These United States were on first. We arrived a little late, due to some ordering issues at The Cheesecake Factory (we tried to get a Hawaiian pizza with no bacon. And then it showed up on the table with ham instead of the bacon which defeated the purpose of getting no meat on our pizza. And I hate sending food back but we did it and I apologized profusely to the waiter and I think he thought I was daft for trying to apologize for his mistake. But in the end it was good pizza. Really good pizza). At first glance, I thought there were too many guitars on stage, and was confused by the incongruities in the band. There were three guitarists, one who looked like a scene kid, one who looked like a mellow indie kid, and one who belonged in the Dropkick Murphys. The bassist had very curly hair. The drummer looked like a jock. But then they came together to make music and it was great. A kind of mellow vibe. And they all played their instruments well (the bassist being especially good). Then the irish punk looking guitarist sat down. Behind a steel guitar. And the scene kid started playing these great notes and the indie kid kept jamming on him acoustic and the drummer kept on pounding and it was great. There was an almost country undertone to it all. I liked "Honor Amongst Thieves" as well as "Get Yourself Home." It was really good stuff.
Next up was Jenny Owen Youngs. She and her band futzed around on stage for a while. Then, she opened her mouth, and the voice that came out was not at all what I was expecting. She reminded me a touch of Fiona Apple, mixed with maybe a little bit of Jewel’s softness, but her songs were mainly of heartbreak and sadness. They were sung with a solemn, intimate feel, and she at one point asked the lights to be turned down because “I don’t need a spotlight; no one needs a spotlight.” She sang “Fuck Was I” and then commented that instead of her normal emotional reaction to performing it live, she was at the time struck with the feeling that maybe she could have resolved the issue with a little less swearing and a change of attitude. She wasn’t what I expected, and her music isn’t quite my cup of tea, but it was enjoyable and I truly feel that once the music world at large gets wind of her, she’s going to be huge. Her voice was made to fill arenas and sound out through car stereo speakers.Then, Jukebox the Ghost joined the band on stage. And let me tell you, there were a lot of people on that stage. There were multiple tambourines going. And lots of guitars, and I was afraid it would get messy and too much but it was great. It was 8 people jamming together and having fun and I wanted to just dance and swim in the music forever.
Sometimes music makes me really happy.
Jukebox the Ghost was on next. There were songs about the antichrist, songs about the apocalypse, and songs about love. They tried to make us boo and hiss at one of their new songs, but the crowd forgot and cheered instead because how could we not? They make such amazing music. They had a few problems (the intro to Victoria was a little squishy, but they all laughed about it so it just made them all the more endearing). We ended up standing right in front of the pianist, Ben Thornewill, who has a crazy stage presence and does amazing things with a piano (if you want to hear music so gorgeous it will break your heart, his myspace is the place to go). We could see Tommy Siegel, the guitarist, through the crowd. I still feel that his voice is amazing live, and I love watching him play the guitar, because unlike many other current guitarists, he can really play it, and well. Finally, in the back on drums, Jesse Kristin just had fun. He smiled through the whole thing and banged around with a tambourine and threw things in the air and had so much energy and happiness that the entire crowd could feel it. They all have fun on stage and I love it.
They mentioned taking some time off from touring and recording, and I'm split between being broken hearted that I won't see them live for a while, and overjoyed that there will be new music. It was a great show, the kind that reminds me why this is the world I want to live in forever, if only the music keeps playing on and on and on.