It's primary season and many politicians are claiming that they'll bring the country together. You know what I'm taking about. It's the "I'm a uniter, not a divider" thing. Politicians can't deliver on this because the nature of politics is division, disagreement, and rancor. (please take note of the Potsy comma in that last sentence)
Fortunately, good music is not like politics (shitty music is a different story). Good music actually does bring people together. For example, many people credit Reagan for the fall of Communism. Wrong. It was Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Gorky Park (see photo), Motley Crue and the others bands that played Moscow Music Peace Festival. 80's glam metal did more to spread democracy than Reagan ever could. Hold on. 80's glam metal sucked. It was terrible. That kills the whole premise of my argument. Ah, screw it. Enough of the history lesson and back to the review.
My favorite thing about These United States is their appeal across Rock Club. So far, three of us have seen them and all three are on board. Even the Wives of Rock Club (WORC) enjoy seeing them live. It's rare we all come to the same opinion on a local band.
These United States are the sort of band I expect to see when the Mrs. and I move to Austin next year. Their mix of rock with alt-country and bluegrass influences seems more at home in Austin than here in DC. I may be wrong. Ken, my good friend and Austin native, can address that better than I can. What I can tell you is these guys are one tight band. They've played over 300 shows. They display a versatility most bands can't match. Prefer stripped down lo-fi Americana? They can do that. Want a toe-tapping romp you bounce and dance to? No problem. Need a ramped up song where all five guys rock out? Done and done. These guys have more combinations than the First Citiwide Change Bank.
Their versatility was on display Saturday night. They played slow and quiet and then fast and loud. They even played a cover, "Can You Picture That?" by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (we love a good cover). It's not exactly a holiday song, but it does include a shout out to Santa Claus.
I found it interesting they opted not to play "Business". It's perhaps their most recognizable song (it gets lots of play on Internet radio). They didn't play "First Sight" either and that's likely to be the first single off their debut album, A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden. Perhaps the band doesn't get caught up in self-promotion and just plays the songs they like best. Of course, I like those two songs so here's hoping they make it on the set list the next time we see them play. Speaking of which, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to see These United States play at Iota. They can handle a larger space such as the Black Cat but a smaller venue would make for the ideal viewing experience. We'll have to keep an eye on the schedule so Potsy can see them play. If he gives the thumbs up, These United States will receive four stars from Rock Club, which is quite a rarity.
Oh, I almost forgot to rate the show. I give These United States a Rock Club Rating of 7.4.