Modest mouse , Broken Social Scene and Metric at Olympic Island, June 26. Tickets: $48.50 (including ferry). Attendance: 8,000. Rating: NNN
There's a distinct target market for giant festival-type shows. In the case of Sunday's Olympic Island extravaganza, this appeared to be university-age folks who enjoy tossing frisbees and jammin' to classic reggae riddims. They were in luck, because someone in the sound booth brought his reggae box set, and it was revisited during every set change.
Regardless of demographic, good times were widespread on this relentlessly hot, sunny day. The crowd trickled in all day on packed ferries. Despite transportation frustrations, some miscommunication and a lack of signage, everything on-site ran like a well-oiled machine.
Metric took the stage with much more energy than might be expected of a band facing direct late-afternoon sun, but only truly connected with the the audience in the middle of their final song, when singer Emily Haines started talking to the audience, saying that "We live in the best place in the world." A roar rose up at Haines' remark, "They may be sexier in America, but they're uglier on the inside."
Broken Social Scene packed the stage with its rotating cast of 20-odd members and all the swagger and power that have made them notorious, acknowledging Pride Weekend by asking all the boys to kiss a boy and all the girls to kiss a girl. They worked it out with a long sunset set that showcased all the qualities that make them impossible not to like - despite all the egos and the fact that their 12-minute epic songs are so over-the-top. They did it up hometown-style, with all the prodigals (Leslie Feist, Amy Millan) back in the fold for the occasion.
After that tough act to follow, Modest Mouse crept out just after sundown's cool-down and, blessed with crystal-clear sound, laid down a pitch-perfect if staid performance. They're not an animated bunch onstage and didn't have much to say, but the admiring crowd ate it up and sang along.
It all culminated with many of the day's performers piling back onstage together to serve up a lovefest that gave us enough momentum for the journey home.