Mother Mother / Hannah Georgas at the Orpheum

FOR EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE

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Finishing off a tour in celebration of their latest offering, The Sticks, Mother Mother are finally home.

Vancouver singer-songwriter sweetheart Hannah Georgas started off the night with some of her sugary-sweet tunes, mostly from her self-titled second album. The latest has Georgas singing about what she knows best, heartbreak and the like — though her sound is evolving into a new creature with some beautiful electronic moments, which were also shown off onstage.

Headliners Mother Mother came on and played a generous set of songs from across their varied and almost schizophrenic discography. Hailing originally from Quadra Island, the Vancouver-based quintet have carved out a sonic niche for themselves that’s hard to pin down or describe.

Playing some rockier tunes such as “The Sticks” and “In Verbatim,” Mother Mother displayed they have their finger on the pulse of what makes good indie rock. They were perky and driven by a solid bass and rhythm section, which occasionally left a real hip-hop aftertaste. Transitioning to slower ballad like “Ghosting,” singer/guitarist Ryan Guldemond crooned and belted out lyrics in a pseudo defiant way, happy to be home, his faux hawk bobbing in the strobe.

Jeremy Page’s bass lines propelled everything forward, like their rebelling against much of the dream pop that’s infiltrated the indie soundscape over the past few years. Socially conscious and aware, the group played “Little Pistol” in dedication to Amanda Todd, the BC teen who took her life earlier this year due to bullying. Unafraid of sounding like either a brute or an emotional misfit, Mother Mother spanned a massive emotional gambit lyrically.

The Sticks is an elegant but diverse album — something that was further amplified in a live setting. The fact that Mother Mother don’t really have a definitive or self-referential sound comes to a head in many ways. At one moment, it recalls ’90s alternative staples like the Pixies, Violent Femmes or New Pornographers, but can seamlessly transition to into a soulful acoustic ballad of a different variety altogether, with no introduction needed. And therein rests so much of Mother Mother’s charm.

REVIEW // RHODES

FOR SEVEN STREETS MAGAZINE

Rhodes is a musical talent you may not have heard of until recently. The five-piece indie rock outfit played a stellar set at Mello Mello on Friday 30th September to finish off a week-long national tour, with ear-ringingly impressive results. They just released an EP with Liverpool’s original E.D.i.L.S. Records alongside the talents of Moonlit Sailor and Elk, and are now heading back into the shadows of songwriting.

Built on lifelong friendships, the group’s synergy onstage truly brings this sentiment alive. Newly reunited with their singer, Alan Croft, who spent the past year on the West Coast of British Columbia, the group rocked out together and delivered one of the most blisteringly loud gigs I’ve experienced. In fact, two days later, the ears are still ringing.

Drummer Michael Davies, despite his off-stage reserve, lets loose on his kit and brings to mind the mathematical side of his craft, with technical beats and jams. Bassist Jon Papavasiliou performs fluidly and dynamically on his chosen weapon, and with the half Greek connotation it’s hard to put Poseidon out of your mind when you’re watching him perform. Guitarists Aaron Noroozi and Michael Connor might have a bit of rivalry going on, staunchly placed on opposite sides of the stage, but the melding of their distorted, melodic sounds is an act of love.

Rhodes is a band that, despite their complex rhythms and math-rock tendencies, they manage to offset the brainy aspects of music writing by fleshing out natural sounds and rich harmonies. Caught somewhere between the brainy tendencies of Foals, and the catchiness of Two Door Cinema Club, their polished sound is bound to take these boys far.

PREVIEW // DISMEMBERED EMPIRE

FOR SEVEN STREETS

It’s unarguable that Liverpool is a stunning creative playground. Backed by a rich history of rebellion and revolution, it’s a hub of music and culture that continues to influence and inspire. Dismembered Empire, an insurrectionary multimedia cabaret, pushes this sentiment to the extremes of the steampunk style— by putting forth the tantilising question—what if Liverpool was the centre for world trade and economic power in the modern age?

The interactive mixed arts and technology project will take place in the mystifying locale of the Williamson Tunnels October 7-8th. Descending into the labyrinth of the tunnels, the audience will be immersed into an alternate version of Liverpool, inhabited by sinister scientists, revolution, bizarro machines and strange music.

Using the steampunk style, a super playful and expressive aesthetic, DE blurs the line bewteen reality and imagination, the nefarious and the benign. Using elements of both real and imagined history, the performance plays out as the ripping apart of two parallel worlds, driven by tensions between industrial mavericks Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla during the Industrial Era.

It’s the brainchild of Jennifer Catterall, an evolutionary biologist with a penchant for theatre and music composition. “DE is all about re-imagining ourselves and thinking, how could we have done something different with our science and technology. It’s all about seeing things from a different point of view.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyzrT24nIrI&feature=related]

Dismembered Empire

7th – 8th of October, 7pm at the Williamson Tunnels

For more information, visit http://dismemberedempire.org.uk/

FOR BIDO LITO MAGAZINE THE THESPIANS The Velcro…

FOR BIDO LITO MAGAZINE

THE THESPIANS

The Velcro Teddybears

EP Release Party @ Leaf

Unexpectedly for the passerby, Leaf Tea Shop is a gorgeous place for a deafeningly loud punk show. Hosting THE THESPIANS’ debut EP release party, TWENTYTHREE/FOUR/ELEVEN, the place was buzzing with the addictive afterglow of vicious rock and roll that left everyone’s ears ringing on Bold Street.

Openers THE VELCRO TEDDYBEARS delivered a soulful set, rich with the bucolic feel of their rural hometown, Penistone. The duo, Chaddy (Vocals, Guitar) and Griff (Guitar), met in grammar school during a time when the music of the Spice Girls and Take That were dominating the charts, and their music is a spirited, jaunty kind of rebellion rife with schoolboy charm. Singing tales of corrupting posh young girls, the acoustic plucking lulled the listeners into a full fledged experience of the eclectic countryside and the mischeif that sometimes happens there. One particularly bluesy song, Mad Man by the River, had vocalist Chaddy crooning about the local drunk who provided endless entertainment for the village children. Despite his slender frame and boyish good looks, Chaddy’s powerful vocals sounded like something that could have been belted out by a 20 stone trucker.

Headliners The Thespians are a different breed altogether. The Liverpool punk quartet shredded it with their special blend of revolutionary fervour and intellectual spirit of rebellion that somehow gives off an air of composure and nonchalance all at once. Self-described as “young ruffians making music,” the band channels the intensity of vintage UK punk, but with a brazen social consciousness and sensitivity far beyond their years.

Frontman and rhythm guitarist Paul Thespian’s voice, despite the oft-abrasive lyrical content, remains velvety and rich, bringing to mind the lusciousness of Julian Casablancas. With contemplative lyrics like “am I too young to fight/ too young to die/ too young to fall in love,” The Thespians are deeply self-reflective and sensitive of their social context. While it’s almost expected for a brooding punk group to express apathy and the feeling that life’s just “so so,” The Thespians escape the cliché by remaining instrospective and socially aware.

Guitarist Jess Branney, who also provides melodic vocals, brings a sexy feminine touch to this otherwise testosterone-heavy outfit, with Danny Hall drumming furiously like a machine and bassist Phil Gornall not being afraid of getting a bit crazy. Alltogether, they are a great-looking band and have a natural synergy onstage despite the fact that they’ve only been together for a year.

Coupled with huge talent and a tendency for chaos, The Thespians are sure to garner even more attention with their honest, emotionally charged music that defines this time in Liverpool music.

Massive Attack plays at Malkin Bowl

For Exclaim! Magazine

Despite the fine mist that pervaded the air at this Vancouver outdoor venue, the kids and the weirdos danced in bass-heavy reverie at the show. Pounded by low-end frequencies, dazzled by bizarre show outfits and the smell of summer rain mingled with the aroma of thick mud, Massive Attack delivered a stunning performance that was both blisteringly loud and dark as hell.

Hailing from the UK, the sonic collective merges the boundaries of dance, trance and ethereality, and couples this with some serious vocal talents. Not to mention, founding member Robert Del Naja’s (a.k.a. 3D)  is chock-full of boyish Bristol charm that is often juxtaposed by his unsettling, yet seductive whispers. The band’s history may be riddled by tantrums, personal clashes and artistic differences from days of Mezzanine, but at the show, the stage seemed pretty relaxed and focused.

Singer Martina Topley-Bird came out initially wearing a white wool poncho and a bright pink chiffon skirt, bringing the image of a bizarrely-decorated Bjork, but with more vocal resonance. Other core band member Daddy G looked pretty comatose on stage, but from what’s been written about him, his behavior just typified his brooding style. The group baited the crowd with some classics, from the dark ambience of “Intertia Creeps” to the now-appropriated House theme song, “Teardrop.”

Topley-Bird came back on stage later in the show, morphed into a sex goddess wearing something of a Catwoman suit, complete with skin-tight leather pants. A couple of memorable points in the show was when the band launched into an hypnotic performance of “Psyche” from their latest offering, Heligoland, followed closely by a powerful, ear-drum piercing delivery of “Girl I Love You,” one of the most aggressive tunes on the album. But the best part was when roots-reggae legend Horace Andy killed it with “Angel,” a trip-hop classic with Andy’s trademark vibrato. From this position it’s very safe to say that Massive Attack’s groove-heavy neo-psychedelia is only getting better with age.