Broken Social Scene recruited guitarist Johnny Marr for a poignant live version of “Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” Tuesday night in Manchester, one day after the horrific suicide bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert in the city.
Frontman Kevin Drew opened by thanking the Manchester crowd for showing up to the show, which kicks off their European tour. “What’s most important is tonight we’re here together, all of us,” he said in a humbled tone. “That’s what we can do, and that’s what we’re doing. So thank you, Manchester. We’re so happy – there’s no other place we’d rather be than here with you.”
The singer then called the Manchester-born Marr to the stage, announcing him as the city’s own “legend.” The former Smiths guitarist helped flesh out the ambient atmosphere of the track, which originally appeared on the Canadian indie-rock band’s 2002 LP, You Forgot It in People. Metric singer Emily Haines crooned the song’s lullaby-like vocal line over a wall of textured guitars, Justin Peroff’s muted tom-toms and the stirring hum of Charles Spearin’s nyckelharpa, a Swedish string instrument.
“Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” was a poignant symbolic choice as the bombing – which killed 22 and wounded over 100 – resulted in numerous young female victims.
Broken Social Scene will issue their long-awaited fifth LP, Hug of Thunder, on July 7th. The album, which follows 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, features previously released tracks “Halfway Home” and the title-track.