These United States — which actually hail originally from two states, New York and North Carolina — are currently on tour with Trampled By Turtles. Both bands land at Webster Hall tonight, April 17.
The geographically-minded band led by Jesse Elliot releases a fifth eponymous album on June 12. After finishing their tour with Trampled By Turtles, they'll hit the road with Heartless Bastards in May.
TAS asked These United States if they'd blog about their tour journey, well, across several states leading up to their New York show. Brand new bassist Anna Morsett kindly obliged and recruited Lindsay Giles McWilliams to take photos:
Day 0.5 – April 9th 2012
Tour begins! Well, almost. We arrive in Minneapolis for a few days of serious rehearsals and a little show with our dear friends The Poor Nobodys and Silverback Colony at Cause Bar. Oh, the Midwest. Everyone is so nice, I don’t know what to do with myself. My face hurts from smiling and we’ve only been here a few hours.
Day 1 – April 10th 2012
More rehearsals, a steady stream of jokes from Tom and Jesse (“What’s worse than biting into an apple and finding half a worm?” Ask Tom for the answer ....) and my face still hurts from smiling. Later that evening Trampled By Turtles (TBT) plays a packed show at 7th St. Entry and a few of us hustle over to catch their set. I’d never seen them play before and was eager to see just what was in store for us this tour. It was a ruckus! With the crowd belting out lyrics and thrashing around it almost felt like a punk show. TBT fans dance like they’re at a rave, yell like they’re watching their favorite sports team win and hug each other like they’re at a family reunion. I can’t wait to get this tour started.
Day 2 – April 11th 2012
First show with TBT at the renowned First Avenue in Minneapolis. The show is sold out! One load-in/sound-check later and we’re backstage writing out our set lists and listening to Erik Koskinen and his incredible band open the night to a densely crowded house of 1700 enthusiastic fans. They kill it and even though we’ve barely seen the crowd you can just feel their energy oozing through the walls of our little green room. Soon enough we are on stage for a 45-minute blur of playing, sweating and singing. It’s exhilarating; the crowd is unbelievably excited and dancing up a storm. A few TBT members join us on stage for our last three songs and the energy escalates even more. Unreal.
While we’re loading out after our set, the mayor of Duluth (where TBT is from) and the mayor of Minneapolis come out of stage to congratulate the band and THEN crowd surf! Both of them! They launch themselves off the stage, over the photo barricade and into the crowd. What?!
Day 3 – April 12th 2012
Early start and we drive to Madison for a live acoustic set for a radio station before our show at the Barrymore Theater. Also sold out! Such a cool old theater; the ceiling even has little blinking lights in it that look like stars. During the show Aaron, our drummer, and I just keep smiling at each other like we’ve won the lottery. Afterwards we drive a few hours back to Chicago, Tom and I bond in the back seat over banana chips and stories of our past romances. Jesse drives and is our hero. Sleep sleep sleep.
Day 4 – April 13th 2012
We awake a little outside of Chicago and make breakfast and a new merch box/set-up before heading off to a live video/audio streaming set for Audiotree Live. We laugh as we sweat under bright lights and the gaze of four moving cameras while playing and answering questions like, “If we were any other life form what would we be?” Tom says he’d be a cat, Jesse says he’d be himself in a parallel universe, Justin says a tree (we decide that Tom could hang out in his branches), I say I’d be a sea creature, or a unicorn, or hell, how about a "sea unicorn" which makes me feel like I’m 12 and Aaron says he’d be fungi. At the end of one of our songs the DJ yells out, "Funky Vaudeville Explosion!” which has since become one of my favorite tour quotes.
Off to the Metro for tonight’s sold out show where posters line the walls of the legendary bands that came before us. The show is probably one of the best we've played thus far - each time we play we just get tighter and tighter. I get in Tom’s face and dance like a maniac.
Day 5 April 14th 2012
Only Day 5? 7:30am and we're moving towards the edges of the rust belt. Several hours and a few rest stops later and we arrive at Mr. Small’s in Pittsburgh, a beautiful old church converted to venue about 10 years ago. Lindsay, Jesse and I experiment with the venue’s outdoor grill where the chef is a madman with sauces – all are extremely delicious and extremely spicy. After a few small bites my lips and belly are immediately on fire, tears bud up in my eyes and the hot, sweet, honey badger sauce dribbles from face and hands while I lurch around for the relief of a beer. Once the fire’s out, I join the rest of my bandmates and other members of TBT to work through a new cover to end our set with.
The night ends in serious band bonding on the TBT tour bus with Erik Berry and Tom bonding over their mutual love of the Grateful Dead while Molly (TBT’s guitar tech) and I bond over guitar geekery and quotes from youtube videos.
Day 6 April 15th 2012
Talley-ho to Canada!! Hangovers in tow we venture north to Toronto to play at Lee’s Palace for the rowdiest and most wild crowd that we’ve encountered yet. And on a Sunday night no less! One particularly enthusiastic guy felt so “inspired” he actually forced his way on stage in the middle of our final song. The tiny stage could barely hold all of us, (including our TBT guest stars) and our new fan jumped off the six-foot stage in hopes of crowd surfing but landed instead face first on the concrete. Audible gasps from the crowd, while all of us on stage try to hold it together through Steve Earle’s “Steve’s Last Ramble”. We watched him stand up, wobble for a bit and then exit with his wounded pride and injured limbs. AND as he left a little fight also broke out and I think someone lost a few teeth. Wow, Canadians, who would’ve known?! Our green room was located above and to the side of the stage so we had an incredible view of the TBT set and THEIR wild crowd. More crowd surfing (successful this time) and near moshing as TBT whipped them into a thrashgrass frenzy. People dancing and yelling and holding one another, people on each other’s shoulders, bottles falling and someone even passed out . . . ? Happy but exhausted we tumble into bed. Day 7 –
April 16th 2012
Ten hour drive to NYC!
These United States
These United States Tour Dates with Trampled By Turtles:
4/17 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
4/18 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
4/19 - Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
4/20 - Washington, DC @ 930 Club
4/21 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
4/22 - Charlottesville, VA @ The Jefferson Wed
4/25 Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern* Thurs,
4/26 - Maumee, OH @ The Village Idiot*
4/28 - Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theater *w/o Trampled By Turtles
(dates below with Heartless Bastards)
5/11 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
5/12 - New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
5/15 - Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
5/16 - Orlando, FL @ The Social
5/17 - Gainesville, FL @ Double Down
5/18 - Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
5/21 - Charleston, SC @ The Pour House
5/22 - Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm and Brews
5/23 - Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie's
5/24 - Bloomington, IN @ Bluebird Nightclub
5/25 - Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
5/26 - Iowa City, IA @ Gabe's
5/27 - Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
5/29 - Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre