Concert Review: Mates of State, Suckers, September 28, The Phoenix

If great careers are defined by consistent production over a lengthy period of time (as it is in most professional sports), then husband and wife group Mates of States would be a forerunner for what defines a great career. Since forming in 1997, Mates of State have been keeping up an incredible work rate, having released seven quality (if not kind of similar) albums in that time. Mountaintops, the band’s seventh album, was recently released off Barsuk Records and features more of what we’ve come to know from Mates of States – short and sweet pop songs that fill your heart with all kinds of warmth. On Wednesday night at the Phoenix, band took to the stage to introduce their new songs to the city of Toronto.

For a band that has produced so many albums and quality singles over the years, the relatively small crowd (~ 50% capacity) that attended the concert was a surprise to me and all involved. Decorated in a floral manner, the stage’s bright color accurately reflected the happy mood of band and the crowd for the entire show. Armed with an extra guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel took center stage with their respective synth and drum sets and delivered a nearly ninety minutes hit filled set that spanned most of the band’s discography (including their covers album).

I wasn’t terribly surprised at how well the new material (such as Maracas and Palomino) meshed with their older stuff material but it’s always nice to see a crowd respond as positively to the newer songs as to the older ones. If there’s an award for consistent sound, you could make a good case for Mates of State to take that one home. The small but loyal crowd ate up all the tracks and me and Paul both were surprised at the amount of people who were singing along to every one of the songs played. Kori and Jason both played their songs with enthusiasm, which is nice since they’ve probably played tracks like Get Better a few thousand times by now. An entirely pleasant time for an entirely pleasant band.

Mates of State – Maracas by orchardmktg

If you have read our blog consistently for awhile now, you will know that I was a large fan of Wild Smile, the debut record from Brooklyn act Suckers. So you will imagine my disappointment last year when I missed out on a large portion of the bands opening set last year due to an extremely early (7:30!!!) set time. This time around, I made sure to catch the groups opening slot on Wednesday.

Equipment problems delayed the start of the set, but the group was still able to play a half an hour show that was heavily impressive. I did not notice this last time, but it seemed every member of the band played at least two instruments. Most impressive was the drummer, who somehow managed to play with the drums with one hand and the keyboards with the other at the same time. Just thinking about that gives me a headache.

The band played a slew of songs from their debut album and maybe one or two new tracks. Highlights include Martha (which the band introduced as Samantha, an inside joke of sorts), A Mind I Knew and the epic set closer It Gets Your Body Movin’. One of my favorite tracks off the album, It Gets Your Body Movin’ was a great choice to end off the set and introduce the people coming into the Phoenix to the band. Featuring a gospel-esque singalong chorus, a trumpet AND a whistling solo, the song just hits you hard in a live environment and it would be hard for even the casual concert goer to not get swept up in it all. Hopefully a few of the people did, for Suckers is a pretty impressive band.

Suckers – Black Sheep (RAC Mix) by RAC

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.