DC United: These
United States with
The Cassettes at the Black Cat, 9/10

It wasn’t the well attended send-off for which I’d hoped, but the crowd was enthusiastic and loyal, typical of These United States fans. As Southeast Engine played their last few songs, the projection screen geared up, and my much-anticipated live introduction to The Cassettes began. Shelby Cinca is exceptional, the energy he brings, the sound… I felt satisfied. When Saadat Awan introduced “Aik Kahani” with “this is a pakistani folk song,” I knew I was getting something this evening I hadn’t wholly expected.

I then grew nervous for our TUS, as The Cassettes played an amazing set; a reunion suits them, and they would be a tough act to follow, but as itching front man Jesse Elliott began his banter and sang, “The Important Thing,” my relief percolated. I began missing them already as they played “I Want You to Keep Everything” from Everything Touches Everything. With a quick drum introduction from Robby Cosenza, the first words oozed slowly through Jesse’s lips.

“Over. Baby, we’re over that river. Our love we said was a mountain. Let your loneliness sing. I want you. I want you to keep everything.”

This type of Tom Petty & The Heatbreakers’ anthem doesn’t come very often. Everyone loves to sing along; its chorus invites you, like the closing time song of which you never tire. And, as a nod to times past Jesse invites an “old manchild,” Josh Read, a current Revival member and prior bandmate in TUS, to the stage. Not knowing the lyrics, he leaned into the music stand and belted out the harmonies as best he could. As they moved into “Honor Among Thieves,” I saw a few dewy-eyed onlookers as the fun felt in the song would soon be exported, and would no longer be an exclusive DC commodity.

We wish you well, TUS! Thanks for the years you spent with us, and as These United States shut that tour bus door (clang, click), The Cassettes open a window (angels sing). I look forward to more shows by The Cassettes because on Saturday, they burnt it down (yes, they did) and already can’t wait for TUS’ next DC visit.

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  • District Derrick

    Very well written. A good friend of mine attended the show and said the same thing about TUS. Except the words were not nearly as eloquent, they used a lot more “awesome”s and “bad-ass”s


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