Brendan Canning, co-founder of the sprawling indie rock collective Broken Social Scene, released his second solo record in 2013 and assembled a five-piece band to tour it for 2014. The group made a stop at Great Scott Monday night with support from Boston natives Eksi Ekso and South Shore-based songwriter White Hinterland. And see below the gallery for a recap of the show.
The Canadian alt-rocker is most notably recognized in the indiesphere as co-founder of the experimental collective Broken Social Scene. Over the course of his two-decade-long career, he has worked on an impressive list of side projects which include scoring films, DJing, and playing with Toronto bands hHead, Len, and the recently revived rock outfit Cookie Duster. With BSS on its second year of indefinite hiatus, Canning himself shows no signs of stopping.
“I’m not really a retire-and-hang-out-on-the-beach kind of guy,” said Canning, who once worked a buttoned-up 9-to-5 gig in the filing room of a bank.
Most recently, he composed the score for a creepy, futuristic interactive video game/film based on a premise involving director David Cronenberg selling his intellectual rights to a biotech lab. It’s OK, he didn’t really get it at first either, “When they first told me about the project, I thought they were being serious, like [he] actually sold his intellectual property.”
Canning seems to have a real knack for going with the flow, and it’s an underlying theme of his sophomore solo LP “You Gots 2 Chill” (awesome title) which he released back in October under his own label, Draper Street Records.
This album is intimate, ambient, and stripped-down, while still fueled by the textured, psychedelic riffs that have characterized his earlier work. Canning likens the sound to the “bedroom rock” he recorded with Kevin Drew on BSS’s 2001 debut album “Feel Good Lost.” But this time, the term might translate more literally.
“You Gots 2 Chill” was conceived in Canning’s home on Toronto’s Draper Street, also the site and inspiration for the launch of the eponymous independent record label. “I like the grounding foundation of having a neighborhood, and I’ve lived here for like 20 years,” said Canning. “I went from a couch-surfer, to a renter, to an owner, all in the same house.”
Last night, Canning brought his acoustic guitar, his new music, and a hand-picked five-piece touring band to one of Boston’s own historic neighborhoods — Allston. Just down the street from Aerosmith’s old apartment, Canning and his band performed multi-layered, fleshed-out renditions of his mellow songs that evoked the rich, fuzzed-out, noise rock of BSS. The flannel-clad crowd bobbed and swayed as the band opened with the energetic lead single from the album, “Plugged In.”
Mid-way through the set, Canning surprised the crowd in a humorous nod to his homeland covering “a famous Canadian song” — Drake’s hit, “Hold On We’re Going Home” — which alone was worth the price of admission.
The set wrapped up with an epic finish as each band member completely wailed on their respective instruments at the end of “Turn Again.” The band left Canning alone onstage to finish his furious finger-picking freestyle.
With a final strum he raised a whiskey shot to the audience, placed his guitar on the stand, and said, “See you guys at the after-party.”