The Mermaid Lounge
The Heavenly States
November 18, 2004
We've seen your intelligent, educated kind before. Pronouncing flautist correctly and writing poetry on your webpage.
More literary punk/pop. Nothing wrong with that. The secret to the Heavenly States' proficiency was hidden by their loud music. Why was The Heavenly States so catchy? You could chalk it up to well-written melodies, but it was more than that. The smaller things--their vocal harmonies, Ted Nesseth's subtle switch from rhythm to lead guitar, violinist Genevieve Gagon's addition of a few notes onto the guitar melody to make something familiar but complete. She was the band's MVP. She added so much personality and texture to each song without sounding too Country or jammy. She made the violin sound right at home with the songs. In addition, she was a major force on the synthesizer. At one point, she punched at one key feverishly to produce the jumpy, light feeling you'd hear on a Cars album.
Good, energetic, fun music that I rocked out to with drummer Jeremy Gagon's liberal use of the crash cymbal. Bassist Matt Dickey rounded out the solid rhythm section. They were solid because they accentuated the music's many hooks while keeping a straight groove. The number of changes in three normal pop songs fit into one Heavenly State song. That's thought-out punk for ya.
I have no idea what Nesseth was singing about, but his voice and lyrics worked anyway. It was great when the band yelled out "Hey!" together during one song. Yeah, that energy. In it together. Nesseth was cracking jokes throughout the set. Some were bad, some were good. He was fighting a losing battle, though. It's hard to get anybody to speak out when there's no one there to back them up. There were about twenty people there. They gave the band much applause and a great response. I saw several people thanking and praising("You guys rocked!") Nesseth after the show. The Heavenly States deserved more people, but twenty was pretty good considering headliner Giant Sand cancelled their show.