Some concerts are about reminiscing about that old-time rock ‘n’ roll. Not with Our Lady Peace – not on this tour.
The multi-platinum Canadian alternative rock band will be at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Tuesday, June 7, for one of the first dates on the Wonderful Future Theatrical Experience tour.
The concert supports the band’s latest album, Spiritual Machines 2, and singer Raine Maida said it’s exactly the kind of “future rock” album he’s been wanting to make for 10 years.
“Should this record sound like Spiritual Machines 1? I don’t think so. It’s 20 years later. We’re a much different band, Dave Sitek is a much different producer and we’ve grown exponentially,” Maida said.
He said the album has “very rhythmic-oriented soundscapes and sound design,” and said the band has tried to make the music new and fresh by introducing rhythms, instrumentations and arrangements that aren’t as familiar.
“I think it still has the core of what we do, but we needed to get away from the rock ‘n’ roll clichés that are killing rock right now,” Maida said.
As with 2000’s Spiritual Machines, Our Lady Peace worked with futurist Ray Kurzweil and incorporated his predictions into the record.
“It’s not like this dystopian, scorched Earth that film and TV want to present in terms of what the future looks like…” Maida said. “Ray is very hopeful.”
Maida said it’s fascinating to hear Kurzweil’s predictions about computing’s role in solving some of the world’s problems, especially after seeing how the futurist “got everything right, basically,” around the time Spiritual Machines was made two decades ago.
Now, Our Lady Peace is leaning into the future. Concert-goers will be greeted at the theatre by holograms thanks to technology so advanced that the band is under a non-disclosure agreement when it comes to discussing the tech. Audience members will receive a virtual playbill in the form of a non-fungible token as soon as they walk in.
Maida said NFTs hold appeal because they help create a different type of connection with fans. He said with social media platforms, artists’ growth is controlled and stunted by algorithms, and likes and follows aren’t transferrable.
“It’s the ability to have true ownership over your communities and as an artist, as a creator, I don’t think we can afford to not pay attention to that…” he said. “We can start building our communities for real.”
Our Lady Peace wants fans to hear what Maida says is the best collection of songs the band has ever put together, presented alongside thought-provoking predictions, made memorable with holograms and digital collectibles.
And even as they play hits from 25 years ago like Superman’s Dead, in which Maida sings about the world being a subway, they feel like they can glance back while at the same time embracing a wonderful future.
“It really has come to fruition now. Everything just happens so quickly, right? That wheel spins so fast. We are on this hyper speed loop at this point,” Maida said. “So those songs, some people have asked me, how are you going to fit those songs? They actually fit. Not that I was any kind of a prophet but there’s a lot of stuff that has a thread thematically.”
Our Lady Peace plays the Port Theatre on Tuesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $55-219 available at www.porttheatre.com.