Mother Mother thrills die-hard fans at The Gateway
West Coast band shows that indie and commercial can work in tandem
Vancouver five-piece Mother Mother’s reputation effectively preceded them on Friday Jan. 13 at The Gateway with a genial and generous performance.
Touring behind last year’s release Eureka, the bulk of the night’s set list was recent-centric, but the band provided an unforgettable night of killer solos, impressive vocal standoffs and memorable performances.
Tickets for the show sold out within days of going on sale and it was clear that the indie rock-dance troupe has a devout Calgary following. The crowd was full of die-hard fans, like those who fiercely protected their prime spots as well as repeat attendees. I was told of one ultra-devoted fan from Red Deer coming in for her 15th Mother Mother show.
It could have been the cabernet in my system or feeling packed in with some of the most rabid fans I’ve ever encountered, but it was clear the crowd’s excitement was going to ensure a great time even if the band failed to deliver. Fortunately, they more than delivered.
While sticking to mostly songs from the most recent Eureka, Mother Mother didn’t ignore the songs that earned them most of the fans gathered at The Gateway that night. “Body of Years” and “O My Heart” whipped up an awesome dance party and pushed anyone holding an open drink to the back of the room.
The show included everything you’d expect from a Mother Mother show: stomping sing-alongs, their irresistible breed of synth-rock bangers like “Hayloft” and dream-folk songs like “Wrecking Ball” bolstered by the unique storm of the signature sibling vocals of Ryan and Molly Guldemond.
It’s impossible to hate Mother Mother. They did an amazing job of delivering their loveable, but rock-out-worthy songs. They sounded sublime, impressively close to their recordings (with more awesome shredding solos). Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin provided the night’s synths and amazing female vocals switching between bombastic cries and almost child-like coos.
Each member of the band was on point and at their best, each contributing to three minute explosions of sound that kept everyone bouncing on their feet. Drummer Ali Siadat kept everything sounding tight — providing an understated groove to Mother Mother’s sound. I loved the righteous male and female ramblings and shrieks of “Chasing It Down” and “The Stand,” which reminded me of how awesome and resistant to genre-labeling this band is.
It was a pleasure to see the five musicians strike numerous great jam grooves while engaging so cohesively with each other and the audience, whom they treated like old pals and new friendly acquaintances. Singer/guitarist/de facto leader Ryan Guldemond vocalized his appreciation multiple times for the energetic crowd and Calgary’s role in Mother Mother’s career.
I love Mother Mother when they’re at their most off-colour so my favorite song they played was “Verbatim.”
I have to commend The Gateway for their sound set-up; each musician sounded clear and the performance could’ve been recorded live. I would probably part with cold cash for a copy of it.
Canadian west coast bands seem to offer us less contained, sillier, self-satirizing music that stands in contrast to the different calibre of more considered, industry conscious music concentrated in other regions.
Mother Mother’s music offers a varied, fun sound that can’t and shouldn’t be denied. I’m sure the crowd contained more than a few initial skeptical converts and individuals kicking themselves for not picking up the band’s music earlier.
This show marked an interesting point in the band’s career for me to be able to see how their music has outgrown the size of campus bars. By not taking themselves too seriously, Mother Mother succeed at playing with that stubborn indie versus commercial division by putting on ambitious but playful performances that can convince us of both.