Our friends over at Speakers in Code and the Firebird gave us a Halloween treat with a double helping of indie pop from Mates of State and Generationals, a show that left the crowd buzzing more those elsewhere gorging on their candy spoils.
What do you get when you combine the musical talents of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (I’ve also heard lizard alien), Dracula, a football player, a panda bear and a ghost rocking sunglasses? You get the strongest Generationals show I’ve seen yet, kicking it off with the fantastic “Ten-Twenty-Ten” and then breezing through the highlights of Con Law and their most recent release, Actor-Caster. The headgear came with the occasional vocal interference, but you have to admit that it’s pretty boss seeing the Creature of the Black Lagoon rocking out. It was the first Generationals live experience for a few attendees around me and it seemed like the general consensus was that the New Orleans band killed it.
Mid-set, Mates of State took off their cop/convict costumes to reveal Cardinals shirts underneath and sport some baseball caps. Of course the crowd cheered in celebration of their newly acquired World Series Title, but honestly the Lawrence duo (plus two additional musicians for the evening) wouldn’t have needed the surprise to win over the crowd. Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner (one of my favorite couples in music) already had everyone’s admiration simply from how infectiously fun and sweet their music is. Even though the last two albums (Re-Arrange Us and the newMountaintops) show a more thoughtful and emotional approach, the enjoyment that is Mates of State was basically epitomized by the front rows of 20-30 year olds jumping and shouting along like no one’s business.
-Shooting the show was a mixed bag. On the plus side, you had some awesome visuals between the backdrop of flowers, clouds strung from the ceiling and all of the Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, lights were pretty dim all night, aside from some floor lamps during the Generationals set. As well, Kori’s tree-keyboard stand has a pointed top which cuts off any good sight lines in front of her. If you’re going to be shooting MoS without a photo pit, my suggestion is to try and get a spot slightly to the right of center stage (facing the band). Jason’s cymbals might get in your way a little, but anything more to the left and you’ll have a hard time getting a clear shot of Kori.
-Bonus points for the Mates of State backup band who brought insane amounts of energy.
-A narwhal, good luck cat and Elaine from Seinfeld were brought up to dance during one song. I was impressed by how the good luck cat refused to break character.
-Fun fact: I brought my then-girlfriend to the last MoS show also at the Firebird (or was it the Bluebird then?) when the A/C went out on a crazy hot summer night. She’s not a concert-goer and while she liked MoS, the crowd and heat basically scarred her for all future concerts.