Burn Burn ignites the crowd

Raine Maida shows off his new style to the audience. (credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Kanter ) Raine Maida shows off his new style to the audience. (credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Kanter ) Steve Mazur is engrossed in his music during the performance.  (credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Kanter) Steve Mazur is engrossed in his music during the performance. (credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Kanter)

This past week, alternative rock band Our Lady Peace (OLP) performed at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall in Munhall, Pa. in front of a modest, yet die-hard, group of fans.

The band is one of the most popular Canadian rock bands of the last couple of decades, one that has sold over 5 million albums worldwide and retains a medium-to-large cult following wherever they travel. In addition, they hold the distinction of owning the most number of awards, a grand total of 10, given out in the history of the MuchMusic Video Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammy or MTV awards).

OLP burst onto the scene in 1994 with their debut album Naveed. Since then, they have released six albums including their most recent, Burn Burn, which they are currently promoting on tour throughout the United States. What’s special about this album is that it is the second one that follows what has been called a radical departure from their distinctive sound, an overall new style change for the band that began in 2001 with their album Gravity. In particular, lead vocalist Raine Maida’s singing during the band’s early years was called erratic and unrivaled by various reviewers, giving songs an unreal and almost fantasy-esque feel to them. More recently, Maida has strayed from his trademark type of singing; some would call it more mainstream.

Opening the night were the bands Paper Tongues and Inward Eye, and both showed off solid sets. Eye’s punkish rock attitude was a great warmup for OLP’s more surreal rocking persona. Just after 9:30 p.m., Raine Maida, Jeremy Taggart, Duncan Coutts, and Steve Mazur took the stage with thunderous applause from the crowd and jumped right into their new songs from Burn Burn. But it was clear that the band had not forgotten what got them to where they are today; a third of their set had songs that were eight or more years old, including smash hits “Clumsy” and “Superman’s Dead.”

One notable moment involved an audience member being invited on stage to sing the lyrics to “Starseed.” The member had attended OLP’s Cleveland, Ohio performance three weeks ago, had jumped on stage and danced there, and then proceeded to follow OLP to Pittsburgh. Maida made light of the fact that he never would have guessed his first duet would be with another man. A laugh came when Maida dedicated a song to “that asshole Kanye West.”

My personal favorite part of the show came when OLP performed “Is Anybody Home?” and Maida allowed the crowd to sing the chorus by themselves, which we did beautifully, according to the man himself. The sound itself was chilling, and just knowing that there were so many die-hard fans in the same place was a great feeling.

Over the course of the show, OLP performed a relatively equal mix of material from Burn Burn and popular hits from older albums, a good decision considering OLP hasn’t performed in Pittsburgh in years. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane, hearing some old favorites jumbled in with everything OLP’s been working on for the past four years. Maida’s vocal style is different now, but it definitely did not make for a boring or weak show. OLP has more than enough ability and talent to change for the better, and, at least in the eyes of the hundreds of people who sang along to nearly everything OLP put forth last Tuesday, they have already shown they can.