Concerts Concerts Mother Mother Is Quite The Mother

Mother Mother Is Quite The Mother

Mother Mother at Phoenix Concert Theatre
Mother Mother
Birds Of Tokyo, Whale Tooth
Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, ON
March 11, 2011

Photos and Review by: Pete Nema

Kicking off Canadian Music Fest 2011, Mother Mother played to a sold out crowd at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Wednesday, with support from Australian band Birds Of Tokyo and local outfit Whale Tooth.

Mother Mother

If ever there was a Canadian band ready to take on the world, Mother Mother is it right now. Over the course of the past 5 or 6 years, this band has developed a sound and stage presence unlike any other current band (that I'm aware of) in the world. Front-man Ryan Guldemond (vocals, guitar) is charismatic on his own, but put him together with duelling vocalists and keyboard players Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, and you've got a combination that is both captivating and evocative.

They opened with the widely loved "O My Heart" which meant the already restless crowd started pushing to the front and jumping in unison, and by the time they hit the chorus of second song, "Hayloft", there was even a little slam dancing going on near the stage. The set list focused on a lot of their new material, much of which was unfamiliar to a good portion of the crowd, causing a little bit of a lull in the first half of the show. They reached back to their debut album, Touch Up, for only three of the approximately 20 songs played, including the final song of the night "Verbatim". And they saved their new single, "The Stand", for near the end of the proper set, then choosing "Body Of Years" and the gentle "Sleep Awake" for their pre-break songs.

As I moved from the front of the stage toward the back and around the edges, I could definitely sense a difference in audience-to-band connection levels. Near the front, there was a bubble of interconnected energy that extended out through the centre of the crowd, but around the edges it felt like a portion of the packed house may have only been there to hear a few hits.

Whatever. This band is absolutely brilliant, and it's difficult to not become more and more attached to their music the more you listen to it. "The Stand" is probably my most-played new track of 2011 simply because on each listen, it burrows a little further into my subconscious. Let's hope this Vancouver band visits our city again soon.

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Birds Of Tokyo

It is often the case that popular bands have trouble expanding out of their own region and country. Even more so when that country is relatively remote, as is the case with Australia. Birds Of Tokyo is a band based out of Perth, Australia, and although you may not have heard of them, in their homeland they have a platinum-selling album, their 3rd and self-titled LP, that peaked the charts at #2.

Their sound likely represents the current state of popular Australian alternative, with influences from earlier Aussie bands such as Midnight Oil, and possibly even a few influences from Canadian 90's alternative. Their sound and style clashed somewhat with that of Whale Tooth, and some people in the audience were (incorrectly) expecting Mother Mother to hit the stage next, so it took a few songs for the crowd to make the appropriate mental adjustment. However, by the end of the set, the contingent of local Australians joined forces with some of the new fans to cheer on the band.

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Whale Tooth

Having never seen Whale Tooth before, and not being at all familiar with their music, it's fair to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It shouldn't have been at all surprising to me, though, since I've heard quite a few good things about this band. Elise LeGrow (vocals) is responsible for a good portion of all the charm coming from the stage. Because she performs only vocals, she is free to roam around and rock out, which makes for a visually striking presentation. Overall, a decent performance, and a good accompaniment to Mother Mother.

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