Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nothing and Everything

Call it fate or luck, but 24 hours before Mates of State were scheduled to play the Spring Scream festival in Kenting, Taiwan, I happened to be obliviously browsing the band’s website. Immediately following this exciting discovery my girlfriend and I packed a bag and make the two-hour trip south on our Vespa. Our heads filled with Mates of State’s contagious indie-pop anthems and genuinely sappy ballads helped to build the anticipation as we made the beautiful trek south.

After arriving at the festival we learned that MOS would be playing the “indie” stage, filled with American indie bands, most of which I’ve never heard of. The first band we saw was a four-piece bar mitzvah-inspired act from NYC by the name of One Ring Zero. Their Jewish backgrounds were made obvious by the lead instruments: accordion, claviola, and theramin; I couldn’t help but think that they’d break into a rendition of Hava Nagila (you know - the Jewish wedding song). Their set was filled waltzes and pop tracks glazed with lyrics commissioned from various renowned poets including Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster and Rick Moody. Their sheer novelty was reason enough for listening, but this genre is not for everyone.

With our dancing feet warmed up and plenty of room in front of the stage, Kori and Jason took their places. They opened the set with the chugging chords of ‘Fraud in the '80s’ and I was immediately impressed at how the two command their stage. The chemistry between husband and wife duo filled the stage and spilled into the crowd until everyone was intoxicated by how incredibly adorable they are. Their set included a balance of tracks from Bring it Back and Team Boo including ‘Beautiful Dreamer’, ‘Think Long’, ‘Ha Ha Ha’ and ‘Goods’.

Unfortunately, the setlist was limited by a malfunctioning “D” key on Kori’s organ, preventing the band from playing favourites ‘Running Out’ and ‘Punchlines’. Nevertheless, ‘Like U Crazy’ stole the night when the crowd, the majority of whom weren’t familiar with MOS, swayed and sang along to the infectious “ah-ah-ah…like you crazy” lyrics.

Kori and Jason showed no signs of jet lag throughout the show, belting out their tight melodies and producing a powerful organ-driven dance groove like no other. Even though the twao of us appeared to be the only ones there specifically to see the Mates, there is no doubt that the Taiwanese crowd found every minute pleasing to their ears.

-Marc Bertrand

Mates of State, Spring Scream Festival (Hillside Stage), Kenting, Taiwan
April 7, 2007

Mates of State - For the Actor
Mates of State - Like U Crazy

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