No artist really thinks success is something that will cause problems. At least until it happens. What, after all, do you do when your dreams come true?
Toronto's Broken Social Scene is currently facing this dilemma. An art-rock/experimental collective, which, at various times, has been a guitar-led orchestra and a humble four-piece, the band has followed its own course, sticking to a "play and record when it's convenient for all concerned" approach. Broken Social Scene was a project conceived as a means for seasoned musicians to celebrate the joy they take in making music, and nothing more.
All of that changed with the band's sophomore effort, "You Forgot It in People," which nabbed a Canadian Juno Award and raised its profile considerably. A smash appearance at last March's South By Southwest festival brought the major labels calling. Soon the band had to make a decision -- were they going to "get serious" about this whole thing, and sacrifice some of the off-the-cuff, casual magic that made "People" one of the best rock albums of last year? Or should they eschew broader success, hang on to those day gigs and play when they feel like it?
The band members decided to split the difference. Indie label Arts and Crafts will distribute "You Forgot It in People" in North America; major label Mercury will distribute it in the rest of the world. And the band has now been whittled down to an essential core, with guest musicians joining in when they are able.
With the cancellation of the Lollapalooza Festival, tours have been rerouted, and in many instances, outright canceled. This week's Thursday at the Square was to present Sound Tribe Sector 9, which was part of the Lollapalooza trek, and when that fest went bust, the band canceled its square date, too. Broken Social Scene was part of Lollapalooza, too, but will tour anyway. The band will take Sound Tribe Sector 9's place at 5 p.m. Thursday in Lafayette Square and will be joined by John Brown's Body. This should be one to remember.