Generally speaking, Metro Monctonians are a humble bunch, but we can hold our heads high knowing that music fans across the country owe the city a debt of sorts. It was in our fair city this past New Year’s Eve that longtime Canadian rock favourites Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth teamed up for a sold-out show that went so well, they decided to bring the tour right across Canada.
“There has always been a lot of mutual respect between the groups both as musicians and as fans, but we all had such a great time on New Year’s Eve in Moncton that it more or less planted the seeds for getting a whole tour together,” Our Lady Peace guitarist Steve Mazur says.
The joint tour kicked off in mid-October in Abbotsford, B.C., winding its way eastward through cities including Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, London and Ottawa. Aside from the tour’s sold-out Moncton stop on Friday evening, the only other Maritime date on the bill is a performance in Halifax on Wednesday.
Mazur says thus far, the tour has surpassed both his expectations as well as the groups’ involved, going so far to say it ranks among the best tours he has been a part of since joining Our Lady Peace in 2002.
“The crowds have been wonderful this whole tour. I think the nostalgia factor could be playing into the tour doing so well overall, and while I think [Our Lady Peace] deliberately shied away from that for a long time, we are proud of what we’ve accomplished. Why not embrace it at this point in our career?”
There is indeed a long history of camaraderie between Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth. Long-time followers of the bands may recall the groups performing at the former Ziggy’s Nightclub in Downtown Moncton in late 1994 when they were touring behind their respective debut albums Naveed and Dig.
No doubt helping fuel interest in the tour is the return of I Mother Earth vocalist Edwin to that group’s fold. While Edwin played with the band from its incarnation through Dig and 1996’s Scenery and Fish, he parted ways with the band in 1997.
Following Edwin’s departure, I Mother Earth recruited Newfoundland native Brian Byrne to become their lead singer. The band recorded two albums with Byrne – 1999’s Blue Green Orange and Quicksilver Meat Dream (2003) – before undertaking an almost eight-year hiatus that ultimately ended in 2012.
This past March, I Mother Earth confirmed Edwin would be returning to the group to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of Scenery and Fish with shows across the country.
Our Lady Peace has remained vital these last 22 years with good reason as well. With the group’s nine releases accounting for more than 2.2 million records sold in Canada alone, the band has remained a favourite of music fans from coast to coast, boasting four Juno Awards and 10 MuchMusic Video Awards over the course of the band’s career.
In 2001, the group earned a significant distinction when their album Clumsy, originally released in 1997, became one of just a handful of albums made by Canadian acts to have achieved the diamond sales milestone in the country, commemorating one million units sold.
Mazur says the group’s impressive longevity and seemingly endless run of hits puts it in the
envious position of making some tough choices when it comes to assembling their setlist to perform every evening.
“It’s a pretty great problem to have, in all honesty,” he says. “We do our best to deliver a fresh show every night, making sure we are squeezing as many hits as we can in there along with some of the material we like to play. It almost never fails though, that almost every night we are putting the set together, one specific album will have no representation in the set at all.”
With the exception of the release of a lone single (“Won’t Turn Back”) in 2014, however, Our Lady Peace has not issued any new music since 2012’s full-length release Curve.
Mazur insists the group is close to putting the finishing touches on a collection of a half-dozen songs it had hoped to have ready in time for their current tour. Even though the new release remains a work-in-progress, Mazur says Moncton-area fans can look forward to hearing a couple of songs from the group’s upcoming effort on Friday.
“We’ve been working on these new songs and weren’t necessarily able to get them where we wanted in time to have a new release ready for this tour. It’s a little disappointing, but at this point in our career, we would just rather not rush something for the sake of having something new.”
What: Our Lady Peace with I Mother Earth and The Standstills
When: Friday Nov. 4, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
The show is sold out