“Single Mothers broke up in 2009 – and have been playing shows ever since.” This wry statement, plastered on all of the London, Ontario outfit’s online socials, is how the take-no-prisoners punk gang has chosen to show itself. As the quip implies, Single Mothers’ trajectory has been atypical to say the least. Masterminded by vocalist and lyricist Drew Thomson, the band formed in 2009, endured a revolving door of members, toured relentlessly, released two EPs, and finally froze in 2011 when Thomson decided to go prospecting for gold in a sketchy border town in Ontario.
All that zigzagging, thankfully, led Single Mothers back into the studio. Their debut Negative Qualities was released in October 2014, garnering praise from listeners who craved songs with serrated edges and crammed with barbs directed at religion, intellectual snobs, small town suffocation, and Thomson himself. Songs off Negative Qualities naturally dominated the band’s fiery Pitchfork set.
Early gigs are tricky. But Single Mothers rose to the occasion with a manic energy, fast-paced riffing, and fun sarcasm: “We’ve never played during lunch before!” Thomson tossed off his shirt, poured a drink over his head, and conducted his bandmates with increasingly expressive gestures. Cuts like “Marbles” and “Half-Lit” were major highlights while the band’s older material tended to flag. This sort of second life momentum though can only mean one thing: For this determined collective, the best is yet to come.
Jolted awake and feeling something special, we all celebrated shortly after at Dark Horse’s nearby booth…