This past Sunday was a night of vindication and reward. Rainer Maria and Mates Of State, two bands who I absolutely love, were touring together. Not only that, but they were playing a show 45 minutes from my college. Not only *that,* but the show was free of charge [thanks to the fine folks at Knox College], and was being held in the coolest place ever for a show - the Gizmo. The Gizmo at Knox College is just a coffee shop with no real stage to speak of, and when they do shows, the bands just play on the floor right in front of you. It's very intimate, and very cool [see my review of the Dismemberment Plan show last March for more proof]. So as the six of us arrived [after reeling in shock from seeing an actual tour bus parked outside], we settled in for what looked to be a kickass rock show.
Of course, before we got to the asskicking part, we had to sit through two opening acts - one of which was acoustic hippy jams, the other a Mineral ripoff with more uptempo songs. Neither group announced their name, and to be frank I couldn't care less, as my mind was focused on the two headlining acts.
Mates Of State set up first, as the crowd quickly rose off their feet and gathered in front of the poppy organ-and-drums duo. The band played for close to an hour, incorporating much new material into their set [including an absolutely haunting song that sounded like some sort of evil carnival ride with lots of "ha ha ha"s incorporated] as well as old favorites such as "Proofs," "Hoarding It For Home," and my personal favorite "La'Hov," which Caithlin from Rainer Maria came out to dance to. It was highly amusing, to say the least. Watching Jason and Kori croon to each other behind their respective instruments is so heartwarming, it's hard to not fall in love with them while they're playing. The Mates tied up their set with a cover of a Nico's "These Days" [most well known from the movie "The Royal Tennenbaums"], which I believe is on their upcoming split 7" with Dear Nora. I had been waiting to see this band again since June of 2000, and they most assuredly did not disappoint. As the applause faded and the organ got packed up, the crowd thickened with anticipation for the band seemingly *everyone* was there to see - Rainer Maria.
Okay, it's time for me to gush - I love Rainer Maria. I've loved them ever since I first heard them, back in 97 or 98. Sadly, I have never seen them live, missing show after show due to random conflicts. So like I mentioned earlier, this show was vindication for me. Rainer Maria were nowhere near as good as I thought they'd be - they were better. Kicking things off with a sick rendition of "Long Knives," my blood pumped along with my fist as I belted out lyric after lyric right into Caithlin's face [remember, there was no stage so I was standing literally right in front of her]. The band then went on to rock me and the rest of the crowd senseless for a good hour, pulling material from as far back as 1999's "Look Now Look Again." Sadly, we didn't get the classic "Tinfoil" off their debut "Past Worn Searching" LP which apparently Champaign and Chicago both got, but I'm not bitter. Why?
BECAUSE I GOT TO SING "THOUGHT I WAS" WITH THE BAND, THAT'S WHY.
Sorry, I went into gushing mode again. But seriously, it happened. Apparently Caithlin took notice of me singing along all night, and during "Thought I Was," she spun the mic around to me and made me come up and sing. No joke. It was a trip.
I've given up on trying to make this review sound professional. All I can say is if you appreciate talented, innovative music, there is no reason why you should not be attending this tour. You can thank me later.
RAINER MARIA'S SET LIST
Mystery and Misery
Hell and High Water
Contents of Lincoln's Pockets
Thought I Was