Lansdowne Street was a sea of red as Sox fans rushed into Fenway on Friday night, so my friend and I found solace in the House of Blues restaurant.’ We studied the eclectic paintings lining the walls,’ while splitting the best sweet potato fries I have ever had. I was anxious for the show to begin. My older brothers listened to the Presidents of the United States Of America when they made it big in the 90s, so I’ve been singing along to ‘Peaches’ and ‘Dune Buggy’ since before I hit double digits.
We entered the venue early and listened to the opening act, Oppenheimer, a two-man band from Ireland who played to a mostly empty room. The up-tempo music and unconventional lyrics were entertaining, but did not attract a crowd. Because there weren’t enough people to absorb the sound waves, our chests rattled with the vibrations of the empty hall and the end of their set was certainly welcomed. As if they received a memo we didn’t, PUSA listeners didn’t show up until the last minute.
Like any good President, PUSA appeals to all kinds of people and the House of Blues was filled with an array of fans. I recognized classmates standing beside younger children and their fathers. There were teenagers rocking braces and a few slightly washed-up hippies. The energetic Presidents hit the stage playing songs like ‘Bad Times’ and ‘Ghosts are Everywhere’ from their latest album ‘These are the Good Times People’ and classics such as ‘Lump’ and ‘Feather Pluckin.’ The band members’ energy was contagious and the crowd danced, jumped and sang along. Guitarist Andrew McKeag kept smiling, clearly having a good time onstage, while lead Singer Chris Ballew mentioned his love for Boston, calling it his ‘second home,’ a place where he wrote many hits, including ‘Kitty.’
One of the last songs of the night was my all-time favorite ‘We are not Going to Make It.’ Playing the song almost two decades after writing it, the ironic lyrics encompass everything I love about the band. Their lighthearted attitude ‘-‘- and willingness to poke fun at themselves ‘-‘- brought out the best in everyone at the House of Blues, who easily united under a wave of mutual love for the Presidents.