All You Need Is Love, Keyboards and Drums

Mates of State
House of Blues – Chicago, IL

Mates of State House of Blues - Chicago, ILKori Gardner (keyboard/vocals)

Mates of State are just about the coolest and cutest musical duo to come along since The White Stripes. This married couple consisting of Kori with her piano skills and Jason with his drum skills seem to have it all. Both members of this indie duo can sing (the harmonizing is fantastic!) as well as play their instruments of course. Seeing as how neither Kori nor Jason went to school for music or had childhood plans to be rock stars, what they have accomplished in the last few years is quite impressive. Both quit their day jobs (not music industry related) to write and perform music full-time. It is so rare these days to find bands that write their own songs, play their own instruments and can actually sing without the use of the omnipresent Auto-Tune. Let’s just hope they have a less rocky career than Meg and Jack White. Hopefully the fact that they have a child together keeps the professional and personal relationship going strong for years to come so that we can continue to hear great music that they’ve written.

Mates of State House of Blues - Chicago, ILJason Hammel (drums/vocals)

Even though I found Mates of State’s music to be quite different than that of headliner Santogold, they effortlessly won the crowd over with their humble and grateful personalities. After the first three songs, two more members of their touring band joined Kori and Jason on stage to add more sound to the live show (cello, synthesizer, trumpet, vocals). The performance only got better from there with a fuller band serving to engage the audience more in the quirky but catchy music of Mates of State. Check out more photos after the jump!

Mates of State ended their set with “My Only Offer,” featuring a back-up band member on trumpet – the only song featuring the trumpet-only horn section. “Now” is by far my favorite song of the band’s and one of their most upbeat dance-y track. Take a listen for yourself and you will see what I mean. The song has a knack for getting into your head and never leaving. It’s addictive, but in a good way! Kori sings lead vocals for the majority of the songs, with her husband Jason harmonizing right along with her and sometimes taking over with the lead duties on a couple of tracks. The truth is, I had never listened to the music of Mates of State until a friend gave me their latest album, Re-Arrange Us, this past July. I recognized their name, but had yet to see them live. I missed the band’s performance at Lollapalooza and the Double Door with MGMT for an official Lolla After Party (both in August). But now, after seeing them open for Santogold, I am a certified life-long fan. I will make sure never to miss a Mates of State show in Chicago ever again.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

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  1. whitney says:

    I love the Mates of State! I saw them a few years back open for Taking Back Sunday and Jimmy Eat World. They were so cute!

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