President's of the United States of America The Observatory May 22, 2013
Presidents of the United States of America
Mary Bell / OC Weekly
May, 22, 2012
Lately we're seeing a lot of '90s bands seemingly come back from the grave, or at least back into our consciousness again thanks to the almighty "anniversary/reunion tour." It was certainly the case again last night as Presidents of the United States of America cruised into the Observatory last night on Air Force One (actually, it was probably just a tour bus). Unlike most bands, the Presidents actually started their show 15 minutes earlier then they were supposed to, which, for a reporter who decided to show up early myself, was kinda nice. For the people who were only there to see their first album played it was nice to because POTS USA had started off the first part of their set with newer songs. It came as a bit of a shock how long the set was going to be but after Primus last Sunday I was ready for anything.
Right out of the gate, lead singer Chris Ballew was all over the stage. During "Tiki God," Ballew was playing with the mic and tried to get it to balance on his back and shoulder which worked for about a minute before it fell to the ground and Ballew made fun of himself. Just because there were only three members and its 2013 does not mean that they are not going to jump around in front of one another, hop on amps or any of those other trademark '90s rockstar moves. Band's are too cool for that shit nowadays. The art of jumping in the air with your instruments seems to be lost on a lot of bands but not with these guys. The crowed was feeding off of the energy that they were giving out and it seemed like it was cycle of the band giving out positive vibes along with the crowd.
When they had finally gotten to their first album, they had seemed like they were ready to play it. They had started off the first song with a boom and when it came to their FM radio hit "Peaches," the whole room erupted in a sing-a-long. It was a pit full of swaying fans with their arms in the air holding a drink I the other hand. The bounds of the stage did not exist for this band and of course with the kind of motions that they have on stage they were off stage on the giant amps that stand next to the stage at the Observatory.
The way that that theatre is set up is so that bands can hop on and off of it without the crowd grabbing at them but I'm sure either one of the members would have been shaking a few hands if someone tried to. During the song "Back Porch," it seemed like everyone was more excited to hear that tune then any other one and the response was much higher with positivity rather then any other song. They might have had a very playful tone through their show but for one song particular, "Candy," they had a more serious approach. Sure it was only like a minute of a serious tone but it was nice to see that the band did have that side to them.
The Crowd: People who were old enough to have seen the band when they came out and hipsters.
Overheard: "Did you know Oasis was from Manchester" says English guy. Friend " Yeah, man. Everyone knows that."