Mother Mother in Manchester: Massive appreciation from the crowd which could be the ‘concert of the year’

Live Review

Mother Mother. Photo by Mark Lear.

By Mark Lear, Rock At Night Manchester

Live Review: Mother Mother – O2 Ritz Manchester, Manchester-UK – November 22, 2022

Mother Mother. Photo by Mark Lear.

I have to come clean from the off. I have no idea where to start with this. Let me explain… Canadian Indie Rockers, Mother Mother are a band that’s been around for 17 years, released 8 albums and yet no one (really) had ever heard of them until two years ago when they went viral on TikTok.

Their ‘biggest hits’ are from an album released in 2008 – that’s 14 years ago (I’ll do the maths for you – and it’s maths, American people, plural as there’s more than one equation !) and they hadn’t released anything new for a couple of years until ‘Inside’ in 2021, which didn’t even make any significant dent in their native homeland, let alone anywhere else – but still, on a cold, wet, winters evening in Manchester, they strolled into a town they’d never been to before and owned the place as if they were long lost sons and daughters, such was the welcome. The o2 Ritz – previously known for ballroom dancing and hosting my ‘stag do’ many years ago (let’s not go there) ! ! – bounced raucously from nine bells and for the next hour and a half.

Mother Mother. Photo by Mark Lear.

Dead Pony were the Support but’ I didn’t get the pleasure due to ‘communication issues’ with my Access Pass – maybe next time guys, eh ? A second ‘Support’ came from the lighting people who spent a good 15 minutes dimming and raising the lights, toying with the crowd and leading them into a false sense of security or five, raising the decibel levels a good notch or six and sending 1,600 Mother Lovers into frenzy after frenzy… until the allotted time… and then it started – and how it started ! !

We begin with ‘My Heart’, ‘Bit by Bit’ and ‘Infinitesimal’ all fused together. A split second later we get ‘Body of Years’ before one of the best covers I have heard in a long, long time… Radioheads ‘Creep’ raised those decibel levels even more. Passion, emotion and every high note hit with perfection. Blinding.

It takes two more tunes before Mother Superior, Guldemond takes a breath and starts the banter. “We’re gonna bleed up for you people tonight” – and he wasn’t joking.

…but still I don’t get this. It only takes a couple of opening chords of each song for the crowd to know exactly what’s next. For a huge cheer to go up and for them to start singing, all word perfect and loud, so, so loud. If it was Queen or U2, I’d get it. Tunes that have been heard a million times for years, but these a decade old with next to no radio airplay and when the bulk of this crowd were still sweating over their GCSE’s – such is the power of social media, eh ?

Four songs further on and Guldemond actually says they’re going to “play some old songs”. Manchester goes apoplectic, as if Santa has come early, and we get ‘Arms Tonite’ and ‘Body’ – all done acoustically. In between, he tells us that it’s their first time in Manchester, that they’re honoured to be there and that this next song is for everyone who sits on their own, in their bedroom with a keyboard or art and just tries to be creative – “anyone relate to that” he asks – pretty much everyone did ! ‘Wrecking Ball’ is relatable to so many and is now their signature tune.

So, with heartfelt emotions in check, the roof needs to be raised again as we head to curfew and ‘Oh Ana’ hits the mark. No time to breathe (again) and they launch into ‘Hayloft’, ‘Girl Alone’ and ‘Hayloft II’ all mashed up for good measure …and then it’s all over.

Mother Mother. Photo by Mark Lear.

Accolades and acknowledgements are duly given, a pile of Merch is thrown into the crowd (never seen that done before – even drumsticks !) and the band exit stage left, but before they get anywhere near said exit, Manchester lays down the law. ‘One More Song’ rings out from every man, woman, non-binary and child’ – you would swear it was rehearsed, but as it was so well done it would’ve been rude to refuse.

A swift about turn by the main man and we go again. He pays tribute to Dead Pony, to Manchester, to everyone who’s supported them over the years and for keeping music live. “This is real life and you are real people, not social media – which is strange when you consider that it was TikTok that bought about their revival and 56 million views should be appreciated, perhaps ? – “It’s this that’s inherently good”. It takes four notes and the final tune ‘Ghosting’ is known, acknowledged and appreciated – acoustically done at first but the rest of the band soon re-enter the fray and the bouncing starts again. The Ritz used to have a sprung dance floor in its ballroom dancing days and beyond, if it still has it, got duly hammered tonight.

Mother Mother. Photo by Mark Lear.

More acknowledgements are duly given by the band as well as more free Merch distributed before Guldemond heads into the press pit to shake everyone’s hand in grateful thanks – this is a band that truly appreciates what their ‘new’ audience has done for them. Finally, they have arrived and 17 years of hard graft is all worth it.

If you’ve never heard of Mother Mother – Google them. If you’ve never heard them – YouTube or TikTok them, better still buy an album, you have eight to choose from but ‘O My Heart’ now holds cult status and is a good place to start even though Amazon will rip you off for the thick end of £30 for it – that’s shameful Amazon, truly shameful …and finally if you fancy a few days away, head over to Europe, where they now head, for 15 dates across 10 countries until the middle of December. The UK tour was only five dates long (maybe they were just testing the water ?) but on this basis you just know that come the New Year, they will be back. They now know more than ever that the UK loves them. They know that the UK wants more and as I’ve said before… it would be rude not to.

 

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

Mark Lear

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