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Presidents Of The United States Of America 18/04/2008


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Presidents of the United states of America 18/04/2008

The evening started pretty early for this gig, doors opened at 18:30, and the first act was on by about 7, which I quite like myself, I hate standing around waiting for everything to kick off. The first act was Kid Carpet who I had NEVER heard of before, although there was a few people in (mostly girls) that seemed like fans. Though the biggest (in every sense of the term) fan was right in front of me, and he was BIG with BIG hair and beard, and was going crazy from the word go! OK, it wasn't 'go', but more 'My god it's about 4 in the afternoon! As it's so early I'll start with something quiet on my folk guitar', and picked up what looked like a plastic guitar head and first fret, he then proceeded to play it by swinging his arm past it, so I'm guessing at some form of motion sensor was involved, and it produced a very 'midi' sound. Looked great, sounded less great, but was fun for novelty value. The rest of the set was less good, as he makes music in a style that I'm not a fan of. But it wasn't painful like some people I've been forced to sit through! His set was also quite short, which helped, it was about 10 minutes long!

The next act was Electric Eel Shock, who are an old school metal act hailing from Japan. They started in an impressive 'we rock! Hear us roar!' style, complete with little riffs of famous songs (such as Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man') to get the crowd roaring. They had a lot of fans in too, but again I'd never heard of them, and so felt I was missing out a bit, as there were a few songs which sounded like they would be awesome live if I knew them already... (I find some bands are better if you know the stuff before hand, not sure what it is that makes that happen, but there you go). The guys certainly put on a good show, loads of energy, running around 'rock start' jumps, the works. In fact, I'd say they were everything I would expect from a Japanese band - they all seem to be pretty crazy and energetic live in my experience (the Ploysics are a good example of that too). I was slightly confused towards the end when people started shouting 'YOU B*STARD!' but then it became a chant, and I figured it must be one of their songs, which they promptly played, with much pointing at random people and shouting 'YOU b*stard! No, YOU b*stard*. They also found time to pull off a full cover of Iron Man, although I think they played it super fast, either that or it's been too long since I last listened to the original! Good fun, a great warm up to the Presidents, as many people were jumping around to them, which always bodes well for the headliners.

Sadly, in a way, Kid Carpet made a return after Electric Eel Shock. this time around he had some more weird instrumentation, and a surprise guest! This time around he said something along the lines of 'Wow, Electric Eel Shock are pretty hardcore aren't they? Well I'll try and punk it up a bit now!' and so saying pulled out a plastic kids fake guitar and played yet more of the same style music. After that he said 'Come on Jeff, it's nearly time!', which puzzled everyone a bit, until who should appear but the big bloke who'd been in front of meat the start of the gig, and from the huge crowd response I guessed everyone else had seen him going crazy too (he was hard to miss really). He continued with his crazy dancing for a couple of songs, with much owing to Kid Carpet when the crowd started chanting 'Jeff, Jeff, Jeff'. Sadly I think that the 'folk guitar' and Jeff's dancing were the highlights of both of Kid Carpet's sets for me, but there you go.

Finally, after the obligatory set up time (and about ten years of wanting to see them!), the Presidents of the United States of America took to the stage. They kicked it off with something that rocked - can't remember what (possibly 'Tiki God'), but seeing as there's only about three songs of theirs that DON'T rock, then it's not surprising! Everyone went crazy, all the usual shoving and jumping and big grins were evident everywhere I looked! The Presidents (complete with their 3-string, 2-string and no-string guitars) looked as happy as the crowd, and were evidentially having a great time too (which is always nice!). They played all the favourites, and lots of material from their new album ,which meant that the set was 90% 1st and newest albums, with maybe 4 songs off the other 4 albums! They get no complaints from me on choice of songs though, the essentials were played ('Kitty', 'Lump', 'Peaches', 'Back Porch', 'Some Postman' - which came complete with a minute long insult for the postman in question!) and they played several that I wasn't expecting, such as 'Candy', 'Froggie' and 'Zero Friction'.

I was impressed at the speed with which Chris Ballew (lead signer/Bassitar) can talk, as in the middle of several songs he did little story fillers at super high speed, although it was hard to make out what he was actually saying for some of them, it was clear for 'Froggie' which has a little section of a list of all the drugs that froggie does backstage during a gig, before squirting toilet cleaner in his eye and dying! The main section of the set ended with 'Lump' followed by Chris yelling 'you know, I think it's about time to...' and letting the crowd scream back 'KICK OUT THE JAMS!', before launching into their cover/parody which had everyone rocking out. Like for The Hives, I was impressed again with the crowd screaming for the encore, no losers going 'they'll come back on anyway, why bother?'. When they did return they brought with them a local band called 'Bucky' (complete with one handed drummer) to do a song that they liked, followed by a little 'goodbye bucky' song. And then they got on with another few songs, including their cover of 'Video Killed The Radio Star', 'Froggie' and 'We Are Not gonna Make It', which has a new ending ,now that they have in fact made it (6 albums and over 15 years is doing pretty well I'd say!) complete with a high speed shortened version of the bands history, ending with '..and then we released a new album called 'These are the good times people, so it looks like we're gonna make it after all!'.

If it were possible I would have booked tickets for the next gig in Blighty last night... Great fun, and I can;t wait to see them again!

As usual Photos HERE.

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