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August 27, 2014

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Mates of State at Book & Stage: 5 thoughts

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Spencer Patterson

Mates of State, playing Night 2 at the Cosmopolitan’s Book & Stage on Thursday.

1. If I close my eyes, The New Pornographers could be onstage. Mates of State play a similar brand of sugary roller-rink pop-rock topped with boy-girl vocals. It’s fun and catchy and pretty perfect for the center-casino Book & Stage vibe.

2. Jason Hammel, half of Mates of State’s frontman/woman married-couple team, sings lead vocals as he pounds on his drums near the foot of the stage. Has me thinking about other singing drummers … Don Henley … Phil Collins … Micky Dolenz … okay, not necessarily a grand tradition.

3. Hammel’s wife, singer/keyboardist Kori Gardner, has the two-feet-off-the-ground bounce down, but she’s no match for Rammstein’s Christian Lorenz. That dude spent an entire night walking on a treadmill while playing his keys.

4. Didn’t expect Mates of State to cover Tom Waits and Daniel Johnston in a single hour-long set. Their horn-tinged take on Waits (“Long Way Home”) kinda works, injecting a few moments of unhurried yearning into an otherwise dancey evening. Their jaunty run through Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End,” on the other hand, sucks the feeling right out of it.

5. Gardner asks, “Were you guys just hanging out in the casino, or did you come from the show?” Lots yell “For the show!” Way to represent, locals.

Bonus thought: The sound is perfect in here tonight. If you have a chance, check out the final installment of Mates of State’s three-day Book & Stage mini-residency, Friday at 10 p.m. and midnight. As always, there’s no cover.

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