Download “Get Yourself Home” and “West Won” | There was only one chain of thought that kept untangling in my head while I was watching These United States at Union Hall last night: I love them, I love them, I love them! When will they play here next, because I want to see them again! As much as I treasure their albums (latest is Crimes, which came out on Sept 23), the band really needs to be seen live. They get grittier, crispier, louder, and Jesse’s “weathered” voice, which easily helps sift the band out as a great amongst the goods, sounds even more magnificent in person.
The stage was alight with good energy, and frontman Jesse Elliott, whose guitar bore stain marks from his dripping sweat, was engaging and hilarious. He told us we were clean, beautiful, handsome, for which reason he was thankful to be with us, but later told us that we were quite the opposite, and later still told us he was thankful for the right reasons, that we were whatever we thought we were. Following an applause for an encore, he told us, “Shut the fuck up already” and insisted we were supposed to return it with “You shut the fuck up and play already”. When he said “You guys are dumb”, we were to say, “No, you guys are dumb”. Caught in the rhythm of this back and forth the band excitedly sneaked in, “We’re going to buy you all drinks,” but the audience only responded, “Okay“. Later at the merch table, we asked for a blue medium shirt, and, Jesse, a beaming salesman, gladly handed us the display piece along with the hanger. He seemed to think that that was the last piece, but we seem to think a box full of it possibly went home untouched; we returned the hanger.
You’ll remember our old friends The Loom. They’re headed north for Pop Montreal.
Band of Annuals went first, and though I missed most of it, what I heard was pretty good. By the way, long-haired guy (left-most in the picture below) was our excellent concert neighbor through These United States’ set. He was quite ecstatic, telling us that he had been previously unaware that they were this good. He also said people at bars don’t clap because everyone’s holding drinks, going on to demonstrate how to hold your drink with your teeth and make room for an applause.