The National Arts Centre is a really spectacular venue for a concert of any size and magnitude. Even more so when the musical artist on the stage is pouring their heart out and the audience is electric. That was just the case this past Friday night, as a capacity crowd of passionate Canadian music lovers arose from their seats and ignored the sitting room guidelines to celebrate the ever-evolving indie dream-rock sounds of Mother Mother.
I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the west coast five-some, and have not always truly appreciated everything that they bring to the table. Their live show, much like their albums, tend to go through peaks and valleys for me. They hit me with a dance pop song or two and then mellow me out with some obscure imagery and the narrative sometimes gets lost in the process. Or at least that was my previous experience when I watched them on tour with their last album at an open air summer festival.
This time around was different. And while I had my reservations going into the show, truthfully they more than delivered as the evening went on. As someone who only owns a copy of their first album, I was surprised by just how much of their more recent material I found myself humming along to. Mother Mother seem to have their fingers on the pulse of something happening in Canadian music, and I had to be there in that setting to see it for myself in order to truly appreciate it.
Kicking things off was Los Angeles area singer/songwriter K. Flay, who’s underground single “Blood In The Cut” is finding its way onto Spotify playlists and college radio stations across North America. Walking in during her performance, I had no background on who she was and was entirely unfamiliar with her sound. What I saw was someone who was creating something fairly unapologetic and eclectic. A mix of industrial synth sounds, coupled with urban folky hip-hop storytelling, set to a dream pop type vocal styling, she was really something to see. Looking around the room, I could plainly see for myself that a lot of people in the crowd were familiar with her sound and knew the words off by heart.
With lines like “Never trust a poet because we know how to speak,” I found myself really wrapped up in the story she was telling. It was almost as if Lorde collaborated with later day Nine Inch Nails as Macklemore produced the record, as she jumped back and forth through genres in each and every song. At the end of the concert, one thing I was sure of was that I was going to purchase her album and listen to it obsessively the entire trip home.
When Mother Mother finally hit the stage, I felt almost out of place. While so many seemed excited, it actually took me a few songs to warm up to what I was watching. But warm up I did. While much of the content on their debut album “Oh My Heart” came across as eccentric metaphor to me, I feel as though their lyrical style have evolved greatly since that time. While I found myself drawn to songs from “Sticks” to “Very Bad Things,” I was mesmerized by their new single “The Drugs,” and found myself singing along like it was a song I had locked into my subconscious, when in fact I had never heard it in its entirety before.
Add a unique rendition of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades,” and a picture perfect version of the Led Zeppelin classic “Dazed And Confused,” as well as an outstanding light show, and you are buckled in for a really enjoyable concert that offers something consistently different than what many concert goers become used to experiencing.
Ryan and Jasmin seem to deliver note for note. Add Molly’s eccentric childlike voice to a three-part harmony, and this band strikes a chord that many bands miss. Overall, I walked away impressed, having corrected my own misgivings about previous tours, and obsessed with K. Flay’s “Blood In The Cut,” which has been in heavy rotation since I exited the picturesque Ottawa facility.
For more information on Mother Mother and where you can catch them live visit them at www.mothermothersite.com