To warm up the growing crowd at Paradise, These United States (TUS) from churned out folky southern rock numbers scuffed with a bit of their own young, indie flare. Although rugged front man Jesse Elliot delivered a strong, energetic performance, drummer Aaron Latos’ authority with the drum-kit added a big-rock attitude to the young and scrappy band. As Elliot delightfully told tales like that of his “big brand new Cadillac of a plan,” J. Tom Hnatow helped the audience delve into the songs with a generous use of a sly on both his pedal steel and electric guitars. These United States were the perfect compliment to the following act. And TBT knew it. For the last three songs that TUS played, various members of TBT joined them, adding one more member for each song before the next set.
As fans squeezed together for a glimpse of the stage, lights dimmed and Trampled by Turtles opened with a quiet a bluegrass jam before transitioning into “New Orleans,” which had almost everyone singing along. The flow of Trampled by Turtles shows, as cliché as it sounds, is a sort of roller coaster. Lead by Dave Simonett on guitar and vocals, they oscillate between heart-racing strums and the sweet, sorrowful wining of Ryan Young’s fiddle and Erik Berry’s fluttering mandolin. TBT’s progressive bluegrass that has an incredible grasp of young audiences with their alternative and punk influences that make their shows so much fun to attend. TBT had fans singing and dancing along all night to favorites like ‘Empire’, ‘Wait So Long’, ‘Victory’, and ‘Alone’ as they played both old tunes and new songs from their latest album Stars and Satellites. The relationship the Duluth, Minnesota-bred group has developed with Paradise Rock Club in just two shows is something special and quite rare. As their final song ‘Again’ came to a close, the crowd was left with the final lyrics “Will I see you, will I see you, will I see you again,” hanging in the thick air. Judging by the flood of awe-inspired praise as fans poured out of the club’s doors after the show, I’d say the answer to Simonett’s final question would be a, “hell yes.”
Photo Credit: Julie Weil