AMANDA MAR­SHALL, BRO­KEN SO­CIAL SCENE MAKE BOLD RE­TURNS TO FES­TI­VAL STAGE

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - ahelmer@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/ helmera AEDAN HELMER

Amanda Mar­shall / Bro­ken So­cial Scene Ci­tyFolk, Lans­downe Park Re­viewed Friday

The tri­umphant re­turn of Amanda Mar­shall to the con­cert stage af­ter a 16-year hia­tus was nearly up­staged by the equally fierce re­turn of Toronto in­die rock col­lec­tive Bro­ken So­cial Scene.

For the sec­ond night in a row, Ci­tyFolk fea­tured an open­ing act that could have just as eas­ily served as a head­liner on any other night — Thurs­day’s stir­ring per­for­mance by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats left fans chant­ing for more be­fore Jack John­son’s head­lin­ing set. And on Friday, it felt like Bro­ken So­cial Scene were just warm­ing up when their time was up.

Mar­shall, who hasn’t re­leased new mu­sic since 2001, but has hinted for years at a re­turn to the stage and stu­dio, seemed just as happy as her fans were that she was back in the sad­dle, launch­ing her long-awaited head­lin­ing set with her 1999 smash hit Ride.

“It’s been a re­ally, re­ally long time, Ottawa,” she said. “The last time I was here, there was no Uber, no Snapchat, there was no Net­flix — what were we all do­ing with our spare time? The world has changed, Ottawa.”

Yes, the world may have changed, but Mar­shall sounded al­most ex­actly the same as she did all those years ago, be­fore an ugly man­age­ment dis­pute forced her exit from the spot­light.

Dressed in fire en­gine red, and with a crack seven-piece band in tow, with a pair of backup singers aug­ment­ing Mar­shall’s al­ways-pow­er­ful vo­cals, Mar­shall led long-serv­ing fans on a trip through the Cana­dian sin­gles charts, circa 1996.

“You hear this song in the gro­cery store, so I know you know it. It’s tat­tooed on your soul, Ottawa,” she joked, in­tro­duc­ing Fall From Grace, from the self­ti­tled de­but that launched her to Can-rock roy­alty.

Fans joined in the cho­rus of Sun­day Morn­ing Af­ter, rocked along in beat on Un­til We Fall In and Last Exit to Eden, made Mar­shall feel as if she were Sit­ting on Top of the World, and swayed and sang along to every word of If I Didn’t Have You and Trust Me (This is Love).

On Trust Me, Mar­shall took a cheeky de­tour to tease a cho­rus of Cyndi Lau­per’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

By the time she played her big­gest hit Birm­ing­ham, it was clear that for one girl in par­tic­u­lar on this night, it was a whole lotta fun.

Fans of the re­volv­ing-door cast of Toronto in­die rock icons Bro­ken So­cial Scene fi­nally got their fix, though they didn’t have to wait nearly as long — the band’s lat­est Hug of Thun­der was de­liv­ered this sum­mer af­ter a sev­enyear break be­tween al­bums.

The 10-piece col­lec­tive wasted no time mak­ing up for their ab­sence, with front­man Kevin Drew promis­ing at the out­set: “We came here to rock out our guts for the next hour.”

They be­gan by pick­ing up right where they left off, with the slow-burn of World Sick, from 2010’s For­give­ness Rock Record, build­ing into a blaze of gui­tar riffs as core mem­bers Drew, An­drew White­man and Bren­dan Can­ning rocked out with elec­tric gui­tars raised to the heav­ens, while Charles Spearin laid down the bass over Justin Peroff’s fu­ri­ous back­beat.

The party was only get­ting started.

A two-piece horn sec­tion joined for the rous­ing cho­rus of KC Ac­ci­den­tal, be­fore the band in­vited their pals from Stars, singer Amy Mil­lan and mul­ti­in­stru­men­tal­ist Evan Cran­ley, with new singer Ariel En­gle round­ing out the sound with her pow­er­ful har­monies on 7/4 Shore­line.

By the song’s spir­ited end, there were no less than nine mu­si­cians lined up along the front of the stage un­der a swirl of pur­ple lights, and the crowd couldn’t help but feel the good vibes pour­ing from the stage.

The band over­came a few early tech­ni­cal glitches that would barely have been noticed given the sheer num­ber of the band’s mem­ber­ship mak­ing up for any hic­cups.

The crew man­aged to dig En­gle’s vo­cal mic out from be­ing buried in the thick mix just in time for her fea­tured lead vo­cals on the new tune Stay Happy.

Af­ter lead gui­tarist White­man stepped up to the mic to lead the charge on Fire Eye’d Boy, Can­ning nearly flubbed his turn at lead vo­cal on the “old school song” Stars and Sons, from their 2002 break­through You For­got It In Peo­ple.

He fi­nally found the cor­rect gui­tar ca­ble — “The green one, not the grey one! There’s a lot of ca­bles up here,” he joked — though the old school fans didn’t seem to mind, and needed no prompt­ing in join­ing the cla­pa­long cho­rus.

“This is the first day back at the of­fice, folks,” he said, as the band em­barks on its first ma­jor North Amer­i­can tour in years.

Ci­tyFolk con­tin­ues Saturday with Fa­ther John Misty head­lin­ing.

PHO­TOS: WAYNE CUDDINGTON

Bro­ken So­cial Scene per­form on the City Stage dur­ing Day 3 of Ci­tyFolk Fes­ti­val 2017 at Lans­downe Park.

Son Lit­tle lays down some licks.

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