Presidents of the United States of America + The Front Bottoms @ Rock City, Nottingham – Friday, 28th February 2014


Review by Lulu Davenport, photos by Sean Larkin

Opening the night’s proceedings at the legendary Rock city in Nottingham are American acoustic-indie-punk band, the naughtily named Front Bottoms hailing from New Jersey, United States. This tongue in cheek humour factors in their musical style as they sing songs about ill-conceived tattoos, safety pins and ball point pens. The band consists of four male members who indulge in drinking cans of Carlsberg on stage, (well its thirsty work).

The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms

Having released their fourth album last May, Talon of the Hawk, there’s plenty of material to go on. There’s a lot of support turned out for the lads. The band are difficult to sum up. The name conjures up thoughts of a female fronted punk band. The reality is frontman Brian Sella who plays acoustic guitar and a group that look like they could be in any variety of multi genre bands. Featuring harmonica, trumpet, keyboards and even a cowbell thrown in, the Front Bottoms are an ideal opening band as they seem to share the Presidents’ sense of eccentricity.

Presidents Of The United States
Presidents Of The United States

Formed in 1993 in the grunge capital of from Seattle, The Presidents of the United States of America  still feature original members Chris Ballew (vocals & bass) and drummer Jason Finn. Guitarist Andrew McKeag completes the line up. I will be honest, the only Presidents’ song I could remember was the infectious ‘Peaches’, released back in 1995 about moving to the country and the fruits that are grown there. My expectation of the gig was that it would be a drawn out experience until they dropped this tune. However, I couldn’t be more wrong. The moment the band stepped on stage, the place became swarmed with people pogoing and enjoying themselves.

The intro was a funny anecdote about the Wombles being double booked so The Presidents of the United States of America or PUSA would be playing instead. The atmosphere was electric from the opening chords of MC5 classic ‘Kick out the Jams’. The second song of the set is ‘Kitty’, a very clever song demonstrating PUSA’s song writing capabilities to their fullest potential. These guys have the ability to draw inspiration from any subject and turn it into a highly catchy tune.

Presidents Of The United States
Presidents Of The United States

The new album Kudos To You is understandably heavily promoted throughout the evening. New tune ‘Finger Monster’ is up there with ‘Lump’, ‘Peaches’ and ‘Kitty’. They also perform ‘Poor Little Me’ which has that hillbilly southern influence. With 20 years experience under their belt, the band’s tight sound is evident; s not a beat missed or vocal out of key. Clearly loving it as much as the crowd, PUSA are s a Nurse’, ‘Slow Slow Fly’ and ‘Good Morning Tycoon’.

They end the set with ‘Peaches’ to massive applause before returning to perform ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, the legendary Buggles cover as an encore. A fantastic, enjoyable show with a band who excel with original songs and showmanship – a must see tour.

1. Kick Out the Jams
2. Kitty
3. Poor Little Me
4. Some Post
5. Lunatic
6. She’s a Nurse
7. Boll Weevil
8. Love Everybody
9. Slow Slow Fly
10. Lump
11. More Bad Times
12. Crown Victoria
13. Back Porch
14. Dune Buggy
15. Good Morning Tycoon
16. Ghost
17. Munky River
18. Finger Monster
19. Candy
20. Mach 5
21. Peaches

22. Body
23. Video Killed the Radio Star
24. Kick Out the Jams

See more of Sean’s photos here;