Mother Mother fail to ignite in Vancouver homecoming
Mother Mother played in Vancouver on Dec. 19, 2012. (Anil Sharma/CTV)
Robert Collins , CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:26AM PST
Last Updated Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:37PM PST
Credit where credit is due.
Mother Mother, at last night’s Tour Finale at Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre, looked fantastic. Twin keyboardists Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin glittered in sequined dresses when not silhouetted by the excellent lighting design, while frontman Ryan Guldemond’s quiff climbed skyward in arrogant glory.
And yet, for a night that promised so much – this being the sold out homecoming show for one of Vancouver’s hottest bands at arguably the city’s most prestigious venue, the concert never hit the heights expected of a welcome home celebration. More like ‘We’re back, better get started on the laundry.’
In Pictures: Mother Mother plays hometown show in Vancouver
Musically, Mother Mother’s sophisticated pop delivered occasional highlights. Merging a cover of the Pixies’ “Cactus” into their “The Stand” was a smart move. “Infinitesimal” went down particularly well. While Britpop-tinged bouncer “Bit By Bit” was a fan favourite, provoking the first major outbreak of dancing of the night.
However, every time the show threatened to boil over into something magnificent, Guldemond and his gang pulled the musical pot out of the fire, leaving the atmosphere resting on a gentle simmer. Mother Mother’s eclecticism has to be commended, but in the live arena, the shuffling between indie pop, musical theatre, party hard dancefloor fillers and atmospheric builders suggested a band still unsure of where its strengths lie. Guldemond’s between song banter wasn’t helping either, straddling a bizarre line between gratitude and morose philosophising.
“I don’t know whether to not smudge my fingers anywhere or to wreck the joint,” he suggested, commenting on the Orpheum’s magnificent interior. “Extremities: that’s what you want.”
“Life is meant to be a plate of suffering, but here we are!” he offered as an introduction to “Ghosting.” A lengthy ramble about “bullies who suffocate creativity” resolved itself in a dedication to Port Coquitlam’s Amanda Todd.
Whether Guldemond was enjoying playing commander in chief of the Odd Squad or if he was just nervous on his big night was never revealed. His sister and her glittering keyboard colleague Parkin were keeping the energy up with more than solid vocals and a never-ending supply of dance moves. The other two members of the band, drummer Ali Siadat and bass player (and occasional saxophone squealer) Jeremy Page, seemed content to hide in the shadows at the back of the stage, performing with all the presence and excitement of fruit ripening.
Only with the band’s big finale, “O My Heart” and “Let’s Fall In Love” did the head bobbing punctuating the crowd develop into a widespread outbreak of booty shaking. And then even that was halted when the band returned for an encore, accompanied by support act Hannah Georgas, for the stately paced “Love It Dissipates.”
One final Guldemond ramble followed, this one consisting of an unnecessary introduction of the entire crew, before “Wrecking Ball” sent the sold out crowd into the winter night singing along, if not entirely blown away.
Mother Mother could still be the Vancouver band that goes Carly Rae Jepsen sized in 2013. That classic homecoming show might await them still.