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These United States

It was the World Cup, and Portugal had either just finished playing or was just about to start. Or, maybe, it was Spain; either way, St. Laurent Boulevard was honking. They asked where we were taking them, These United States, and we remembered that we had never filmed anyone in front of the church, all while crossing our fingers that a convoy of supporters didn’t on a whim decide to come praise their team.

We waited for them at Casa, but they didn’t come; they were stuck in a traffic jam. When I was in Paris, this rarely happened. Bands took the train, and even if they came by van the distances were much shorter. Canada is an enormous country, and often bands would have to get up at 6 am to be in time for a 5 pm sound check. So, we ordered nachos, hoping that we weren’t on time for nothing. They arrived without a hint of irritation, smiles from ear to ear, fairly cool for guys facing the impatient staff of Sala Rossa an hour late.

We headed to James’(My People Sleeping), where the small interior courtyard – built, the neighbour explained, on the former site of a Masonic temple – had unusual acoustics: everything said at ground level resonated all the way to the upper levels, but what was said up high couldn’t be heard below; so, on the way up to James’, I asked John if they had already been to France. Once, he told me, with Jesse, it was too expensive for more than two of them to come. They had played at Flèche d’Or, and John asked me if I knew of Vandaveer; they played together that night. And it came back to me: oh, right, they were the ones who had accompanied Vandaveer on the Take-Away Show that I had missed working on.

The band needed to get back to Sala for their sound check, but wanted to squeeze in “Water and Wheat”, a song off their new album, so they took their time, rehearsed, joked around, and found spots amongst the disco ball, the barbecue and the plastic Santa Claus mask. I’m ready when you are, guys.

What Lasts , the fourth album from These United States, has been available since July 20 here or there.

Translated by Tara Dominguez

myspace.com/theseunited

theseunitedstates.net