Equipped with a new sound, a new record label, and most importantly, a new lead singer, I Mother Earth embarked on their first cross-Canada tour. The Toronto-based rock band was looking to step out of the past and into a bright new future in front of an almost sold-out show at the MacEwan Hall Ballroom last Thursday night. With former lead singer Edwin gone and pursuing a solo career and new lead singer Brian Byrne now at the helm, it was time for this once energetic quartet to show Calgary fans what the future holds.
Opening the evening’s festivities was Finger Eleven. Their strong opening performance combined with the anticipation of finally seeing the new IME definitely created a positive atmosphere throughout the venue.
Amongst the cheers and screams from a very young crowd, I Mother Earth took the stage with concentrated enthusiasm. With the crowd’s eyes and ears trained on Bryne, the band started their set in typical hard-rock fashion.
The hour-and-a-half long set treated fans to most of IME’s greatest hits, including songs from Scenery and Fish and their new CD, Blue Green Orange.
Known as a band with many fresh and distinctive sounds, it was expected they would sound better than they did. Even with the addition of a the circus-style light show, I Mother Earth could only barely eke out a sub-par performance on the night.
Despite the fact this was not a technically-superior show, I Mother Earth didn’t completely disappoint and managed to give fans a glimpse into why they are such a popular Canadian band.
Their ability to display solid individual guitar performances and weave them with creative, metaphorical lyricism created positive vibes throughout the concert. New songs like "All the Way" and "Good for Soul" are hard-edged creative pieces welcomed by young and old fans alike.
While the instrumental sound of IME deserves some recognition, it was their new lead singer Brian Bryne who didn’t do the performance justice. When I Mother Earth reached back to play songs originally sung by Edwin, Bryne could not match. His voice, which slightly mimics his predecessor’s, could not hold the power it takes to accompany the musically-gifted band. Old songs like "Another Sunday" and "One More Astronaut" just weren’t the same, and did not portray the feelings and emotions that IME fans deserve and expect.
I Mother Earth has talent and will most likely continue to improve as a band, but as it stands right now, their live performance was average. Due to their lack of experience and time together, the chemistry just wasn’t there, and only time will tell if they will succeed and improve.