October 27, 2017 Our Lady Peace Celebrate 20 Years Of Clumsy In NYC 10-23-17
The year 1997 was a turning point in popular culture. Beyond all the world events that are too long to rehash, the digital age was in its infantile stage – with the internet engulfing the culture slowly with chatrooms and email – resulting in over-stimulation. With their ear to the ground, aware of what was to come, Canadian Rock band Our Lady Peace released their sophomore effort, Clumsy, an album that lyrically explored the jaded, apathetic behaviors and tediousness of society. Looking too much into it? Well, not really, because anyone who indulged in Clumsy following its release in January of 1997 found their voice being heard in the words screaming to breakaway from the constant drumming of consumerism. In fact, Clumsy is Our Lady Peace’s most successful album to date, going Diamond in Canada, Platinum in the U.S., but most of all, awakening the entire world to their presence.
Twenty years since, Our Lady Peace has kept their soul-capturing Rock anthems coming and to much excitement of long-time fans, are celebrating the music of Clumsy on a special U.S. tour this fall. A run that caught many fans by surprise – seeing as Our Lady Peace has been relatively quiet since releasing Curve back in 2012 – many of their scheduled dates now through November 21st are selling-out fast. Such was the case on Monday, October 23rd, when the band arrived at Irving Plaza in New York City on what would be the third date of the tour. A night that almost seemed eerily calm upon arrival at the venue just after the 7 PM doors opening, as time wore on, it was almost as if word spread fast and soon the show was all but sold-out.
Attracting a crowd of fans who have followed Our Lady Peace for two decades, it was easy to see there was a clear anticipation in the air. That anticipation would eventually permeate into excitement as the evening wore on. Helping the mood simmer, opening act Smshing Hrts got the ball rolling.
Pronounced “smashing hearts,” the three piece act is currently signed to RCA Records and released their EP So Cosmic back in 2015. Out supporting Our Lady Peace, the young band brought a calm, relaxed California feel to the stage as they dished out some really fun covers including Deftones’ “Change (In the House of Flies),” along with original music as well. A relatively short set, Smshing Hrts knew exactly how to keep the crowd interested as they balanced the music with interaction, creating a party-like atmosphere. Still making their way, this is a band that have a lot of promise.
Following Smshing Hrts performance, Irving Plaza, as stated, became completely packed to the point moving beyond your chosen position on the floor was unlikely. Tight and raising in temperature, no one seemed to mind as they anxiously awaited Our Lady Peace’s arrival. Now, let us keep in mind that beyond most recently, Our Lady Peace’s visits to the USA have been sparse. Yes, there have been shows here and there from time to time, but you would have to go back to 2015 to really find any steady touring, and even before then, shows were few and far between.
Deserving a much needed break after years of grinding away, releasing one memorable record after another, including 1999’s Happiness… Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch and 2002’s Gravity, the time is right for a full-blown return from Our Lady Peace. Speaking of which, Our Lady Peace is in fact also returning with some new music. Somethingness is an album broken into 2 EP releases, and Volume 1 is currently offering four new songs via streaming services such as Amazon and iTunes. Slowly catching fans’ attention, the timing is fitting to return to the road more vigorously, and New York City was ready to take it all in.
With all the audience on the tips of their toes, Our Lady Peace – Raine Maida (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Duncan Coutts (bass, backing vocals), Steve Mazur (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Jason Pierce (drums) – casually strolled onto the stage with antique-like dim lighting illuminating them. Out to set a mood, this stage setup included the album title “Clumsy” displayed behind the drum kit, and was strategically done to pedal back 20 years to revisit the work of Clumsy. Like that. It all began with Maida strumming the unmistakable opening of the hit song “Superman’s Dead.” A synonymous track with the name Our Lady Peace, the adrenaline of the crowd was pumping as they sang along with the chorus, much to the delight of Maida.
Upon the initial icebreaker, Maida stopped to say it would be like relearning these songs all over, admitting it has been some time since they had performed them live. Almost like a preemptive warning that he may not be capable of hitting all the notes, by the time “Automatic Flowers” kicked in, it was simple to see Maida was merely being humble because his pipes were just fine. As distinctive a vocalist as ever, the older, more relaxed stage presence of Maida was compensated by his attention to detail during the most emotional parts of each song.
Expressing his feelings through facial expressions as he sang each note powerfully, Clumsy live was a pure delight. It was more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane though: it was revisiting the music that defined much of the audience’s youth. Ever was the case with songs like “4am” and “Car Crash,” which saw everyone singing along in unison as if they were living the music with Maida and the band.
Now if you thought that would be the end, think again, because Our Lady Peace returned in less than 5 minutes to offer an additional set of newer tunes. Kicking off with one of the newest of all, “Drop Me in the Water,” Maida grabbed everyone’s attention who have yet to purchase Somethingness Volume 1. A throwback to Our Lady Peace of yesteryear, it has the potency to compete with any of Modern Rock’s bigger bands. Happy to perform the new song, the band also did not shy away from more of the past, as they dished our anthemic cuts like “Innocent,” “Is Anybody Home?,” “One Man Army,” and “Somewhere Out There.”
All equally adored by the audience, for many, it was almost a re-introduction to Our Lady Peace, and for that, more new music would be important to include as part of the set. Doing just that, the band sprinkled in the touching “The Ballad of a Poet,” a dedication to the late Gord Downie, before the tension building closer “Head Down,” both songs which will appear on Somethingness Volume 2. Quenching the thirst of fans who have yearned for new music for some time now, the band returned to the beginning with 1994’s “Starseed” acting as the bookend to the performance.
Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that could be said for Our Lady Peace as their fans displayed an anxious energy all night long. No matter if it was the first time someone had seen Our Lady Peace in 15 years or the first time ever, it was a night to remember. Now, with Somethingness complete and being delivered in 2 parts, fans can only hope Our Lady Peace continue to tour through 2018 and hopefully revisit cities like New York City in the process.
27 Caesars Atlantic City Atlantic City, NJ
28 Mohegan Sun – Wolf Den Montville, CT
30 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
1 The Fillmore Detroit, MI
2 House of Blues Chicago, IL
3 Delmar Hall St Louis, MO
5 Music Hall Minneapolis Minneapolis, MN
6 Wooly’s Des Moines, IA
7 The Truman Kansas City, MO
9 Aztec Theater San Antonio, TX
10 Gas Monkey Live Dallas, TX
12 Summit Music Hall Denver, CO
15 Wonder Ballroom Portland, OR
16 Neptune Theater Seattle, WA
17 Knitting Factory Spokane, WA
19 The Catalyst Santa Cruz, CA
20 The Independent San Francisco, CA
21 El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA
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