Mates and Friends = Magic
Seriously, Mates of State know how to host a night of entertainment. Their sold-out June 22nd line-up at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall put together the unlikeliest of characters: an international bubble artist, Geoffrey “Merlin” Akins, funny man Todd Barry, and the head banging misfits of Free Energy. Surprisingly, this eclectic group was a near pitch perfect mix of magic, comedy, and music.
Geoffrey “Merlin” Akins commenced the night with a wand in hand and a stellar set of tricks. He got the audience wide eyed and ahhing with excitement. “No matter what your age, anything is possible if you believe,” Akins preached while conquering the impossible… a square bubble. And from the reaction of the crowd, it was evident Akins has made believers out of us all.
Comedian Todd Barry took the stage next, and killed with a set of sarcastic zingers that ranged from apartment searching in Manhattan to a pot smoking Haley Joel Osment. Barry, you may remember him from HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, is a stand-up comic who knows how to deliver, and held his own with a room full of hipster college kids.
Glam-rockers Free Energy followed. On tour for their debut album Stuck on Nothing (produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem), this Philadelphia quintet looked like they were having a blast as they bounced across the stage. They delivered pop rock songs that are as catchy as they are enjoyable. Songs like “Hope Child” and “Bang Pop” got the crowd giddily hand-clapping and singing along. These guys are fun to watch. Luckily, if you missed it they’ll be back in town July 17 for the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Frankly, the night could have ended happily before the headliner ever started. But Mates of State proved to be the icing on an already delightful cake. The crowd was all grins when the husband/wife duo, Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, took the stage with “Re-Arranger”. With Gardner manning keyboards and Hammel on drums, the band hammered out favorites from their various albums (they have seven). Highlights from the set included “Think Long” and “You Are Free”, as well as a cover of Tom Waits’ “Long Way Home” off the group’s latest album, Crushes (The Covers Mixtape). With their playful banter, whimsical melodies, and sugar coated music people got exactly what they came for… Mates of States and their entourage of characters at their best.
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Mates of State setlist:
True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston cover)
You Are Free
Long Way Home (Tom Waits cover)
For the Actor
New Song (Unicorns)
Technicolor Girls (Death Cab for Cutie cover)
Fraud in the 80s
Laura (Girls cover)
My Only Offer
Sleep the Clock Around (Belle and Sebastian cover)
Unknown Replacements cover
Goods (All in Your Head)