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State Troopers: Mates of State are pretty great.

Love Is in the Air

What with all the music going on right here in town, we here at the Rock Show rarely make it over the hill to check out a show. But even we get a bit sappy sometimes, and so we made the trek to the Los Gatos Outhouse where Mates of State stopped on their "Love Is in the Air" tour, along with Da Hawnay Troof and Rogue Wave.

Much to our delight, the show turned out to be adorable in more than just the usual sugary sweet Mates-of-State-show kind of way. The all-ages venue itself (and the kids therein) scored tons of points for creating such a cute little scene in the L.G. Located on the grounds of stately Los Gatos High School, the Outhouse is like A Funky Little Turd out back--but in much the same way that rich people's poop resembles finely crafted origami and smells like roses, LGHS's little turd is full of funhouse angles and colorful, freshly painted walls that give it that air of "Our youngsters are going to think this is so 'cool'!" envisioned by hip PTA moms. Poor kids, unwittingly denied the grungy dive-bar décor that would make their indie rock outfits look so much cooler. But of course that's just jealously talking, because any music-loving teenager should poop their pants to have such a smart little venue at their disposal.

Plus, they got to see da Hawnay Troof. Simply knowing that da Troof has two albums out on the Retard Disco label says a lot about the band, but here's more: Dressed like '80s aerobics instructors, Vice Cooler and Baby Donut busted out the jams like ... I don't know, a cross between Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, Anthony Robbens and Jam Master Jay all rolled into one little energetic package from the 'burbs? They could have just as easily called themselves the 2 Live Troof; with singalong gems like "All I Want Is Yr Clit," "Dry Hump" and "Who Likes Ta Fuk? (We Like Ta Fuk)," da Troof did that thang, you know, where nerdy indie kids take old synth music and hip-hop beats cheesy enough to make the Chicago Bears Shuffling Crew cringe, and then they turn it all on its head to make you smile (or cringe some more)--and dance, muthafucka, dance! They jumped and screamed and did aerobic moves, and then assaulted the crowd with motivational speeches between songs--"I believe in every fuckin' one of you! You can do whatever you want and don't ever let anyone fuckin' tell you otherwise!"

Thankfully, it was all over in about 20 minutes, leaving plenty of time for wife-and-husband organ-and-drums duo Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel (a.k.a. Mates of State) to make grown men swoon in adoration of their swirling vocal harmonies and impossibly sweet sentiments, like, "I color the sky with you / I let you choose the blue." Awww! I'm telling you, each song is like a little fucking diamond with about 80 changes in tempo and melody and as many poppy hooks. With three full-length albums out, they had plenty of original material to work with, but played a ton of songs off their newest release, Team Boo, plus a couple of well-chosen covers: David Bowie's "Starman" and Jackson Browne's (or NICO's, depending on who you ask) "These Days." Apparently they just shot a video for the lead track on that album, "Ha-Ha," set to air on MTV ... so maybe next time around they'll play the Catalyst?

Upcoming

Bouncing Souls perform at the Vets Hall on Feb. 11. Sambada frontman Papiba Godinho performs at the Mediterranean on Feb. 12. St. Croix reggae superstars Midnight perform at the Vets Hall on Feb. 13. Spearhead's human beatbox Radioactive performs with Serendipity Project at the 418 Project on Feb. 14.

Mike Connor

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From the February 11-18, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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