Mother Mother and a Drive to Atlanta

Lori Garrett and Ryan Guldemond

Mother Mother and a Drive to Atlanta
| published September 5, 2015 |

Concert Review By Lori Garrett Thursday Review contributor

Despite being relatively absent from the Thursday Review news and entertainment feed this summer, I was able to see my favorite band; a band I thought I would literally have to travel out of the country to see. That’s right, guys—I got to see Mother Mother. And now I am officially crossing it off my bucket list.

If you recall, I once wrote about a specific piggy bank in which I set aside what money I could, in order to make this dream come true. Well, it just so happened that they finally executed a US tour that actually came near me. When I read the news, I literally almost threw up with happiness. I’m not trying to be gross; I’m just trying to share with you how much I truly love this amazing Canadian rock band. Immediately upon arrival to my home, I broke open that angel pig and counted its guts out. One hundred and thirty seven dollars—mostly in change—was among the glitter covered porcelain pieces. But, with the help of a few friends, it was just enough.

Luckily for me, Mother Mother is not well known in the good ole US of A, so the tickets were only $10. Also, lucky for me, I happen to have a dear friend that lives in the Atlanta area who was more than happy to house me and another friend for a couple days. Even better, I had just purchased a new vehicle that could actually make the five hour one-way drive from Jacksonville to Atlanta without going caput. Everything had come together beautifully.

The trip went off without a hitch, and we arrived in Atlanta the day before the concert. Being next to broke, but wanting to have fun, my friend took us out to a couple of wonderful local favorite restaurants like Vortex (which I highly recommend; amazing food, and a staff with an attitude), and to see some of the local graffiti—apparently Atlanta is one of those awesome cities that recognizes it as an art form and has sections of the city sanctioned for legal graffiti activity.

Of course, even though my friend has been living in Atlanta for a few months, we had a typically sitcom style tough time actually getting to the venue. Traffic and parking situations in Atlanta are insane. We ended up parking somewhere and then walking for like a mile and a half to the venue—which ended up being one block down and two blocks over from where we left my car; a ten minute walk for people who actually know where they’re going.

Anyway, when we arrived at Vinyl, the opening act had just finished performing. Knowing that they were more or less a local band, I was hoping that the crowd that had gathered at the base of the stage would disperse. I was wrong. Apparently I was not the only one who loved Mother Mother enough to travel. A few people I talked to as I navigated myself to the middle of the crowd (no small task; people were not happy to look one way and then look back to find me and my friend standing slightly more in front of them than before) had also traveled many many miles to see the performance. We finally found ourselves approximately twelve feet from the stage just as the band came out.

Looking right at me  photo by Lori Garrett

There were screams and tears and I’m pretty sure that a pair of panties was thrown. They opened strong with Get Out the Way from their newest album Very Good Bad Things. More screams, more tears, and 150 die-hard fans living it up with their favorite band. Ryan Guldemond, the lead singer/guitarist professionally navigated the band through the songs, often stopping to chat or tell a quick story to the audience before closing out a song and moving to the next. He hammed it up for the fans and would hold poses while playing to make picture taking easier, and would even stare directly into your camera for better photos. Half way through the set, he stopped to introduce the other band members, and my favorite was when he introduced his older sister and told a few quick family stories. The love between them was palpable; and as they played on, if you watched Molly—the older sister/synth/creepy awesome baby voice back-up singer—you could see how proud she was of her brother. Though they are both in the band, she clearly thinks of it as only his, and her expression said “shine on, little brother. Shine on.”

Mother Mother is easily one of the top five rock bands in Canada, and they often draw huge crowds teeming with people to see their newest music. Here in the States, they are much less known, and seemed to almost delight in the small crowd. They played many of their older songs; something they don’t do often in their native Vancouver. They brought out old favorites like Verbatim and Hayloft, and played them with a heavy synth twist, more like their newest offerings. And, when the show was sadly over, they came down and mingled with us; another thing they don’t often get to do. They patiently took photos with people, posing, smiling and waving; even offering advice to some of the more emotional members of the crowd (I am glad to see that I am not the only one who sees this as the band that reflects their soul).

I ended up at the end of the line, and was the last one that Ryan Guledemond posed with (as far as I saw, anyway). Just as we were about to shoot it, the lights all around us went out. He smiled at me and said “Hey, that’s ok, we’ll just go over there where there’s more light, eh.” (you guys! My favorite Canadian person said “eh” to me! My life is complete!) He led me to a more well lit area, not seeming to mind that I pretty much refused to let go of him, took some pictures, and hugged me goodbye. I am not kidding you when I say that all other moments in my life will have this one to compare themselves to, and most will find themselves lacking. Best. Night. Ever.

I will close in saying that they put on a heck of a show, and if you find them coming to a town near you, they are well worth seeing. Keep an eye out for them.

Related Thursday Review articles:

In Love With Mother Mother ; Lori Garrett; Thursday Review; February 3, 2014.

Jack White: The Lazaretto Tour; Martin Boggess; Thursday Review; February 9, 2015.