Last Night: Mates Of State And Free Energy At Warehouse Live

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Photos by Marc Brubaker / Click here for a slideshow
Free Energy
Mates of State, Free Energy
Warehouse Live
July 8, 2010

There's nothing like getting ripped from your lemon grass tofu because there's a magician opening a Mates of State show. Aftermath was sitting down like a real, live human being eating dinner when Twitter lit up with people watching a kid juggling and balancing a sword on his chin.

Of course by the time we paid our bill, local magician Carter Blackburn was already offstage. To be honest we wish more touring bands hired local magic acts to open shows. It would boost drink sales early on and it's just good old-fashioned show business ethos that you always have a magician warm up a crowd for married indie-rock bands.

The first real musical opener, Free Energy, channeled Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy and a swatch of T. Rex for their hour-long set. From opening song and band mission statement "Free Energy," the Philadelphia-based five-piece played a good deal of this spring's debut LP Stuck on Nothing. The album was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and his touch is felt live and on record. "All I Know" has Bolan all over it, sounding like "Mambo Sun" recast as 21st-century roller-rink rock.

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Mates of State
Mates of State has always struck us as a "couples" band, the kind you listen to while you are both cleaning the apartment or putting together a new shelving unit. But that doesn't diminish from the indie-crunch of what Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel do live. After Thursday night, we seem to prefer the duo in a live setting much more than on record. It seems their tunes get more breathing room and can expand in a room rather than on your stereo.

The band grew to be a four-piece on most songs, with a guitarist and trumpeter in the background. The patchwork MOS tapestry they played in front of made the studio room at Warehouse Live feel homey, as if we were all really just hanging out in the band's living room or garage.

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