I can easily pick out the songs that were the epic milestones in my musical appreciation. In high school it was Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Frosh week at university, it was Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name". And on a work term in Alberta, I had my mind blown by the song "Levitate" by I Mother Earth. A Canadian band no less! And the rest of the CD, Dig, was just as spectacular.
I was a fan. The CD would be on constant rotation for many years and I bought each of their new releases based mostly because of that love of that first song. The original singer left after the second album but I continued to carry the flag for this band. But I'd never seen them live. I'd seen performances on TV but nothing in person. And eventually I just stopped noticing new CD releases. I figured my opportunity was gone.
So I was out of my mind when I saw that I Mother Earth was coming to Kitchener for Rocktoberfest! We had tried out Rocktoberfest a couple years ago when Our Lady Peace was the featured band. You can read my recap here. Seems like I was kind of disappointed in the lack of actual Oktoberfest in my Rocktoberfest. Probably my disdain for Our Lady Peace had something to do with that attitude.
But this time would be different! I Mother Earth couldn't help but rock the fuck out of the joint.
As the day got closer, however, my enthusiasm waned. With every day that passed, the realization that I would once again have to submit myself to the exposure of the general public grew. Thank goodness for beer.
Niagara peeps assembled for a barbecue beforehand then we headed out. We got there for 8 and waited and drank. Walter Ostanek was there again as the opening act. I can usually accept polka as a necessary evil of Oktoberfest tradition. But this year it really grated on me. It didn't help that the countless renditions of Ein Prosit, Roll Out The Barrels, and the Chicken Dance were interspersed with my musical kryptonite: Country Western.
We stood and listened to Walter for 2 and 1/2 hours. Unlike 2 years ago, beer was very accessible but it made little difference. I was near my breaking point. And then I Mother Earth finally took the stage. It was joyous, and loud, and awesome. Unfortunately, we were still surrounded by people. People are annoying in general but put them in hats with giant feathers sticking out of them and they are unbearable.
One song in and Jen bailed. The squirmy tart in front of her using her boyfriend as a stripper pole wasn't a great view for her. I was committed to sticking it out though. Committed right up to the point that I Mother Earth stopped their set to bring out special guest Walter Ostanek! And they did a fucking polka!
What the fuck was I just listening to for the last 2 1/2 hours?!? Polka. It was too much. I turned to my friends and said "Ready to go?" and I got a unanimous "YUP!" in response.
It was disappointing. No question. But I can now say I've seen them live. It was only three songs in total. Maybe if one of them was from their Edwin era, it would have been enough to hold me there. But that's how it goes with live shows. You win some and lose some. And I can always spin up Levitate whenever I want and relive that moment I discovered I Mother Earth.