Photo: Norman Wong Courtesy Broken Social Scene
Article: Kevin Heffernan, Bridget Schaefer

Broken Social Scene is coming to Buffalo

They’re headlining this weekend’s Cobblestone Live music festival downtown, with a show on Saturday night.

BSS has been an important influence to us over the last decade. Arriving late to the game, it wasn’t until I heard “7/4 Shoreline” on satellite radio that I started to look for more from the band. Forgiveness Rock Record came out shortly after that and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Formed by Brendan Canning (By Divine Right) and Kevin Drew (K.C. Accidental), the eclectic indie rock group out of Toronto is made up of as many as 17 members over the years. Their music and musicians hail from a wide variety of genres, including members from Metric, Feist, Stars, Shalabi Effect, Do Make Say Think, and more.

We’re so excited to see them in downtown Buffalo Saturday, and got to chat with Brendan Canning about the band’s evolution and style.

While everyone involved in BSS is staying active with their own projects, how easy or difficult is it to “get the band back together” to record with 5-7 year gaps between albums?

It’s not the easiest crew to wrangle that’s for sure and it does take a little longer for songs to get finished but that’s always kind of been the nature of this band. Everyone involved is committed to seeing the ideas through however and that’s why BSS continues to stay active.

At Rise Collaborative, we find ourselves focusing heavily on women’s empowerment issues in the past 1 – 2 years. Can you tell us about how “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl” came to fruition, and how its message fits into that theme, if at all?

That song was very collaborative in nature not unlike many BSS tunes. Emily Haines sang the original and vocals it’s like Ariel Engle, Amy Millan, Lisa Lobsinger or Feist have all put their lungs to it over the years. These are all very talented and strong women I just mentioned.

Photo Erik Voake, Courtesy Broken Social Scene (Brendan Canning on Guitar)

Tell us a little about your writing and recording process. Do songs start as a melody in someone’s head, or does a jam session get accidentally recorded and then added to/perfected over time? (for example, Da Da Da Da)

Every song has a different story on how they became what they are . I wouldn’t say there is an accidental recording. Perhaps a happy accident here or there but it’s a highly experimental process often. Seeing what fits and what doesn’t fit.

What was your best Buffalo memory?

The last gig we did at Town Ballroom with Sea&Cake was probably our best one in your town but there’s also been a couple outdoor festival plays over the years that were pretty great. Buffalo is a town we don’t play often enough.

(Yeah we know!)

The idea for Cobblestone Live was born from several local bars & distilleries coming together to revitalize the historic cobblestone district in Buffalo. It’s bringing together the neighborhood and the city as a whole with a 2-day festival in downtown Buffalo (something this city hasn’t had before). We’re seeing this theme of rising up in Buffalo a lot lately. What are you looking forward to as you headline Cobblestone Live?

BSS is a band perfectly suited for a headline slot at Cobblestone Live. We’re a group that was birthed out of a city on the rise. What’s happening with this festival is something we helped to cultivate in the early 2000’s in Toronto. Support one another, support local business, support your friends and colleagues. This mentality is what makes a city great and helps generate positivity and goodwill. The gig should end up feeling as much like a family reunion as a rock roll festival.

You’ll be coming to Buffalo right off a performance in your hometown. How does playing in Toronto compare to other cities?

Your message box fills up much faster with guest list requests when it’s a hometown gig.

Buffalo folks are always heading to Toronto for shows, plus 102.1 and 97.7 are often dialed in on Buffalo radios. Can you tell us what the homegrown scene is looking like in Toronto and some groups we should be keeping our eyes peeled for?

Some groups I’m liking from
Toronto these days are Deliluh, Charlotte Cornfield, Raleigh, Bernice, Harrison, Odonis Odonis and Jennifer Castle.


See you Friday and Saturday in the Cobblestone District for all the fun! TICKETS.