Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Live Blogging Olympic Music : Mother Mother, Elliott BROOD and GOLD!!!

Gold!!! Alexandre Bilodeau got the first gold medal in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Men's moguls! 7.3 million people watched Bilodeau's winning run and approximately a third of the Canadian population watched the run at least in part. Wow. That's a good trivia fact to remember kids. February 14 --Valentine's Day -- first Canadian gold medal on Canadian soil ever.

I found out about this great piece of news through the mesh fences of LiveCity Yaletown, the venue which Vancouver's own Mother Mother was to be playing at 8:00. The lineup around the site exploded with cheering and spontaneous singing of O Canada and the excitement was contagious. A man walked through the streets with a full-sized Canadian flag perched on his back, flapping in the wind. What a sight; the uncharacteristic exuberance and patriotism I'll never forget.

Mother Mother was introduced to the stage by one of the Olympic emcees. Although generally cheesy, this one seemed to know and be quite enamoured by MM, declaring that the reason why the band sells out venues nationwide with lineups winding around street corners is because "they're fricking AWESOME!" It was a highlight for sure and got many yelps and cheers from the crowd.

And awesome, they were. Every time I see Mother Mother live, I'm reminded why they were the recipients of the 2009 CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award for Best Live Act. The inventive, unpredictable chord progressions and harmonies explode in real life, and the confidence and style which the band execute their hits bring me back time after time. Lead guitarist and singer Ryan Guldemond stirred the crowd into an insane frenzy with wiry solos and his characteristic falsetto. Jasmin Parkin got some unintentional solos in the first part of the show due to some poor sound mixing; Molly was inaudible for a good bit and the typical three-part harmonies weren't restored until about 4-5 songs in. But there's no use dwelling on a short part of what was otherwise a killer set. The crowd was jumping and flinging about in no time, and of course a couple of crowd surfers graced us with their presence as well.

Seeing as it was Valentine's Day, the choice of "Arms Tonite" for the opening track of the set was very suitable. Mother Mother then blitzed through, hit after hit, their two albums Touch Up and O My Heart. Overheard in the crowd: "if they don't play 'Hayloft' I'm going to cry." Well, there was no need to fret, as MM saved the best for last and had the whole crowd go bananas with their latest single.

Much like the set by fellow Vancouverites Hey Ocean!, Mother Mother's set was sprinkled with new songs. Two, "Simply Simple" and "Eureka," were played previously in their live shows. Another new song, which started as a normal love ballad, got MM'ed rather quickly and turned into a rock out dance-fest a verse in. Can't wait for the new album, whenever that's slated to be out.

Toronto's Elliott BROOD played in LiveCity Downtown shortly after at 9:30; this LiveCity had a fraction of the capacity compared to LiveCity Yaletown. This resulted in two separate lineups- one to get into the plaza, and another hour long line within the plaza to get into the venue where the BROOD boys were playing. Lame, I know. Most of the set was spent outside watching the boys on a large screen, hearing the enthusiastic crowd banging their wooden spoons and cookie sheets to hits such as "The Valley Town" and "Write It All Down For You" from EB's latest Mountain Meadows. Not to be outdone, the 20-30ish people watching the screen outside, as well as some in the lineup, danced, jigged, and swung about to the music filtering out from the venue and the large TV outside, yours truly included. And boy, was it good dancing music. My legs were jelly by the end of the night.

For the very last song of their set, Elliott BROOD dedicated "Miss You Now" to their good friend Dan Mangan of Vancouver, saying  that they hope to see him soon. Dan, of course, returned the love via Twitter. By last half of the song, the lineup had disappeared, and I was able to run in quickly and snap the photo you see above of the dancing, enthusiastic, noisy crowd.

What a night; running from the show of the winner of Best Live Act to one of the finalists. Maybe next time I'll catch EB in real life real life, as opposed to on a screen, separated by glass and a lineup.