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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Presidents of the United States of America Metros Fremantle 2013 Live review

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

METROS FREMANTLE

 

16 MARCH 2013

 

 

Remember The Presidents of The United States Of America? No not Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, I mean the band. Yeah those guys, that goofy 3 piece band with the cool 2 string bass guitar that frontman Chris Ballew plays as a guitar singing about peaches, cats and bugs. Yep, now you know who they are! No they never really went away. After the 90's during the peak of their success, the band briefly broke up but were back almost immediately with another album, and subsequently 2 more great albums afterwards but they never regained the popularity that they enjoyed in the 90's with such hit songs as Lump, Kitty, Bug City and Mach 5. But that doesn't mean they didn't put out quality material, in fact the albums they did since then are some of the best material they have ever written. And they proved that even further on Saturday night at their show in Fremantle when they performed not only their hit songs but the ones most people probably didn't know about.

 

 

Doors opened early and it took a good long time before most of the crowd filtered their way into the venue. Because of this surprisingly relaxed situation, I found myself a great spot on the rail in front of the band. After the opening act did their short but funky pop rock performance, the band, also known as PUSA made their way onto the stage and after a short stage banter between the band members, launched into "Tiki God" off their 2nd album "II". "Bug City" followed and then it was a string of songs off their more recent albums which again, most people probably didn't know too well. "Flame Is Love" which is off their latest album "These Are The Good Times People" was a definite highlight of the night and a sure surprise to many hardcore fans. One of the best songs on the album, the band played up to it's old rag time theme and was likely a winner amongst the fans. A couple more newer songs and then classic "Mach 5" ended the first part of the show. What came next was what EVERYONE was waiting for.

 

 

 

 

It was announced before the tour started that the band would perform in it's entirety, their 1993 debut self titled album, at every show in Australia in celebration of the 20th anniversary of it's release. It always gets me every time but whenever an album is coming up to it's 20th anniversary, I cannot help but think in disbelief that it was 20 years ago that the album was out. 20 years! Not only was this a special occasion for the band and for the fans but probably a good gimmick considering most fans seem to really only know the first 2 albums that they put out, especially this one. Of course, every song was played, in the album order so I won't go into details about what was played but without a doubt, "Kitty", "Lump" and "Dune Buggy" were highlights and brought the relatively sedated crowd to the brink of a full blown moshpit, complete with crowd surfers and all! A wonderful sight to see and a huge nostalgic feeling overwhelming everyone, myself included.

 

 

 

 

At this point, after all the hoopla had died down a bit, I thought about the details of the show itself. Not only did the band sound amazing but they pretty much sounded exactly as you would expect. Nothing had changed, nothing was lost as far as sound and skill and all that other technical stuff. Chris Ballew's voice was exactly as is on record, his stunning 2 string bass guitar sounding bizarrely fantastic and still to this day, amazing what he has done with those 2 strings and that wonderful buzzy "bassitar" sound. Drummer Jason Finn, another original member still in the band, keeping the whole thing together with his funky beats and simple but effective drum parts. Andrew McKeag, who joined the band in 2004 on guitar, also did a great job, adding his own touch to the classics and throwing in some cool solos.

 

 

The band came out for their encore set, jamming on a bunch of parts from some well known cover songs including "Spoonman" (Soundgarden), "Highway To Hell" (AC/DC) and some other well known Aussie songs before launching into their own cover song "Video Killed The Radio Star" which was probably their last big hit on the radio. A few more songs from their more recent albums including "Ghosts Are Everywhere" ended a great rock show from a great band. I encourage any fan who only knows their 1990's classics to go check out their later efforts, they have not lost anything, still retaining their trademark sense of humor, catchy hooks and  great rock songs overall. Let's hope a new album is not too far off in the future.

 

 

words by Andrew Schizodeluxe and images by Paul Hadlington

 

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA LIVE REVIEW FREMANTLE MARCH 2013