I don’t know if I say it enough, but the owners of Union Hall have done a fine job with the Bell House. It’s a truly special space and I think everyone knows it. Every band I’ve seen play there without fail says how nice everyone there has been to them and what a cool place it is. How often do you hear that happen at Bowery Ballroom? Never.
I went to this show mainly to see These United States. I didn’t stay for the main act, Vetiver, because I’m feeling pretty sick and their performance I saw at SXSW was mediocre at best. I’ve also decided I find their latest album boring, so I didn’t feel the need to stay. I was glad, however, that I managed to stick it out for Papercuts. I’d listened to their new album a couple of times and generally liked it, and was surprised to find that their live show had much more energy and oomph than their album might let on. I was expecting frontman and main songwriter, Jason Quaver, to be some shy, reclusive record nerd for whom it was obviously painful to perform in front of an audience. What I got instead was an a-typical indie rocker, a self-assured, poorly dressed guitar player with an angelic voice. I admit I didn’t stay around for the whole set (forgive me, I really do feel like my sinuses are about to explode), but what I heard was good. I also apologize for the crappy photos of these guys. The pictures are way too noisy and I didn’t realize it when I was taking them.
Now, These United States. Their latest album came out to mediocre reviews, and while I liked some of the faster songs, I wasn’t completely sold on it, either. But, I saw them give a slam-bang performance at SXSW, and that was enough to get me out of my apartment tonight. Holy crap is this a good live band. I might even go as far to say I love their live show. These United States’ rambling Americana rock has an excitement and buzz when performed live that can’t be captured on a recording. Jesse Elliott is the perfect frontman: charismatic, beautiful, and just a little bit crazy. As sweat begins to drip down his long hair throughout the set, the band gets tighter and tighter, the two guitars, bass, slide guitar, and drums perfectly in sync. There’s something special about these guys, and you have to see them to understand it.
These United States: