Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: The Natural State at the Plaza Art Fair

I was mesmerized the first time I heard "Indian Giver," the first track on the Natural State's Live Demos offering at Bandcamp.  The authentic joy captured on the hazy recording possesses a striking level of sincerity.  Who were these people, I wondered, and could they possibly conjure a similar sort of elusive earnestness on stage? 

I'm delighted to report that the Natural State met my expectations when I saw the band perform on the Ink Stage at the Plaza Art Fair yesterday.  The Natural State is more or less just as I'd imagined- three young women and a guy on cello.  And my goodness- they were absolutely adorable!  Playing with the guileless enthusiasm of children, the quartet's disheveled set was unprofessional in the best sense of the word.  I never stopped smiling.

Don't get me wrong- I still find today's wimp- twee folk-rock movement led by Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons distasteful, but on Sunday, at least, the Natural State transcended the genre.  Not even a Mumford cover broke the band's sweet spell.  Darn right, I'm smitten.


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I reviewed T.J. Martley's new album at Plastic Sax.

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Midwestern Audio Vol. 1, a new compilation of 41 area acts, is available as a free download.  Artists responsible for my favorite tracks include Cowboy Indian Bear, Diverse, the Conquerors and the Empty Spaces.

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Kendrick Lamar's current hit "Swimming Pools" sounds like a Strange Music release. 

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The unrelated video doesn't do anything for me, but Aesop Rock's "ZZZ Top" is a smart analysis of popular music's role in teen rebellion across generations and cultures.

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Kansas City Click: Mark Lowrey performs Monday at the Blue Room.

Franke Valli visits the Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Tuesday.

Mono plays the Riot Room on Wednesday.

Will Nick Lowe play my favorite pub rock song Thursday at Knuckleheads?

(Original image of the Natural State by There Stands the Glass.)

6 comments:

Gary said...

Rockpile's Seconds of Pleasure has to be one of the most perfect albums.

Happy In Bag said...

You know what made it perfect when it was released? Both boys and girls loved it.

Do you have the companion 45?

Devon Russell said...

We, The Natural State, say thanks for such an encouraging review!

:)

keep up with us here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/the-natural-state/382257168481310


devon
& TNS

Happy In Bag said...

I can't wait to see you guys perform again, Devon.

Devon Russell said...

The Natural State just released our debut album, "warmest winter" .. feel free to reconnect with us/your experience of TNS! thanks again for the review!

http://thenaturalstatekc.bandcamp.com/album/warmest-winter

http://www.thenaturalstatekc.com/warmest-winter.html

devon

Happy In Bag said...

Hey, Devon- I mentioned the new project here. I'm looking forward to spending time with it.