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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Presidents of the USA at the Paramount, Saturday

posted by on March 17 at 13:24 PM


Words and photos by Morgan Keuler.


I wasn’t a big fan of the Presidents in the mid and late 90s. I definitely didn’t dislike them, and sure their hits were enjoyable, but as a whole they never really resonated with me. Maybe their sound wasn’t congruent with what I was listening to in the era of anger and angst. It was all just a little too FUN/QUIRKY/CAMPY, and certainly not as “meaningful” as what Kurt, Layne, and Eddie were singing about. Maybe I’ve mellowed a bit or can just appreciate something for what it is, but PUSA clicked for me on Saturday night at the Paramount.


Ballew and crew flew through their main set, but interspersed their hits instead of saving them all for the end. It was one of the most active pits and loudest crowds I’ve seen or heard at the Paramount in a long time, and PUSA rewarded them with many a sing along even though is wasn’t really something most of the crowd needed to be prompted to do. The ‘sing alongers’ even knew a fair amount of the material off the new album, These Are The Good Times People, which has only been out for a week.


To fill out the festivities for the CD release show the band was accompanied by a three piece horn section for “Sharpen Up Those Fangs”, “Lump”, “Flame Is Love”, and “Deleter”. “Kick Out The Jams” finished the main set with the band and crowd reveling in a balloon drop.



Upon returning to the stage, the band was soon joined by a fourth member, who’s probably not much older than four, Henry. The son of newish PUSA guitarist, Andrew McKeag, played with the leftover balloons and donned a Gibson twice his size to strum with dad.


The encore bookends of “Bad Times” and “Not Going To Make It” punctuated the meaning of the Presidents - regardless of what they’re singing about, with irony or not, when they play, it’s a few thousand person party. Now, I certainly won’t say I’m a zealous convert, but it’s hard to refuse the effusive joy the Presidents put into their music and shows.


Words and photos by Morgan Keuler.

RSS icon Comments


I had so much FUN FUN FUN!!!! thanks to you for a nice review of the show and the people of Seattle for being like family!!

Posted by chris ballew | March 17, 2008 2:40 PM

Thanks Chris, it really was fun to just sit back and watch you guys and a few thousand friends and family go crazy!

Posted by MK | March 17, 2008 3:18 PM

I loved the show, the opening bands were just as amazing, but what's up w/ those ticket master prices?

Posted by Jergens | March 18, 2008 8:31 AM

Chris Ballew blew my mind at the Showbox Orchestra Morphine show a buncha years ago. Much, much respect.

And Andrew McKeag is awesome.

Posted by john | March 18, 2008 10:47 AM

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