Earthy but still Moist

Sunday, February 2, 1997

By KIERAN GRANT

Toronto Sun


Moist and I Mother Earth can do business together.

The two big-selling Canadian rock bands, co-headlining a cross-Canada tour that brought them to the Warehouse Friday night for the first of four sold-out shows, actually compliment each other quite nicely.

But aside from the undeniable star-appeal of the groups' respective singers -- Moist's pretty-boy poet David Usher and I Mother Earth's buff rocker Edwin -- the similarities pretty much ended there

CANADIAN STARDOM

Even the audience demographic seemed to shift as Friday's closers Moist took the stage and poured on the melodrama from their latest disc, Creature.

The mosh-pit looked smaller in stature. Screams grew more high-pitched. Young girls disappeared into the 1,900-strong throng for a better look at Usher and company.

This was pop stardom in full-effect. The fact that Moist will play to some 7,800 people this weekend makes their rise to the (Canadian) top pretty much complete. Their technique hasn't changed much since that rise began in 1994 with their debut record Silver, originally an indie release that went on to reach triple-platinum sales.

Songs like Resurrection and Leave It Alone bubbled with overwrought intensity. Mark Manoway's face contorted with cathartic glee as he beat even the most basic chords and leads from his guitar.

The formidable team of drummer Paul Wilcox, keyboardist Kevin Young and bassist Jeff Pearce fought a losing battle to restrain themselves.

Hamlet has nothing on these guys.

I Mother Earth played things straight by comparison.

After Vancouver's Mudgirl warmed up the room as it filled, the local hard-rockers put on a show that must have appealed to the parents of Moist's teeny-bop punters.

Edwin, no slouch as a performer, looked like Perry Como -- Mr. Relaxation himself -- next to Usher's face-pulling and breast-beating.

Just as Moist wore their hearts on their sleeves, IME wore their influences: Zeppelin, Santana, Rush, Sly & The Family Stone. They even ad-libbed a version of Santana's Oye Como Va, showing a knack for retro-boogie only hinted at on their discs.

5-WAY DRUM SOLO

IME's powerhouse core, featuring drummer-lyricist Christian Tanna, guitarist Jag Tanna, and bassist Bruce Gordon, did their musical forefathers proud, building on tracks from their current hit album Scenery And Fish, and their 1992 debut Dig. Audience interest did dwindle a bit after the umpteenth minute of jamming. It might have been the five-way drum solo the band embarked on under the leadership of an extra percussionist.

Then again, the kids may just have been psyching themselves up for Moist's onslaught

SUN RATING: 3 OUT OF 5


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