Friday Night Rock to open Winter term with Mates of State

by Chris Mah | 1/26/05 6:00am

After a brief hiatus at the end of Fall term, a revamped Friday Night Rock will kick off Winter term this Friday with a show featuring Mates of State, the San Francisco-based husband and wife duo making waves on the indie rock scene.

The show marks a dramatic turning point for Friday Night Rock.

"We've modified our focus this term for Friday Night Rock," said general manager Monica Morrison '07. "The emphasis is going to be placed less on having shows every Friday and more on bringing in higher-profile bands -- bands that people have heard of, bands that people like, bands that will get people excited."

Acquiring Mates of States was a giant step in that direction. The band, which features Jason Hammel on drums and his wife, Kori Gardner, on organ, has released six albums that have earned them high praise from the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Live performances have been received with even greater enthusiasm. Their simplistic two-piece instrumentation is filled out with dueling vocals, inventive rhythms, and catchy melodies that allow for a broad range of sound and color.

"There's no doubt that Mates of State will put on a great show, but we're also really excited about several other bands that we've booked," remarked publicity manager Meli Garber '08. "The Wrens will be playing a show in February as well as Xiu Xiu in April. These are the biggest names we have booked to date."

With three high-profile bands committed to play this year, Friday Night Rock appears poised to draw large turnouts. Mates of State will be the first of what promises to be a star-studded lineup of shows.

"It's been our experience in the past that students will come out to support bands that their friends are in, and they'll come out to hear big-name bands, but attendance really drops off when we invite a lesser-known band with no Dartmouth connections," Booking manager Don Stewart '06 explained. "That's precisely why we adopted this new setup. We're simply playing to our strengths by channeling our resources into really high-quality shows."

"We're really excited about our lineup for the remainder of the year," Morrison said. "We're thrilled that we were able to acquire three really well known bands so quickly. Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of a regular trend, and we will be able to continue booking high-profile groups."

Friday Night Rock will also continue to showcase campus bands, including crowd favorite Reaction Speaks, who will perform in February. Another show featuring several campus bands is tentatively planned to end the term.

"Friday Night Rock was created with the purpose of providing campus bands with an outlet for exposure. That outlet will always be available. Our investment in booking higher-profile bands is not going to change that priority," said financial manager Brendon Bouzard '06.

One aspect that will change is that shows will no longer be held exclusively at Fuel.

"We're going to make a real effort this term to place bands at venues that will best accommodate their styles," said Stewart. "Hopefully, extending Friday Night Rock shows to Greek houses will give us more flexibility and maybe even attract a different demographic of students who might not ordinarily attend. It's a matter of recognizing that different bands require different environments."

Mates of State will perform at Fuel this Friday at midnight. The later show time was adopted in favor of the previously regular 9 p.m. slot in another attempt to introduce variety into the Friday Night Rock routine. Free alcohol will be available for students of age.

"The later show this weekend will give people a chance to get their night started before coming to see a great band and still leave them plenty of time to head back out after it's over," Stewart noted. "It's an ideal way to break up the night with some excellent music and a relaxed atmosphere."

"It was always our goal to make Friday Night Rock grow and evolve," Stewart agreed. "Ultimately, we want to give Dartmouth a reason to get fired up about rock."

Music samples from Mates of State can be heard at www.matesofstate.com or downloaded on iTunes.