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Tuesday, 01 November 2011 13:20

Concert review: Welcome to the jungle, we've got Mates of State and Generationals at the Firebird, Monday, October 31

Concert review: Welcome to the jungle, we've got Mates of State and Generationals at the Firebird, Monday, October 31 Dustin Winter
Written by Joe Duepner
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It may be a slight understatement to say there is something a little surreal about a lizard man singing love paeans against a backdrop of flowers to a club packed to the gills.

Still, that was only the beginning of the aberration that costume-clad Mates of State and Generationals brought to the Firebird for All Hallows Eve.

People were not the only ones donning costumes for the evening either. The stage had its own decorations. Two illuminated clouds floated above instruments that had succumbed to an entanglement of green ivy. Hanging behind the stage, an intricate quilt of flowers glowed under black lights giving off an ethereal aura.

New Orleans-based Generationals duo Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner took the romantic stage first as a grotesque lizard alien and a football player with "Gens" written across his chest. Though billed as a duo, they were backed by a supporting cast featuring heavy hitters like Dracula and the Invisible Man. Their buoyant brand of pillow pop kept the audience of Betty Boops and Raggedy Anns bopping from the first bar to the last. While playing their self-described "greatest St. Louis show to date," Generationals reminded the crowd they were only stage-warmers for Mates of State.

The husband and wife duo Mates of State also brought along backing members to round out their sound. The crowded erupted in a rapturous roar stage as a police uniformed Mate Kori Gardner led a prison gang onto stage. Launching into "Get Better," the first track off of "Re-Arrange Us," the set did just that.

The adorned stage appeared as organic as the witty banter and musical chemistry between the husband and wife duo. Jason Hammel confessed he was a little freaked out by his wife's costume as it made her look like Axl Rose. When she accused him of having an Axl fantasy he laughed off, "Perhaps, that guy is such a jerk." Both singers hit notes higher than they did on record and executed a perfect silent count on "Like U Crazy." If bedroom pop is what you listen to in the comfort of your own confines, this was bedroom rock.

Towards the end of their set the band stripped off the prison garb to reveal Cardinals gear and asked the crowd if they wanted to hear old songs or new ones. The crowd howled for the old. The Mates, of course, complied.

Returning for the demanded encore, Kori invited the best-costumed fans to dance with them on stage. As Jason pounced and pounded on his drum set so hard that he lost his cymbals in the crowd, a Snow White, a lion, and a half-assed attempt at Freddy Krueger bounced around him. Perhaps it was not a dismal Elm Street effort and just another fauxhemian girl. Maybe both? Either way it perfectly capped a night of fantasy and illusion.

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