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Mother, Mother worth the dozen-year wait

Vancouver quintet has become a Tik Tok sensation, widening interest in their indie rock sound to a more global audience.

THUNDER BAY – If Mother Mother is the future of Canadian music, it’s in good hands.

The British Columbia quintent, last in Thunder Bay about a dozen years ago, are as polished as an indie band gets these days and were close to rock-solid perfect on Sunday night as they took to the Community Auditorium stage.

A lot’s happened to the band since they last ventured along the shores of Lake Superior. The musicians have been together for nearly two decades, have put out eight albums and crafted a catalogue of songs that scream authenticity.

They also became the voice for many in the Tik Tok generation, singing of inclusiveness and not being afraid to be who you are – whatever that might be.

It’s a message lead singer Ryan Guldemond, keyboardists (and vocalists) Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, drummer Ali Siadat and bassist Mike Young delivered over and over at Sunday night’s show, and one that was welcomed with elation and eternal love from the crowd of mostly teens and twenty-somethings who danced and sang along from start to finish.

“Thunder Bay, thanks for showing up tonight,” Ryan Guldemond said a few songs into a set comprised of songs from Mother Mother’s earliest albums, including Dirty Town, Ghosting, Hayloft and Wrecking Ball, to its most recent album, Inside, with tracks like the melodic Pure Love, featuring the stunning vocals of Molly Guldemond, Girl Alone and Seven.

“Are you feeling like yourselves? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it, one of the best feelings. For most of my life, I struggled with being able to feel that way, just feeling like myself, being authentic, you know? For whatever reason, I found it a very hard thing to do. So I used things to help me feel my like myself. Or at least I thought I felt like myself, with the help of these things. But what I discovered is we don’t need anything to be who we are. What we’ve got is plenty good enough.”

It was the perfect lead in to their 2017 song, The Drugs, it’s lyrics telling listeners that love is better than any drug out there.

A favourite of the non-binary community, Mother Mother considers that a badge of honour, even though it was never something they set out to do.

It’s just who they are.

And they’re not afraid to embrace it.

“You’re so welcome here. This is a place where you can be yourself, as we’ve discussed. You can love how you want to love,” Ryan Guldemond said, pointing to the upper balcony, where a Pride flag was hung for a portion of the show.

“This can be a safe space. We’ve got your back.”

From their alt-rock, Pixies-inspired beginnings, Mother Mother has never been afraid to experiment with their sound. One minute they might sound a little like Arcade Fire, the next they might be drawing on their inner Avett Brothers, exploring the Americana genre on a song like 2008’s Wrecking Ball, a finger-picking dandy of a tune.

Mother Mother is at their best when the tempo picks up, and luckily for Sunday night’s crowd, it’s those type of songs that made up the bulk of the set list. The band closed with a flurry, dishing up the hard-rocking, but motivational Get Up, Bit by Bit and a Hayloft/Girl Alone mix that set the audience in a frenzy – just in time for a two-song encore of Oh Ana and Burning Pile.

Hopefully it’s not another dozen years before Mother Mother returns to Thunder Bay. They’re way too much to wait that long to see again.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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