The guys hit the stage on a freezing Wednesday night (February 25) and launched into "Christian Girls" beginning a night of chaos at the Good Will Social Club, one of Winnipeg's newest venues. There was something particularly special about seeing them at Natural Cycle without a stage last September, but the guys still delivered an intimate performance.
A highlight of any Single Mothers set is watching the guys perform "Winter Coats," and it still hasn't gotten old. All members of the band really get into it, especially singer Andrew Thomson, who flailed around the stage and fully unbuttoned his shirt. In between songs he made some dumb jokes ("Do you have a DD? A dreamy Drew.") and poked fun at the band's recent JUNO nomination for Hard Rock Recording of the Year. Most vocalists probably wish they had as much energy and conveyed as much emotion as he does when performing.
Before launching into "Money," Thomson said that was the first time they played it live, but if that's true it certainly wasn't noticeable. That song is more rock than hardcore, but it rules and it's probably the best tune Single Mothers has written to date. That opening riff courtesy of guitarist Mike Peterson sounds especially huge live and the melody gets stuck in your head. "Feel Shame" and "Marbles" were other newer cuts the band did a great job of pulling off live.
Really, the only downside of previous Single Mothers shows was that they ended a little too early, but now that the band's full-length, Negative Qualities, has been released, that's no longer a problem. The guys finally have enough material to draft a satisfying setlist and even toss in an encore. Single Mothers returned back to the stage shirtless and started playing an older tune called "Nice Dresses," which was a great way to cap off their best Winnipeg set to date.
The Dirty Nil played Winnipeg for the first time last night, but the crowd still seemed really into them and familiar with their music. The trio plays a mix of punk and alternative rock that sometimes sounds like a gruffer version of Limblifter. They sounded great ploughing through songs like "Wrestle Yü To Hüsker Dü," but the real highlight was hearing "Cinnamon," which appears on the new seven-inch they released last year through Fat Wreck Chords. The group isn't quite as energetic as Single Mothers, but comes close, especially bassist/vocalist Dave Nardi.
Opening up the show was a local pop-punk quartet called Triggers. The band formed near the end of 2013 and released a self-titled EP last February, which might remind you of Living With Lions when Matt Postal and Stu Ross were still lead vocalists. Despite some minor technical difficulties that probably stemmed from using Single Mothers' drums, the band pulled off "Onward Upward" and "Collected" better than they did on the original recording. They were the least energetic band of the night, but they still looked like they were having fun and were entertaining to watch.