Not counting things like #SingItFwd (or even Skookum, where I only saw part of their set) it's been quite a while since I've seen a full, 'proper' show from Mother Mother. So what better way to correct that that at the historic Orpheum Theatre, especially with the friends they had opening for them.
Those friends being Said the Whale, who took the stage exactly one hour before their new album was set to drop (well, on streaming and digital), flanked by two big Cascadia flags. They kicked off with their first hit "Camilo (The Magician)" to get the crowd pumped, before showcasing songs from the new album, like "Record Shop" and "Love Don't Ask", along with their most recent hit, the instantly infectious "UnAmerican", and "Level Best", a gorgeous song Tyler Bancroft wrote for his son, during which I could hear more than a few people letting out some tears and an aaawwwww or two.
Of course, they also included some older songs, like "Step Into The Darkness", which saw Ben Worcester pouring his heart out at the front of the stage, and one of my all-time favourites, a song that I haven't heard live in a while, and it always brings chills when they play it; "Love Is Art/Sleep Through Fire", which I still think is the best blend of Ben & Tyler's voices.
The last time I saw Said the Whale was a couple months ago, for a pop-up show at Save-On Meats, with about 100 other people as a teaser for their new single. Now to see them in front of nearly 3,000, on the cusp of their new album release, was pretty great.
After a brief intermission, the lights went down and smoke filled the stage as the members of Mother Mother launched into "I Must Cry Out Loud", the first song off their latest album, followed by the title track to Dance and Cry. Ryan Guldemond's wild vocals (and even stage presence) burst through in songs like "Let's Fall In Love" and "Bottom Is A Rock", as the whole band was so incredibly tight and full of energy.
During "Body of Years", Molly Guldemond stepped forward for a haunting cover of Radiohead's "Creep", the sold out room singing along. In fact, most of the set the audience was joining in, not just with old favourites like "Get Out The Way" but even newer ones, with people enthusiastically singing (sometimes even louder than the band, which... well, that's a discussion for another day).
In a nice stretch of songs, Ryan shouted out to everyone here with a relative before playing "Family", thanked everyone for sticking with them from the beginning while playing an acoustic version of "Dirty Town" harkening back to their earliest days, and finally reminiscing about cutting their teeth with bands like Said the Whale, before inviting them back to sing backup vocals on "So Down". There were actually a few times during the night where the setlist seemed very meticulously crafted, with songs arranged thematically, or even just by title (like "Get Up" following "So Down").
After over an hour, the main set came to an end, first with a song that remains my favourite of theirs, the frantic "Hayloft", which segued into a giant, bombastic extro and lead directly into "Bit By Bit", another huge singalong to end the set.
But naturally, that wasn't going to be all, as Ryan & Jasmine Parkin returned to the stage, this time Ryan on keys while Jasmine took centre stage to sing "Biting on a Rose", her incredible voice ringing through the theatre. And finally, after more thanks for coming, and thanking the entire touring crew, they drew to a close with another perennial favourite, "The Stand", which is as quirky and offbeat as it in catchy and memorable.
I wouldn't say I 'forgot' how good Mother Mother is -- especially live -- but this night was an excellent reminder of that, and of just how many prolific songs the band had produced over the years.
I Must Cry Out Loud
Dance and Cry
O My Heart
Let's Fall In Love
Get Out The Way
Bottom Is A Rock
Body of Years (w/ Creep [Radiohead cover])
Bit By Bit
Biting On A Rose
Camilo (The Magician)
Step Into The Darkness
Love Don't Ask
Love Is Art/Sleep Through Fire
I Love You