Published Nov 12, 2009Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, suffering from what he described as a "serious case of the brown bottle flu," took the stage solo without his backing band. The previous day in Seattle, Robinson and his group had suffered the ultimate casualty of a touring rock'n'roll band: their van broke down.
Soldier that Robinson is, he offered stripped-down takes of his gentle folk rhythms with palpable indie sensibilities. The crowd bore witness to a seemingly nervous young man displaying his honest talent, with no one to lean back on. Along with the beautiful originals, covers such as an up-tempo "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" showed off his soul-infused harmonies.
It was a perfect set-up for These United States and their jovial, boozy alt-country set. Their three-guitar assault resulted in Wilco-esque jams and a scattered yet ridiculously enjoyable vibe. Lead singer Jessie Elliott made frequent use of the crowd, hopping in and leading many a stomp-along. Playful banter between These United States and the crowd kept the night afloat, but their ingenuity and prowess did not go unnoticed. During a sombre number, a harmonica solo from drummer Robby Cosenza brought the other members of TUS to their knees in admiration.
By the end of the night, the dance floor was packed and the crowd was raucous. One concertgoer remarked, "It would be sweet to be able to dance by myself in front of people without caring. This band does that to people." While he never did get up and dance, the sentiment stands as a testament to the power of These United States.