Our Lady Peace are Healthy in Paranoid Times

In town promoting their newest musical endeavour, Healthy in Paranoid Times, Our Lady Peace played a packed house at La Tulipe last Wednesday. With 760 fans in house, the band played a short 1 hour and 15 minute set that barely did their six-album repertoire justice.

Regardless, the intimate venue gave Montrealers the chance to experience a solid rock show, although more than half of the set list consisted of new tracks that the audience may not have been all too familiar with yet.

The new songs off Healthy follow the same vein of mainstream pop-rock that was infused into their sound when they switched to American producer Bob Rock for their previous album, Gravity. This more radio-friendly formula would probably explain the age diversity in the crowd, mostly from mid-teens to early thirties, whereas in previous times, OLP’s harder alternative sound catered to a more specific age group.

As for the technical aspects, there was no backdrop and the only major lighting was white spotlights. This setup was appropriate and effective for the simple atmosphere the band was attempting to create, especially for a $15 performance. For those fortunate enough to acquire tickets at this price for a show that sold out in less than 5 minutes, it was definitely worth it; I wonder whether those who paid up to $400 a pair from scalpers on Ebay felt the same.

Openers Dearly Beloved and Creature were no match for the enthusiasm that erupted once OLP took the stage. Lead vocalist Raine Maida was his usual serious self, decked out in a black fedora hat and unkempt beard, thanking the crowd in between songs, often singing to the floor and making minimal banter with the audience.

One noteworthy moment was Maida’s introduction of “Wipe That Smile Off Your Face,” which pointed out the contradiction between how the US is considered one of the greatest countries in the world and yet could not even come to the aid of their own people during Hurricane Katrina. His declaration that this new song is an expression of “how much [he’d] like to choke Bush,” was met with thunderous applause that set as much an air of political significance as one can get during a rock concert.

Another unexpected occasion of crowd interaction was Maida’s invitation of six audience members onto the stage to sing the old favourite “4 am”. This and “Superman’s Dead” made up the encore, ending the show at a relatively early 11:15pm. Although fans may have hoped the band would return for another encore when the house lights and music stayed off for an unusually long period of time, this slight deception more likely served to heighten anticipation of OLP’s arena tour, which will include bigger venues, a more varied song selection and a full out spectacle. Overall, it was a show not to be missed for the truly devoted as well as those who were eager to sample the band’s latest offering.

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