Mates of State | 10.31.11

Despite having a newly released album, Mountaintops, Mates of State wisely peppered their set list with songs for fans both new and well-versed.

Who needs candy to satiate a sweet tooth or create nearly-worth-it cavities? Mates of State brought their saccharine brand of organ-filled pop to the Firebird on Halloween as a treat. The Firebird’s stage got a festive facelift, courtesy Mates of State: two cotton-fluffed clouds stuffed with blinking Christmas lights hung on either side of the stage and a backdrop of bright and cheery paper flowers. To round out the Halloween tricks, fans were dressed in an array of fun, creative costumes—but not to be outdone by their fans, Kori Gardner and drummer/better half Jason Hammel jumped on stage donning sherriff and prisoner costumes along with their two touring members.

Despite having a newly released album, Mountaintops, Mates of State wisely peppered their set list with songs for fans both new and well-versed. The costume ball/dance party kicked off with a boisterous version of “Get Better,” seemingly addressing the audience, telling us that the show would only continue to get more awesome as the night went on. “Maracas” was next on the docket, and while the song is in its infancy, it still provided a fantastic dance track for every Snow White, Pokemon, and Maneki Neko in the crowd.

The infectious organ riffs and enchanting married-couple melodies filled the air and added to the bewitching décor throughout the set, but perhaps the most notable portion of the show occurred near the end of the bill. Nearing the end of “Goods (All In Your Head),” the foursome created a musical breakdown of epic proportions. As if that weren’t enough, they each took turns stripping out of their prisoner/police garb to reveal St. Louis Cardinals World Series gear, proving they know how to work a crowd of strangers into a weird amalgamation of frenzied, longtime pals in an intimate setting.

After the drum-rich breakdown, the group quickly moved in to “Parachutes” from their 2003 release Team Boo. Kori, out of breath and sharing the crowd’s lighthearted animation, asked the audience what they’d rather hear, “old songs or new tunes.” A resounding “old” was heard throughout the room and the group gladly obliged. The last portion of the set featured new songs from the newest album, but was steeped in “older” songs from Bring It BackTeam Boo, and Re-Arrange Us. The encore was bittersweet, much like the close of Halloween as a young child, but saw an Alice Cooper lookalike throw candy out to the crowd while the Mates themselves invited costumed fans to leave their inhibitions on the floor and come up on stage for an impromptu dance party that will not soon be forgotten. | Jenn Metzler

 

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