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Originally published March 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 17, 2008 at 11:40 AM


Amid old songs and new, Presidents, fans feel right at home

The Presidents of the United States of America just want to have fun in Seattle.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Presidents of the United States of America show at the Paramount Theatre Saturday night was a bit of a homecoming. From a reporter's perch in the wings, it was like finding the "Cheers" bar — where fans knew every word of the songs and even the band's children took the stage.

It was good to kick things off at home before the band went on tour, said frontman Chris Ballew.

Before the concert, families and friends crowded backstage to give hugs. Ballew's son asked if he was going to do the usual intro. No, answered Ballew, before dashing out on stage.

The band introduced the songs off their new album, "These Are The Good Times People," like "Sharpen Up Those Fangs," "Truckstop Butterfly" and their first single off the record, "Mixed Up S.O.B."

But they didn't shy away from playing the hits that made them big back in the mid-90s like "Peaches," "Kitty" and "Video Killed the Radio Star."

Seattle has always been home for the pop-punk band; leaving has never seemed to cross their minds.

This is a band that has said it would continue to live and make music here as long as it was fun, and this spirit was clear in the show. The three musicians — aged 38 to 42 — jumped and jived for almost two hours, with a lot more energy than openers Pleaseasaur and U.S.E. that were nearly half their age.

Ballew also got down into the crowd twice — first while playing "Peaches," and second after the show to shake hands with fans.

To add to the whimsy, The Presidents all matched — black slacks with different colored dress shirts (red, blue and yellow) with coordinating black and white Adidas sneakers. And, guitarist Andrew McKeag's toddler also joined the fun, coming out with a guitar and plucking along.

Then, like a true party, balloons came down for the finale. Band members stomped on the balloons and some of their children came out to take some balloons as souvenirs.

If the rest of the tour is this fun, The Presidents will be around for a long time.

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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