The group’s performance was one of several shows arranged in partnership with the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in celebration of The Capital Bar’s twentieth anniversary.
Motherhood played Diamonds & Gold last night. The whole album. Every dingy, deranged and downright loveable note of it. The performance marked a major milestone for the group and was one of several shows arranged in partnership with the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in celebration of The Capital Bar’s twentieth anniversary.
Diamonds & Gold – the band’s 40 minute, five track debut full length – came out five years ago this year. Recognized for its originality and completely unclassifiable sonic aesthetic, the album is regarded by many to be one of the strongest debut records by any Fredericton band from the past few decades and remains a perennial favourite for a wide range of music lovers. It also helped inspire an entirely new wave of regional musicians to let go of convention and do their own thing. On a local level, Diamonds & Gold was a game changer.
For all these reasons, last night’s show was a pretty big deal, even if the significance of the moment was lost on most of those in attendance.
It’s no secret that Motherhood’s unhinged approach to songwriting and performance stands in contrast to what many show goers expect to hear and see at Harvest. The band exist free from extended guitar solos, synchronized onstage movement and carbon-copied audience interaction. All this to say, Motherhood’s core audience exist elsewhere, outside of Harvest’s traditional sphere of influence, which helped make last night’s show all the more enjoyable in a fish-out-of-water kind of way.
“We’re all here. Play something we know,” yelled a visibly upset woman standing behind me, struggling to adjust her plaid shirt while maintaining a tight grip on her two cans of beer.
The band’s set started off a three act lineup at the Atlantic Lotto Barracks Tent that also included Elliott Brood and Grand Theft Bus. While the audience was unsurprisingly sparse at the top of the show, people soon flooded in and by the halfway point, the venue was well on its way to being full.
For the Diamonds & Gold portion of the evening, the band was joined by guest musicians Jerry-Faye Flatt who contributed guitar, bass, vocals and percussion as well as the album’s producer Dan Tweedie who added auxiliary percussion. It was great to hear these songs again and it was obvious that everyone on stage was having a great time performing them.
After wrapping up the D&G portion of their set, the guests left the stage and the band finished off the night playing selection of more recent songs from their upcoming album. Tighter, weirder and with an increased dose of unpredictability (if that’s even possible), the new songs served as both a contrast and a compliment to the first half of the set reinforcing what so many already know – Motherhood are one of a kind.
Kudos to Harvest and The Capital for adding this show to this year’s festival lineup. The Festival has always made an effort to support local artists and over the past several years they’ve expanded their scope to include acts outside the boundaries of jazz and blues. While this performance may not have been a perfect fit for some, it was great to see the band get some much deserved recognition outside their usual demographic.
B.A. Johnston, the evening’s MC, summed things up nicely. “It’s nice to see young people using their time wisely,” he said, taking the stage as the band’s final notes echoed in the P.A. “That was great.”
Nice job everyone.