Amidst rainfall and carnival rides, Mates of State performed this past Saturday in Dandelion Square as a part of Yellowjacket Weekend.
Before this show, I had never heard of Mates of States, an indie-pop group composed of husband-wife duo Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, multi-instrumentalists who have performed together in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia. I really had no idea what to expect, but as a lover of music and having little else to do, I decided to stop by and take a chance.
Once they started, with only three or four people standing around, Gardner and Hammel instantly won me over. The upbeat drums and keyboard made it hard not to dance along , and the energy was infectious.
The indie-pop duo maintained a cheery disposition for the full hour, even making a special birthday shout-out to someone in the audience.
During their set, they invited spectators to challenge them to a game of carnival-booth bowling; that, paired with their casual attire and the occasional, “How is everybody doin’ out there in the rain?” made the environment more intimate and the artists more accessible.
Performing songs such as “Palomino,” most recently featured in an Ice Breakers commercial, “Parachute,” a special audience request, “Get Better,” and “You Are Free,” Mates of State presented the perfect rainy-day atmosphere comprising nothing more than a small, cozy group of people listening to music and taking a break from their day.
That said, by the end of the show, a reputable crowd had formed in front of the stage, witnesses to the band’s grooving rhythms and entrancing melodies.
The pair’s energetic stage presence made for an all around enjoyable hour and left me with the nagging desire to buy their music.
Throughout their set, there was constant eye contact and smiling while the duo sang and played their instruments. This on-stage presence added further charm to their performance, and made it obvious how much these two enjoy what they do.
As concert-goers know, watching a live performance changes the way an artist’s music feels and sounds.
It creates an almost personal connection between listener and performer. Such a connection was present on Saturday, and despite the fact I had never before heard of Mates of State, is a testament to the band’s overall passion and charisma.
At first glance, the small turnout and rainy weather may not seem like a big success for Mates of State, but in retrospect, these very things become part of what made the band’s performance such a unique privilege to experience.
McAdams is a member of the class of 2017.