Mother Mother Preview The Sticks at The Drake

Date of show: August 20, 2012
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

Still in town after their Echo Beach gig the night prior, British Columbia’s Mother Mother “christened [the] unbridled little entities” off their upcoming new album, The Sticks at a “clandestine affair” at the Drake Underground. An invite-only “secret hush hush” gig, the room was surprisingly only about half-filled, predominantly with industry folk and other bands – plus some lucky (hard-core) young fans who managed to get in. This created a bit of an odd dichotomy in the atmosphere as these few rocked out with their glow sticks and LED balls, falling over themselves in awe of the band; the rest of us meanwhile enjoyed the music in a more dignified manner, yet still getting our dance on – because who can resist dancing to Mother Mother?! Certain bands have the ability to cause time and space to fade away while they are on stage – Mother Mother are one of those bands.

Ryan Guldemond (vocals, guitar) was front and centre with sister Molly Guldemond (vocals, synths) and Jasmin Parkin (vocals, keys) flanking him on each side, providing backup vocals and high energy dance moves to the performance. The night started with some familiar hits – “Body of Years” and “The Stand” – before they got to the “new shit.” The band has taken on some pretty heavy themes on these new songs – including “insignificance and quantum physics” on “Infinitesimal” and the “dread of the existential crisis” on “Business Man” – but never missed a danceable synth-laden beat. For something completely different, Jeremy Page demonstrated instrumental dexterity, dropping the bass in favour of some soulful saxophone on “Love It Dissipates.”

Further highlights of the set included the sinisterly creepy title track “The Sticks,” which very much fit the atmosphere of the red-curtained stage in the basement room, and could well have been the soundtrack to a terrifying circus sideshow or cult-ish gathering deep in the woods. Single “Let’s Fall In Love” was an edgy “ironic” homage to the Cole Porter ballad. A love song it was not, but a dynamic head-banging dance track it was. They also covered Wintersleep’s “Weighty Ghost,” claiming it as “the newest song we’ve written, it has a lot of potential.” Untrue, but if you were to somehow be unfamiliar with the east coast band, you likely would have believed Ryan and announced it as your new favourite song – they pulled it off that well.

Unable to shut out the rest of the world forever, the set had to come to a close eventually – it was a Monday night after all. Shifting focus, they took it back to standby favourites, including the high-energy “O My Heart” and “Hayloft” to end the night.

I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to see such a formidable Canadian act in a setting as intimate as the Drake Underground. Remarking that it had been “one of the highlights of our lives, being here,” Ryan promised the band would see the audience “in the future” – I certainly hope this is true because we’d love the chance to buy them a shot when the new record comes out!

The Sticks drops September 18, 2012 via Last Gang Records.

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Categories: Live Music


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