Mother Mother at the Phoenix, Toronto (CMW 2011) – Review and photos

March 10, 2011

Mother Mother at The Phoenix, Toronto, 9 March 2011 - photo by Caroline Aksich, Music Vice

The Gig: Mother Mother (part of Canadian Music Fest 2011)
Where: Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario
When: 9 March 2011
In One Word:  Robotic

Like many music fans attending Canadian Music Fest this week, one of the acts that I was most excited to see was Mother Mother’s performance at the Phoenix. I’ve really been enjoying the pre-release of Eureka, which is set to drop next Tuesday, especially the track “The Stand” which has a really sexy dance groove to it.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about shows- is that whether you’re seeing a favourite band or an up-and-comer, every show is a gamble.  There is no such thing as a sure ticket, and at tonight’s show lady luck is not doling out any pay-outs.

We arrive during the last two songs of Birds of Tokyo’s set, which is frankly about all that I can take of the Australian band. (I was a little sad to miss one of last year’s NXNE discoveries, local band Whale Tooth’s only performance this week. They played the 9 PM slot). Then, after a 30 minute waiting period, the band of that everyone is here to see tonight takes to the stage.

Mother Mother start the set off with the title track of their last release, O My Heart. When it comes to crowd-pleasers, this song should be a no-brainer- but even with my earplugs out, the applause seems a bit obligatory.  Tonight the Vancouver rockers seem robotic as they move through their set that covers a little old ground and some new content too.  During the second song, we get a hint of choreography from the band’s two sirens Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, but overall the band spends more time posing than dancing.

This is in essence, exactly what is disappointing about tonight’s performance. The band’s albums are pretty dynamic with their boy-girl harmonies, and a sound which spans rock, pop, dance, and occasionally hip hop- but live they have awfully low energy for a band that uses so many handclaps in their music. Ultimately, their failure to get excited by their own music makes their sound fall flat. We end up leaving 7 songs into the set and decide to call it a night to get some rest for what is going to be a long weekend.

© Natascha Malta, Music Vice

Pictures of Mother Mother at The Phoenix by Caroline Aksich:

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6 Responses to Mother Mother at the Phoenix, Toronto (CMW 2011) – Review and photos

  1. Andrew on March 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I could not disagree more. Mother Mother put on an electrifying, high energy performance. Not only did they play the songs everyone came to see, but brought new life into them and displayed why Canadian indie bands are becoming more prominent.

  2. Simon on March 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I don’t know what concert YOU saw, but the Ryan Guldemond I was watching was really energetic, and so were his bassist (/saxophonist/clarinettist) and drummer. The girls were mostly just singing and playing their keyboards, which is okay with me – they’re not dancers.

    Handclaps? Since when does Mother Mother use a lot of handclaps? They got the crowd to clap along a few times but that’s about it. Not a big deal.

    The crowd was insane, cheering so loud it was often hard to hear the band, singing along with most of the lyrics and they got even louder as the night went on.

    I was standing right under the stage, and it was truly an exhilarating experience.

  3. fatherfather on March 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    i agree! such high expectations and i could of stayed at home, turned on their album, and looked at pictures of them to the same effect. the crowd was obnoxious! so many drunk 905ers who didn’t know how to handle their booze. well, what can you expect for an edge presents show case. buuuuuumer.

  4. Michael on March 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Are you sure you were watching the right band??

    I thought Mother Mother completely rocked. They were super tight, energetic and fun to watch. They weren’t posing, they were playing. I like a band that switches it up – changes intros to songs – blends one into another – properly mixes old and new material and that is exactly what they did. Plus, it was one of those very rare shows where I wanted to go and shake the sound guy’s hand – it was beautifully clear. The crowd was really into the show – singing and cheering. They effortlessly sustain the energy needed to genuinely bring the band back for an encore – maybe you should have stayed longer?

  5. Jenny on March 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I also disagree with this review. I was right in front of the stage and was blown away with the energy from the band and crowd. I’ve never been to a show where I couldn’t hear the singer at points because the crowd was singing along so loudly!

    There were some people who were up front that were blankly staring and getting upset when I may have come into contact with them with my dancing and whatnot. My advice to those people: stay in the back or stay at home. A concert is for dancing and going APE to your favourite band!

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