An early review of tonight’s Presidents of the United States of America show

April 16, 2013

The Presidents of the United States of America perform their self-titled 1995 album in its entirety (all 38 minutes of it) tonight at the 9:30 Club. For many, it presents a chance to hear the songs of adolescence performed in their original five-strings-total glory. If you're attending the show with ears tuned for nostalgia tonight, it's unlikely you were there on Nov. 18, 1995, when the Presidents first brought "Lump" and "Peaches" and "Feather Pluckn" to the original 9:30 Club.


(Lance Mercer)

Other than the new venue, different opening acts and the replacement of guitarist Dave Dederer, it's unlikely much will be different compositionally about tonight's performance, so here's what Mark Jenkins wrote more than 17 years ago in the Post's Style section:

PERFORMING ARTS
By Mark Jenkins

In rock-and-roll, attitude counts for a lot, as the Presidents of the United States vigorously demonstrated Saturday at the 9:30 club. This unthreateningly punky Seattle trio may not have a full set of first-rate songs, but its high spirits and self-mocking humor were enough to sustain an hour-long set.

With two-string bassist Chris Ballew and three-string guitarist Dave Dederer both playing stripped-down instruments, the Presidents had a minimal sound that they employed with jumpy effectiveness on such songs as "Lump," their breakthrough hit. The band's bare-bones style also gave an amusing spin to a variety of incongruous covers, including the Beatles' "Baby You're a Rich Man," the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" and the Cars' "Let the Good Times Roll."

Still, the Presidents sometimes hinted at more theatrical tastes. They brought the members of Supernova, the opening act, to add "meows" to "Kitty," and summoned a (male) stripper for "Naked and Famous." With such stunts, the band bounced a thin line between spontaneity and shtick.

Alex Baldinger is editor of the Going Out Guide blog, which covers food, drink, arts, music, events and other curiosities in the D.C. area. He is forever in search of a great sandwich.
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