They play 15 songs in about an hour, some are short but there are a couple longer ones as well. The band plays big songs with large hooks–a couple of listens and you are singing along with them. They perform a kind of orchestrated synth pop, and while the songs are sweet-sounding, there is more to them than just hooks.
Most of this concert comes from their 2008 album Re-Arrange Us. There’s a few tracks from 2003’s Team Boo as well. All in all it’s a great show. There are a bunch of songs on here that should be huge, they’re so catchy. But Mates of State remain under the radar. Discover them here.
[READ: November 3, 2012] First Hero
After finishing the available Beast Quest books, I learned that there was another Avantia series called The Chronicles of Avantia (four books so far). Since Clark enjoyed the Beast Quest series so much, we decided to check this one out, too.
Well, wow is it a different beast altogether. First off, the book is much bigger. Second, the words are more complicated and third, the action is much more violent. This is not your second grader’s story of trudge, trudge, trudge, defeat (but not kill) the beast and then gain a prize. Rather, our hero must avenge his father’s death before the villain literally destroys the cities of Avantia looking for the Mask of Death.
The action takes place long before the action of the Beast Quest series–so long before that they may as well not be related except for the land (although we haven’t heard of these towns either). Even the beasts are different.
The main character in this series is a boy named Tanner. He is the Chosen Rider of a phoenix-Beast called Firepos. What’s interesting is that some of the story is told from Firepos’ point of view. The main bad guy in the story is a guy named Derthsin. Derthsin killed Tanner’s father (when Tanner was 7) and also kidnapped his mother. There’s nothing too explicit about the death (except that Tanner witnessed it–yipes!) The death is revisited and is certainly uncomfortable reading to a 7-year-old. Tanner was raised by his grandmother Esme. Esme, too, is killed by Derthsin (this one of a bit more graphic and Tanner is present) and boy was that awkward.
Esme was killed by General Gor, an underling of Derthsin. Gor is looking for the Mask of Death, an actual mask that they took from Derthsin after he was “killed.” It was broken into pieces and was hidden by Esme and the mapmaker around Avantia (hence the map). Tanner heads to Colweir to find the mapmaker. There he encounters Gwen. She is another Chosen Rider, of a wolf-Beast called Gulkien. Blade has a very good voice for young people suspiciously encountering each other and I enjoyed this pairing very well.
That said there is an astonishing amount of death in the early portions of the book. Tanner’s entire home town is destroyed, and the town of Colweir is nearly wiped out as well. Firepos’ fireballs hurt individual people and, of course, there is Esme’s death to contend with. It’s a brutal book.
Once they leave the towns and chase General Gor and his men, the story settles down somewhat although there are still lots of battles.
I enjoyed the book more by the end, and since it ends in the middle of the story (after some good battles), I was intrigued to read the second book. I brought it home but Clark hasn’t asked me to read it yet. He says he liked the first book, but he usually can’t wait for the next one. We’ll see if we ever get to Book Two.