Live Review: Mates of State, Fictionist, and Babes...

Live Review: Mates of State, Fictionist, and Babes at the Bootleg Theater 1/26/15

If you can remember back to when Kori Gardner of Mates of State toted around an enormous Yamaha Electone (nearly as long as she is tall), then you’d be happy to see that the duo scaled back to basics. In recent years she and husband/bandmate Jason Hammel have been known to tour with additional members. While those additions were all quite talented in their own right, it is a good change of pace to see the two focused solely on each other.

Beginning with a new song, Gardner and Hammel beat out a rallying rhythm on a shared drum. Nothing short of what fans have come to expect, their chemistry and adorableness is still tried and true, even after seventeen years performing together. Hammel shared an anecdote about “Hoarding It For Home” being about the time Gardner had a kidney stone – an anecdote which she rebuffed, recalling that the song was actually about Hurricane Katrina. “Just listen to the lyrics!” Hammel declared. (With a little research you’ll find that the album which included the song, “Our Constant Concern”, was released in 2002 and Hurricane Katrina occurred in 2005 – sorry Kori!)

The duo announced that they’ll be releasing their follow up to 2011’s Mountaintops this May. To close out their set Hammel and Gardner convened front and center – Hammel on vocals and Gardner on vocals/synth. Backed by a harmonious track composed of iPhone alert tones, the duo sang the longing refrain “I wish you’d put your phone down and look into my eyes more.”

From Utah, four-piece Fictionist fuses 90’s inspired indie rock with some pop synth and an explosive stage presence. Songs like “Give It Up” and “Not Over You” highlight the band’s unique sound while frontman Robbie Connolly commands your attention and bassist Stuart Maxfield rivals him on vocals.

Right here from LA, Babes helped ease the crowd into a saucy mood. Singer Sarah Rayne even connected with the audience, literally, by jumping off the stage to dance – even to the unwillingness of certain members.