Spacing Out to Spaces at Public Assembly
Unsound Festival - LXMP & Peaking Lights

These United States at Webster Hall

By Melissa Caruso

Jesse use
Jesse Elliott of These United States, Webster Hall, Tuesday 4/17/2012

On Tuesday, rock quartet These United States, comprised of boys from both Brooklyn and North Carolina, played Webster Hall, teaching New Yorkers a thing or two about American roots. The band, fronted by Johnny Appleseed descendant Jesse Elliott, captures every aspect of Americana, be it outlaw country, folky narratives, or pure rock 'n' roll - and at Webster Hall, These United States' rambunctious delivery was ripe for fans both below the drinking age and over the hill.

Dressed in a red flannel, newly-added bassist Anna Morsett fit right in with the boys, hooking into pockets with Robby Cosenza (drums) and Justin Craig (guitar/keyboards). With four records under their belt, the band had plenty of material to run through; tranquil ballads revealed the softer side of Elliott's songwriting, while the more upbeat rockers nipped at the audience's heels, as in "I Want You to Keep Everything." It's the kind of song that ends and leaves you wanting to hear it all over again. 

Intrepidly testing waters, the band successfully played new songs off their forthcoming self-titled album, which includes collaborations with Deer TickBen Sollee, Langhorne Slim, and many more. "Let the River In," a gem of a track, left you wanting to know every chord and lyric as soon as possible. Fortunately, These United States was on presale at the band's merch table. "You can buy a compact disc," Elliott said from the stage, "or a sweaty hug!" Which, of course, led a fan to requesting "Two sweaty hugs!" (Check out the album teaser below.)

On the last three songs, Trampled by Turtles, who later headlined, joined the stage where fast-plucking banjo and mandolin made you want to reach for another drink, or someone to dance with. (More on that show here.)