On The List :: Mates of State @ Webster Hall [4.6.09]

I am unexpectedly attracted to Kori Gardner. She is stuck behind all these keyboards and, yes, I know she's already married to the drummer. And yes, I know they have kids. And I know they live in Darien, Connecticut and by all reports lead the bohemian rhapsody that we all chase and never catch. But that doesn't mean I can't love her from 20 yards away. Her bangs are in her face and her voice is a more squeaky Neko Case. I feel like I could be good for her. If I only had something to offer.

Luckily, Mates of State start with "My Only Offer." By the end, I'm more than ready to offer "stifled copies of myself." I mean, frankly, she could have the originals. No one is going to be terribly picky. Without missing a beat, they turn on "Get Better" which sounds as uplifting and glossy as it does on the album. The difference is, here, now, I want to float off the ground when Kori (we're on a first name basis) says, "everything's gonna get lighter." It's a plea for perspective in a time of seriousness. It's a desire to float when everyone is sinking.

The band pounds through songs I haven't heard since 2004. This is the old stuff. These are the deep cuts. This is exciting, especially remembering my college roommate yelling, "what the hell is that awful shit?" when I played it at 10am on a weekday morning. I mean, at this point, could he have been more wrong? The band plays "Ha ha" which always moves people and then "Fraud In The 80s." The new stuff is empirically better but the songs from five years ago thump and pulse in a way that can't be recaptured. That was before Matt and Kim upped the ante. That was before Mates of State felt the need to destroy everyone.

The band closes with a Tom Waits cover and "The Re-Arranger." I cannot say enough good things about "The Re-Arranger" and this performance offers no new light or different perspective. It was good on the record. It's good in-person. Kori Gardner is as perfect as can be and we're all just copies of ourselves.

Listen :: Mates of State - "My Only Offer"

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