ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
I Mother Earth take
on the Hill
Making the earth quake on Frosh
I Mother Earth
Frosh Week, UC Hill
By Brian Wong
UP FROSH WEEK. Homegrown Canadian rock heroes I Mother
Earth anf The Salads took to UC Hill for the traditional
O-Week concert Tuesday night.
After a cancelled O-Week appearance in 2000
(after which disappointed frosh had to settle for Limblifter)
and a scheduling mix-up for Homecoming the same year, I Mother
Earth finally hit the Western stage for this year's Frosh Week
on Tuesday night. But you have to wonder; with dwindling popularity
after parting ways with former lead singer Edwin and a lukewarm
reception to their latest disc, do people still care about I
Well, the frosh that congregated at UC Hill
certainly did. Maybe it was due in part to all that cheering
they had been doing all day or the dynamic on-stage lighting,
but it wasn't difficult to get into the band's energetic live
show, which had fans' arms up in the air for nearly the entire
time and a continuing line-up of crowd surfers.
Eager to shed their mid-'90s, pretty rocker
boys image, the members of IME got rock'n' roll makeovers this
time around. Vocalist Brian Byrne, sporting a new beard to go
with his black suit and tie before shedding it for his usual
t-shirt and shorts, took on the doubled-over Henry Rollins-esque
singing stance at times, while guitarist Jag Tanna (in a short
mohawk) and shaggy-haired Bruce Gordon provided the riffs. At
one point in the show, the three enthusiastically jumped up
and down in unison while playing, which encouraged their following
to do the same.
What makes IME is the massive wall of guitars:
aided by some huge outdoor speakers, the guitars kept a hard-driving
propulsive sound that remained crunchy and crisp throughout
the chilly night. This was especially important for the heavier
songs on their Quicksilver Meat Dream album, which are given
extra kick with some colder electronic and synth sounds.
IME are also known for their incorporation
of Latin rhythms, which were solidly performed by drummer Christian
Tanna's percussive attack on songs like "Earth, Sky & C"
and the extended jam on "One More Astronaut," both
from the band's 1996 Scenery & Fish album. However, some of
the band's improv jams were, at times, too drawn out and weren't
interesting enough to be captivating.
But winning back the crowd's attention was
the extended "Another Sunday." The song was surprisingly
broken up by a section of Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q."
By the end of the night, the mid-sized group
that stayed for the encore were treated to one of the group's
earliest hits, "Levitate," which displayed the band's
rawest sound as Byrne headed out to the front of the audience
and did the big-rock-star-god-meets-crowd pose to the distraction
of flailing arms.
Despite some recent sluggish ticket sales
(a recent show at The Drink ended up with tickets being given
away at no cost), those eighty minutes put on by the band were
a reminder of how tight and talented IME really are and though
their music has rarely been extraordinary, they make it up with
some hard and heavy head-banging rock.