You could feel the good vibes bouncing off the walls as adoring fans packed the Orpheum to see Mother Mother Wednesday night. The Vancouver-based band rocked a sold out show at the Orpheum, which was the final stop of their Canadian Fall tour with their latest album The Sticks.
The night opened up with another Vancouver-based artist, Hannah Georgas, who performed a set of mostly new songs from her self-titled album Hannah Georgas. Based on her performance, it was made clear that she has mastered the formula of the conventional Canadian indie pop sound: power chords, a money beat, female vocals comparable to Feist, and sprinkles of synth. Even though she upheld consistency with her style, I was unimpressed by the lack of musical dynamic in her songs, and what I thought was her lack of engagement as a performer.
Hannah Georgas proved that one could barely scrape by playing it safe and bland, whereas Mother Mother proved that they are truly rock stars. Their set was spectacular; there was wild lighting, flashy outfits, smoke machines, and screaming fans. While the show was very flashy, it did not take away from the fact that the heart of the performance was the band’s ability to deliver a flawless set that showcased their musicianship. Taking only a few pauses to change instruments, the band played a nearly non-stop set. There were elaborate transitions from song to song, as in between numbers “O My Heart” and “Let’s Fall in Love”; the guitar solo in “Body of Years” was lengthened and embellished in a tasteful manner. I could attribute Mother Mother’s amazing live sound to the tight vocal performance of siblings Molly and Ryan Guldemond, but that would be ignoring the solid drumming of Ali Siadat and Ryan Guldemond’s impressive strength as a guitarist. The band brought us through a set that was completely energetic, showing off their prowess as musicians and performers.
It is instantly clear that Mother Mother has a synthy and playful rock sound that is truly distinct and unique to them. While they performed danceable numbers of their repertoire like “Baby Don’t Dance” that remain true to their consistent brand of Mother Mother sound, they also played acoustic sing-alongs “Dread in My Heart” and “Ghosting.” They were able to tone the performance down from their edgy rock sound, while keeping the energy level high and the fans interested. All too quickly, the night concluded with an encore performance of another sing-along, “Love it Dissipates” and fan favourite “Wreckingball.”
And if they weren’t loveable based on musicianship, the band took a moment at the end of the night to give special Thank You’s. They expressed sincere gratitude for their Vancouver fan base, their backstage hands, sound crew, and tour mates Hannah Georgas and her band.
The Mother Mother concert was a microcosm of music performance as a whole; I really noticed the way that some artists, like Mother Mother, use the spotlight to show off their unmatchable talents. If anything, Hannah Georgas showed off her shortcomings as a performer. The night also reminded me of the way that bands like Mother Mother have the ability to create their own sound and not fall to the pressures of the constantly changing amoeba that is the music world. In a time where music acts are incorporating synth and going electro (e.g. Tegan and Sara, Hannah Georgas), I admire the way that Mother Mother has maintained and mastered a sound that is consistently progressive in its own way. It rocks.
Photos © Derek Robitaille