Mates of State – Webster Hall – April 6, 2009

April 7th, 2009


Mates of State are kind of disgusting. They are so not bad looking and so clearly committed to a mutualistic partnership that most Americans would kill for. They are nothing approaching miserable. It’s enough to make you sick, if you weren’t so jealous. Thankfully, there were few furtive glances between them, and the rest of the show was squarely directed forward, out into the audience.

It was a democratic affair. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel leaned heavily on their new material at the outset and again at the end. But the middle was comprised of what most music fans would call “deep cuts”—tracks that old fans appreciate, new fans struggle to understand and some that leave snobs thinking, “Well, that was unexpected.” But the old material sticks. By the time the band ripped through the final movement of “Ha Ha,” the crowd was chanting, “This is the blood that we’re made of” and flying around the floor. The band even invited two fans up to dance, saying, “This is what you want to do, right?” Everyone agreed.

Predictably, Mates of State closed with “The Re-Arranger,” which approached triumphant. This band makes its money on second chances; making the next movement the best one. “The Re-Arranger” has three parts, each crushing and singular. Last night, it sent those at Webster Hall out into the street, feeling equal parts envious and good. Better than disgusted, the crowd was impressed—maybe even moved—and shatteringly, crushingly jealous. —Geoff Nelson