Solitary ecstasy

Mother Mother plays with set designed for Guldemond’s strengths

Mother Mother played Ale House on Sunday night to a packed crowd. They covered songs from their previous albums along with new material from their latest album The Sticks.
Mother Mother played Ale House on Sunday night to a packed crowd. They covered songs from their previous albums along with new material from their latest album The Sticks.
Photo: 
Photo: 

The difference between hearing something through your laptop speakers and seeing it live can be heartbreaking.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case when I stepped into Ale House last Sunday to see one of my favourite bands live for the first time. Their musical prowess was evident. But their likeability was less permanent.

The crowded show began with an intoxicatingly eerie version of “The Sticks,” the title track off the band’s latest album.

The audience didn’t need any warming up as they effortlessly began to sing along, the atmosphere just rowdy enough for a Sunday night.

Within minutes, “The Stand,” the band’s 2011 hit began with an instinctively danceable beat, immediately recognized by the crowd as Mother Mother’s most popular song.

Lead singer Ryan Guldemond’s energy was the constant of the evening, shining early on with his belts of “Everyone’s fucked and they don’t even know” reverberating across the stage.

But he remained largely trapped in a solitary ecstasy for most of the night, unable to connect enough with his audience. We all knew he was having a good time, but I wasn’t convinced he cared if we were having a good time with him.

Mid-show I realized it was easy to get engrossed in the band’s lyrical maturity, but as I looked on stage all I saw was Guldemond and his backup band.

Jasmin Parkin and Molly Guldemond undoubtedly brought their vocal harmonies forward and Jeremy Page and Ali Siadat kept the night going with their crisp strums and beats, but it was obvious that everything was performed to complement Guldemond’s strengths.

Whatever disjointedness was apparent on Sunday night did little to affect the overall quality of Mother Mother’s sound.

Their show was something of an unrequited love. Mother Mother may have given it their all, but I was left expecting more.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.