As a teenager growing up in Toronto in the nineties, grunge was my style and music was my life. Today, I still love the music I loved when I was sixteen, the memories it evokes and the feelings it brings back when I hear it, there’s really nothing like it. So you can bet that when I heard that Edwin(formerly of I Mother Earth) was putting on a solo show at Tattoo Rock Parlour this past Friday, I jumped at the chance to trip down memory lane.
Edwin is definitely a staple of the Toronto Music scene. Between the multiple solo gigs, singing with Canadian supergroup Crash Karma and serving drinks and making girls blush at Tattoo, his presence is strong in our fair city. The first (and only other) time I’d seen Edwin on stage was in 1996. I Mother Earth opened for Porno For Pyros at Varsity Arena (check out this review of the show). Even with Perry Farrell as a headliner, this small band from Toronto made their mark on fans, much in part to the incredible stage presence of their lead singer. Hanging practically suspended off the very edge of the stage, Edwin reached out as if pulling the audience in. Evidently, it’s an image that’s hard to forget.
The years have done nothing to diminish Edwin’s rock star persona. Completely at ease on stage, he greeted the crowd who welcomed him with open arms. The show opened with “Hang ten”, the second single from Edwin’s debut solo record Another Spin Around the Sun, released back in ’99. Edwin’s voice was strong and true, his air charismatic and confident. The club was filled with die hard fans, who danced and knew every word by heart, and. So when Edwin coyly said “once upon a time, I was in another band called I Mother Earth” those fans were not hard pressed to express their pleasure, which was deafening as the opening licks of “Used to be Alright” washed over them. Scenery and Fish was definitely on display as Edwin treated the crowd to “Raspberry” and the iconic single “One More Astronaut”.
The icing on this already kick ass cake was the appearance of yet another Toronto nightlife staple, Mr. Glenn Hughes, proprietor of one of the city’s hottest (and this writer’s favourite) bars, Cherry Cola’s Rock and Rolla Caberet. This man is no slouch behind a microphone, as any Cherry’s regular will tell you. Called up to the stage by Edwin, Hughes sauntered up with the confidence of a rock star in his own right, accompanied by thunderous applause. The pair proceeded to belt out “Another Sunday”, also from I Mother Earth’s second record and Edwin’s last record with the band. Their voices suited each other, raw, gritty and powerful, and they shared the stage with the camaraderie that comes from being good friends. As the last note drifted away, Edwin and Hughes were grinning from ear to ear, clearly having a blast. And that feeling was definitely contagious.
The set closed with the poignant single “Alive”, another song from Edwin’s solo record, which left the women in the audience swooning (of course that may have also been the sight of his biceps in his fitted black tank). Still looking and sounding every bit the rock god that he is, Edwin left the crowd wanting more. Reliving the days of driving around in my first car, listening to Scenery and Fish, back when we used to be alright? Not a bad way to spend a Friday night.