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  • Live Review: Mates of State - Henry Fonda Theater - Los Angeles, CA

    Fri, 30 May 2008 11:52:21

    Live Review: Mates of State - Henry Fonda Theater - Los Angeles, CA - Build it up, and build it up, and build it up. And now it’s solid—solid as a rock.

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    For any fans whose defenses were feeling weakened by the steady diet of modern cynicism that too often sustains us, Mates of State administered a shot in the arm of matrimonial harmony on Wednesday night at the Henry Fonda Theater. Currently touring in support of their recently released fifth album, Re-Arrange Us, the husband and wife duo mixed up just the right dose of big-hearted indie pop hooks, emotive lyrics and solid musicianship in a show that saw the group maturing as performers, while still maintaining the innocence that defines their sound.

    The fact that Mates of States are a couple can never be overemphasized, since it plays such a central role in their songwriting, and the new material came across like two people whose relationship has grown from the delirious infatuation of their early work into something more serious, but no less joyful, now. New numbers like “Now” and the surprisingly lush first single, “Get Better,” sounded familiar without being stale, and they benefited from the addition of string and horn players on stage, a noticeable new turn for the band. While the new songs may lack some degree of the jubilance found in their earlier work, they feel more sturdy and ready to stand the test of future scrutiny. This makes sense in light of the fact that these two are now parents and probably burdened by concerns that can’t reasonably be dismissed with a well-timed cheer and some handclaps, no matter how passionate.

    these two are now parents and probably burdened by concerns that can’t reasonably be dismissed with a well-timed cheer and some handclaps

    However, they reached back into their grab bag of past hits throughout the night, reminding everyone of the simpler times gone by. Pounding out a low-end heavy take on “Fraud In The ‘80s,” and getting hands clapping along to “Think Long.” Their newfound steadiness even seemed to improve the older material, with songs like “Bring It Back” feeling more meaningful imbued with their growing confidence in their stage presence and execution. It was a fantastic performance by a band that continues to grow musically, and the show served as proof that there’s always a reason to keep holding on—and holding hands.

    —Chas Reynolds
    05.30.08



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