A mix of light rain and resolute sunshine led to a rainbow over Brooklyn while These United States was playing. Back home this kind of weather means a fox wedding. It was kind of perfect. Lots of people were out. Someone lent me a towel to wipe my wet chair with. That was nice.
Here’s a music video I made for These United States‘ “Honor Amongst Thieves”, which premiered last week. In addition to live and candid shots, it features a few crafty scenes of theft we shot in Park Slope, Brooklyn, before their show at Union Hall that night.
Watch in full screen mode
You can catch a free performance at Prospect Park’s bandshell when they open for Dr. Dog on June 27th, 7pm sharp.
Day 5 in Austin was March 21, 2009. The morning began with a ride to the northern part of the eastern town, where five members of Balmorhea, an instrumental six-piece from Austin, were waiting to play a few songs for our video series, Secret Garden.
Day 2 in Austin for me was March 18, 2009, which was the first official day of SXSW. After much determination that I wouldn’t make my daily plans around bands I already like, I went to see Drink Up Buttercup’s 2PM set at Beauty Bar anyway. Pretty & Nice were playing when I got there.
Admittedly, I’m not familiar with every single band involved in this year’s SXSW festivities, officially or unofficially, though I did listen to well over two hundred bands I don’t care to listen to ever again. Unlike them, the list compiled here includes twenty performers I think are most worth seeing, and for free, no less; as far as I know, all of them are either playing unofficial shows, or plan to play whatever last-minute gatherings that come their way.
A lot of great bands play with their hearts laid out on the stage, and while that much is blatantly obvious in These United States, what’s especially true for singer Jesse Elliott, and what I generally find to be rare and unique, is that he seems to stomp all over his own laid-out heart and crush it until its sufficiently crushed–or so it feels like when you see them live; because there’s never a doubt that the entire band is attuned to translating of all that self-combustive energy into an unforgivingly awesome performance, even when some of the members are especially drunk! These shows aren’t really about how refined the sound is, though, nor are they about the most intellectual beats: they’re an experience that’s best mirrored by some of our most primal bodily expressions without which we’re unable to have any meaningful existence, really, and without which things like progress and innovation are worthless: blood, sweat and tears! Which is probably why anyone who’s paying attention, and whose soul isn’t in a deathly shape, goes home blown away by performances from this band. And if they ever become massively successful, I hope that these are the three things (blood, sweat, tears) they never lose grasp of–it’s like they’re made of solid dirt and that’s where it’s at!
Download “The Bottom of the River” by Adam Arcuragi | The best time I had during my trip to DC was when These United States played a last minute, unannounced show at IOTA in Arlington, Virginia. It was the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, and one of the bands scheduled to play was unable to get into the city because of blocked highways–so they filled in. It turned out to be one of the funnest shows I’ve ever been to: they got into a highly festive mood, playing with some of their friends before playing their own laid-back set. Adam Arcuragi was one such friend–what?! If you haven’t heard this man’s voice, you must. I’d been totally unaware that he was even in Arlington for a show that night, it was an awesome surprise. And though nobody seemed to know if Mark Charles of Vandaveer was even showing up after having been somewhere in a foreign country, Vandaveer was playing, too–what?! The best-planned unplanned show in my history of concert-going. What’s more, Tom Hnatow of These United States played the pedal steel for every song from all four bands that night: Rose, Adam, Vandaveer, and finally his own. Drummer Robby Cosenza played a few songs less, but he barely left the stage either. Onward for video!
hooves on the turf is a mostly-music blog based out of brooklyn. i can be reached at hoovesontheturf [at] gmail [dot] com - please send me your lovely music as an attached mp3 or an mp3 link. if i like what you send, i'll be sure to ask for more.
Aqua: Love TEEN. Man they can sing. Cool. Different.
Suraj Joshee: Sarahana, Loved the video. You captured the simple raw essence of the music and band really really...