Monday, 3 March 2014

Presidents of the United States of America at Concorde 2

If you were a child or a teenager of the nineties, there's a very good chance that The Presidents of the United States of America's self-titled debut album was an integral part of your soundtrack for the latter half of the decade. I was only ten when it was released but I remember a friend playing it to me and instantly falling for its charms. Sure this was rock music, but the ridiculously catchy melodies and surreal humour gave it a mass appeal that was hard to ignore.

Although the band's initial stint was short lived, splitting for the first time in 1998, they influenced a generation and when we finally turned fourteen eighteen and started frequenting nightclubs, those initial hits – Lump, Peaches, Kitty – were still being played and enjoyed by all of us who were nostalgically reliving the better half of what the nineties had to offer.

Fast-forward another five years or so and the reformed band were touring again, jump forward another decade and there I was at the Concorde 2 in Brighton watching them play as good a show as I've seen them put on to date. I wrote about the Concorde 2 recently when I saw Ugly Kid Joe and yet again the sound was amazing. From the moment PUSA arrived on stage belting out Kick Out The Jams, to the final note of the encore, concluding with the very same song, they had the crowd hooked.

This is a band that has kept a loyal following over the decades, which was evident from the sea of smiling faces enthusiastically singing along to every word. None with more passion than my brother-in-law who, clad in a PUSA tshirt (the group consensus being that this as one of the few instances where it's acceptable to wear a band's shirt to their show) sang every last word with a devotion to rival Chris Ballew himself!

And that said it all really. This is a band that are clearly having fun and so are their fans. They love what they do, they make you smile, and when so many bands spend their time singing about misery and heartache, once in a while – especially on a rainy Sunday night – you just want to have a laugh and hear someone singing about moving to the country to eat peaches.

I'll admit that I'm always the person in the crowd hoping to hear as much of that debut album as possible – thanks guys, you didn't let me down – but my other favourite is a little song called Some Postman, which is the epitome of their ability to combine humour with genuine musical talent. I'm also very partial to Video Killed the Radio Star, one of those rare cases where a cover version might just be better than the original! Sorry Dad, I know you won't agree....

The new album Kudos To You! (yet another Pledge Music success story), which they made us laugh by heavily promoting between songs, is actually very good and worth checking out for PUSA fans of old. Almost twenty years have passed since their debut, but seeing them peform live is as good a reminder as you'll get that despite making a name for themselves with a comical song about peaches, this band is no gimmick.



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