Mates of State, April 17, 2014, The Ready Room

April 18, 2014

Mates of State, October 31 2011, The Firebird

On October 28, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in absolutely astonishing fashion. My whole body was in a euphoric state for days afterwards, and so it was with an incredibly good attitude that I saw Mates of State at The Firebird on October 31, 2011.

Being a show on Halloween, the band was dressed up. If I remember correctly, keyboardist, lead singer and only female of the band Kori was dressed up as a cop, and the rest of her band was dressed in pin stripes as criminals. It was a fun look, and it was an incredibly fun show. This was the second time I had seen Mates of State and I expected an up-tempo show, featuring the faster and poppier hits from though out their catalogue, and that’s exactly what I got.

But at some point in the middle of the show, All the band members ripped off their costumes to reveal Cardinals t-shirts underneath, and the audience lost their shit. There often is not a huge overlap between sports fans and indie-rock concert goers, but for this city, at this moment, it was perfect.

I will always remember this moment as one of extreme happiness in my life.

Mates of State, April 17, 2014, The Ready Room

Earlier this week, my wife and I were listening to the “Unless I’m Led” from Mates of States’ 2011 album, Mountaintops. It’s a pretty great song, but definitely on the quieter and slower side of the Mates of State catalogue. Each of their albums have songs like this, and I do sincerely enjoy them.

It prompted me to pose this thought: “It must be weird recording songs for a record that you’re probably never going to play live.”

This statement was based on logic from my previous Mates of State show experiences. They have a large amount of high-energy quality music to pick through, so inevitably some songs are probably never going to see the light of stage, right?

On April 17 at the Ready Room, I saw a completely different Mates of State show, where they played “Unless I’m Led” as well as several other songs of this ilk, and while it wasn’t the show I was expecting, it was fantastic none-the-less.

Mates of State is a primarily drums & keys band that tours with more musicians as they see fit. The two previous times that I’d seen them, they toured as a rock band. This show, there was a cellist, saxophone & trumpet. The arrangements that they came up with for the songs they played were great.

The set pulled heavily from their 2008 album, Re-Arrange us, and while the energy was still high, it was definitely a more mellow experience.

I loved seeing something a little different, and the audience seemed to as well.

Speaking of audience, I didn’t expect Mates of State to come close to selling out this show, but I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t love them. They make incredible hook-heavy, relatable pop music. They are still adorable on stage together after all these years. There is nothing pretentious or difficult about their music. They are everything that pop music should be. Everyone should go to a Mates of State show to make the world a better place.

One confession/apology: Some girl requested oft-crowd-favorite “Everyone Needs an Editor” several times, and I said, kind of loudly, “You need an editor.” She heard me and gave me a dirty look. I deserved that look, and I’m sorry. Everyone does indeed need an editor. Kori & Jason played the song by themselves as the first song of the encore right after I made my rude remark.

Anyway, the show was great.


Ready Room Revisited

My last piece here was a review of the first night at the Ready Room under the guise of being a review of an Of Montreal show. This is a bit of the opposite. My primarily nit-picky complaints from the otherwise great first show were as follows:

• Lighting & Sound were weird for the first band
• Bar lines were excruciatingly long
• It smelled too new.

None of these items were problems. The opener, who I only saw the last 1/2 of their set, sounded good and the house lights were appropriately low. As I suspected, the audience seemed to be paying more attention to them.

This wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Mates of State show, so I’m unsure how it’ll hold up at capacity, but I never waited more than a couple minutes for a drink, and I went at “busy” times in between sets. It also looks like they’re in the process of installing beer taps, so that’s great!

It still smells new, but less new than last time. Everything still looks great, and I didn’t really notice too many other changes.

I was a bit worried that the room was going to feel empty for Mates of State, a band that didn’t quite sell out the Firebird on their last visit to St. Louis. However the Ready Room did a great job making the space feel smaller by repositioning the tables. Previously they were in the back corners, but for the anticipated smaller audience, they moved them to the back-center, right in front of the soundboard. This gave people a place to sit and enjoy the show, and also provided plenty of room for people to stand in front of the tables. Because of the high tables and the relatively high stage, I think everyone could still see. Here’s how it looked during the opener when no one was standing in that space:
I appreciated this detail greatly. I won’t say that I’m ready to crown the Ready Room as my favorite St. Louis venue yet (that distinction still goes to The Firebird) but I am thrilled with their booking so far, have enjoyed both my experiences there, and look forward to attracting more Mates of State/of Montreal quality acts to the St. Louis area.


One Response to “Mates of State, April 17, 2014, The Ready Room”

  1. Lindsey Says:

    The girl yelling was me, and you did deserve the dirty look. I’ve seen Mates of State several times in the 12+ years I’ve loved this band and I was at the show last night with two friends who have loved them just as long. We have many great memories that involve that song – and all of “My Solo Project” really – and I thought it would be special if they played it, particularly since most of the set featured newer music (which I also like and definitely enjoyed). Was I obnoxious? Yeah, I’m sure I was, and I apologize if that dampened the experience for you. Everyone does indeed need an editor. I just wanted the night to get a little more special – and Kori and Jason certainly obliged. Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Apology accepted.

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