Give Toronto’s I Mother Earth credit for one thing: The band is ambitious.
Mixing standard heavy-metal riffs, smatterings of jazz and funk stylings, soaring, Jane’s Addiction-inspired vocals and lots of unexpected polyrhythms, the quartet went to great lengths, with the assistance of famed producer Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Megadeth), to create a standout album.
But where I Mother Earth scored on its Capitol debut, “Dig,” it fails in the live setting. The quartet, in its haste to create an original and exciting sound , seems overwhelmed by its zeal, lost in a wave of metallic noise that’s ultimately no more satisfying than any number of forgotten heavy bands of the ‘ 80s.
Apparently using early Santana band fusions as a guide, I Mother Earth lacks that group’s soul and instinct for dynamic, leaving much of its stage effort sounding limp and unfocused.
The packed Troubadour did respond to many of the band’s songs, in particular “Not Quite Sonic,” the groups new single, and “Rain Will Fall,” a head-knocking cut that spent two months at the top of the airplay charts last autumn. But as the 70-minute show wore on, it was clear that I Mother Earth has not developed an understanding of concert dynamics or the musical subtleties necessary to pull off its intended style.