I Mother Earth CMW 2015 Live Review
I Mother Earth @ The Phoenix – CMW 2015 Live Review
When: May 2nd, 2015
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
TOTAL SCORE: 9.8
Visual/Sound Presentation: 10/10
Stage Presence: 9/10
Musical Ability: 10/10
Crowd Reception: 10/10
Wow Factor: 10/10
I Mother Earth is one of those bands that Canadians love and love to hate (seriously, why do people still care about Edwin???). So, every time IME decide to play a show, it generates a lot of buzz from both sides of the spectrum. This appearance was truly special, in part because it consisted of an acoustic and electric sets with a Q&A hosted by Alan Cross.
The crowd was plenty at the show, but this time we didn’t rely on media passes from CMW to get in. Going about attaining media passes in the usual manner turned out to be a good idea after passing two check points just to get in. There was a little more breathing space in the audience this time (just a day after The Jesus and Mary Chain sold out show). People were constantly coming to and from the bar area. It was easy to get close enough to see the stage comfortably. The audience was vastly diverse, including 20-somethings, couples, metalheads, bros, young adults with parents, skaters and more. And only after seeing the whole show I could understand what brought them all together.
– Raya P. Morrison (@raimorrison) May 3, 2015
After a brief introduction by Alan Cross, I Mother Earth when into their acoustic set. They played five songs in total, taking breaks to speak about the band’s present and future. Yes, they are sorta writing new material. No, you won’t hear it any time soon. A great emphasis was put on being self-sustainable and working with people in the industry who have been close to the throughout the years.
The set itself left me breathless. Right as Jag (guitar) played the first chords of “Summertime in the Void” the crowd went wild and Brian Byrne (vocals) gave the fans plenty of opportunities to sing along. The fans seemed to have carried the songs inside their bodies until the moment of release. The talent of the band is something to be truly in awe of – from Jag’s elaborate guitar playing, to Byrne’s range of vocal techniques, to Daniel Mansilla’s percussion. It was one of those moments in time that stay with you forever and give you goosebumps every time you recall it.
James Black (Finger Eleven) and his solo act were opening for the main event. While it might have been a decent set on its own, after such an intense acoustic performance by IME it fell flat. A lot of people took this time to grab more drinks or go for a cigarette. It felt more like a grand rehearsal than a live set, band members merely doing their parts instead of making magic happen. The time was made even more awkward by a man fainting in the audience, presumably from heat/dehydration (the security were prompt to assist him outside).
The fans were ready for the main event. The set started with a “world”/Indian intro, and these undertones would thread through the songs for the rest of the show. Not being too familiar with I Mother Earth’s catalogue, it would lead me to pen them for a “slightly heavier Kula Shaker” at first, which I soon realised was a mistake – they are their own sound. While I Mother Earth spread the loving positive hippie vibes, they also don’t forget their grunge roots and rock n roll stage antics. Byrne and bassist Chuck Dailey were rocking out so hard it left Brian seemingly breathless twice, as he ran offstage for breaks. Brian Byrne was a pleasure to watch – a passionate tornado of rhyme. He even jumped on the barricade at one point as the fans tried to reach him. Christian Tanna (drums) and Mansilla got their own solos, powering through elaborate drum patterns, keeping the audience on their toes. Jag’s main solo was blues perfection, leaving a tear in the corner of my eye.
The set was packed with hits and fan favourites as well as hidden jams, rarely played live anymore. The crowd was pumped from the very beginning and it was just a matter of time before a moshpit was created. The fans had infinite amount of energy feeding off the magic that was happening on stage. They were demanding more and more, leading IME to play 18 songs before encore and two more to close off the night.
Overall, I Mother Earth should be on everyone’s “must-see” list; the only thing I regretted was not seeing them sooner.
Raya P Morrison