12 videos include her takes on tracks from The Beatles, Nico, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and The Magnetic Fields as well as duets with Andrew Bird and Bon Iver. You can watch St. Vincent’s cover of “Dig A Pony” below; visit Consequence Of Sound to check out the rest. St. Vincent performs at Union Transfer on November 2nd; tickets to the all-ages show are $16.


Just Announced: Fanfarlo playing Johnny Brenda’s in November

The members of indie-pop band Fanfarlo have just announced that they will perform at Johnny Brenda’s on November 1st, reports The Swollen Fox. Tickets to the 21+ show are $15 and are available now. The group, which takes its name from a Baudelaire novella, also revealed that its second album is finished, though no word yet on when it will be released. You can watch the video for the new single “Replicate” below.


The Jim Jones Revue to perform a Free at Noon show at World Cafe Sept. 16th

British garage rockers The Jim Jones Revue are scheduled to play a Free At Noon show at World Cafe Live next Friday, September 16th. The five-piece band recently released its second album, Burning Your House Down, August 16th on Punk Rock Blues Records. The new album was produced by Jim Sclavunos, who’s also worked with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and Sonic Youth. To reserve a ticket to the free show when they become available, click here. Tickets to today’s Free At Noon concert featuring Kingsfoil and Dana Alexandra are still available.


Watch the new video for “Holy Holy” by Wye Oak (opening for The National tonight and tomorrow at the Academy Of Music)

As we mentioned earlier today, Wye Oak will open for The National and Yo La Tengo at the Academy Of Music tonight and tomorrow night. Below, you can watch the new video for the Baltimore-based duo’s song “Holy Holy,” a sun-soaked, dreamy clip shot in Coney Island that follows the two as they ride roller coasters and swings against a washed out sky. “Holy Holy” is from the band’s latest album Civilian, which came out this spring. Wye Oak performs with The National and Yo La Tengo at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 7th, and Thurday, September 8th, at the Academy Of Music; tickets to the all-ages shows are $39.50.

Wye Oak – Holy Holy from Merge Records on Vimeo.


Reading Rainbow’s Vitamin Water Uncapped performance rescheduled for Sept. 28th

Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow‘s previously canceled Vitamin Water Uncapped show has been rescheduled for September 28th, according to the band’s Twitter. The earlier date, August 27th, was cut when Hurricane Irene intervened. The 21+ concert will be free and take place at Sigma Sound Studios. Reading Rainbow will be accompanied by The Homophones and Cat Vet.

UPDATE 9/8/11 (1:30 p.m.): An earlier version of this post stated that the show was on September 29th, as was originally mentioned on Reading Rainbow’s Twitter. As Johnny Brenda’s Chris Ward mentioned below, the show is on the 28th.