by Mike Thiessen
Energy was the theme of the night on Thursday, January 26 – both the respective energies of the bands themselves and the overall dynamic flow of the evening. Amping up for the second weekend of Real Love’s Winterruption, the Good Will was taken over by Bedtime, an up-and-coming dream pop duo, the thoroughly-beloved Virgo Rising, and New Brunswick’s very own “deep-thinkin’ rippers,” Motherhood. What appeared at first to be a somewhat bizarre (albeit fascinating) lineup proved to be a show for the ages.
As clouds of fog poured off the stage in preparation for Bedtime to begin their set, the crowd at the Good Will was milling about loudly, as they would at any other show. It became instantly clear, however, that this would be no ordinary concert. Once the pair took the stage and started playing, a silence fell over the room as the ethereal harmonies, sparkly guitar chords, and rich bass notes of Bedtime’s first song washed over the audience.
No one was rocking out to Bedtime but rather standing and staring in a silent state of shock and awe. The duo’s sweet and tender harmonies floated through the room like the wisps of smoke. A whispered “two, three, four” between riffs of “Sundaze” gave the show a tremendously intimate feeling, almost as though you were somewhere you weren’t supposed to be, overhearing something too beautiful for your mind to comprehend. Bedtime ended their set with a sweet and crooning slow song that built to an overdriven climax by the end, leaving an overwhelming sense of excitement to see them again.
Modern Winnipeg legends Virgo Rising opened with the widely-loved “Sleep in Yr Jeans” – a noticeable departure from Bedtime’s set. The energy in the Good Will shifted completely. As they always do, Virgo Rising proved themselves to be a tour de force in the local music scene, especially when it comes to live performances. They know how to effectively straddle the line between going all out and bringing calming introspection, and that ability makes for a delightful concert-going experience.
Virgo Rising had a slew of new material for the Winterruption crowd that night, including “Elliot,” “Nail Biter,” and “Tristan.” The contrast between lead singer and guitarist Emily Sinclair’s quiet and reserved personal demeanor between songs and her intense, theatrical stage presence while performing was astounding to watch. The band closed their set with “Tristan,” a new piece. Despite this, Virgo Rising had the audience packed to the front of the room, a borderline mosh pit in the works – an undeniable testament to the allure of their music.
“We don’t usually wear as much Fredericton memorabilia as we do tonight,” said Penelope Stevens, bassist, and vocalist of Motherhood, referring to her proudly-donned “Fredericton is Fine” t-shirt. “Well, I do,” declared Brydon Crain, the lead vocalist, and guitarist, equally decked out in Fredericton merch, before launching into the band’s second song of the night. Motherhood took the sonic energy Virgo Rising had introduced and sent it through the ceiling. The band’s live sound is loud, chaotic, and frantic, but this by no means diminishes the control in their playing. The three are fully locked in, delivering hard-hitting and punchy rock and roll that force you to hurl yourself out of your seat and up to the front of the crowd.
Motherhood’s sound jumped all around over the course of their set. The final verse of “Flood” – heavy, slow, demanding of attention – propelled into a wild and chaotic, hooping and hollering surf rock-inspired piece, then crying like little babies in “Bird Chirp” immediately after that. Motherhood will not be sonically tied down.
The trio, having never been to Winnipeg, recounted some of their adventures of the day – an interview with UMFM, some recording at No Fun Club, and a trip to Giant Tiger to pick up underwear. (“Alright, I see what kinda town this is,” said Crain when cheers went up at this.) Motherhood then debuted their freshly recorded tracks – “Kyle Hangs Ten,” named after their coldwater surfing band manager, and “Dry Heave,” which went fully hardcore.
The end of the set arrived faster than everyone – including the band – was expecting. Time flies. They ensured to promote their Motherhood baby onesies available at the merch table (“Or maybe you’re really small and they’ll fit you”) before closing with “Tabletop.” It’s safe to say, with such an energetic close to such an energy-filled evening, that no one’s fingernails were chipping paint off the chair they were in.