Bro­ken So­cial Scene re­flects on play­ing Manch­ester

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY DAVID FRIEND THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Mem­bers of Bro­ken So­cial Scene had to make a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion in the wake of the sui­cide bomb­ing at­tack that left 22 peo­ple dead in Manch­ester.

The Toronto band was sched­uled to open the Euro­pean leg of its tour for the up­com­ing al­bum “Hug of Thun­der’’ on May 23 at Al­bert Hall in Manch­ester.

A day ear­lier, a ter­ror­ist at­tack struck Manch­ester Arena, where thou­sands of young peo­ple had turned out for an Ari­ana Grande con­cert.

“We all sat in the back­stage room and had a big group meet­ing to see how ev­ery­body felt,’’ re­calls Charles Spearin, a mem­ber of the sprawl­ing rock col­lec­tive.

Ques­tions cir­cu­lated about whether the venue would still be open, while the band de­bated if it was ap­pro­pri­ate to go on stage when emo­tional wounds were so fresh.

The band de­cided their show must go on and thought the som­bre “An­thems for a Seven­teen Year-Old Girl’’ would set the ap­pro­pri­ate tone to open the con­cert.

Ear­lier plans had called for Manch­ester na­tive Johnny Marr, former gui­tarist for the Smiths, to join the band on stage. But the gui­tarist was ret­i­cent to en­ter­tain his home­town crowd when the whole coun­try was in emo­tional tat­ters.

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