The Presidents of the United States of America gave a frenzied farewell performance this Saturday night in their hometown of Seattle.
The two-hour show featured the band's bigger hits, "Lump," "Peaches," "Kitty," "Volcano," and "Mach 5," which got the sold-out crowd up out of their chairs -- some kids even took to the aisles during "Peaches," causing a bit of chaos among the ushers. Lesser known album cuts, such as "Dune Buggy," "Boll Weevil", and "Naked and Famous," also managed to get the audience to sing along at considerable volume. Even their anthem to the Seattle Supersonics was a big hit with the hometown fans at the Paramount Theater.
One song, "Mobile Home," was unfamiliar to the audience. The track will be on the Presidents' upcoming album of B-sides and other unreleased material titled "Pure Frosting" which will be released on March 10.
The Presidents also offered plenty of what front man Chris Ballew jokingly called "obligatory" cover tunes, opening
the show with their rendition of MC5's "Kick Out the Jams." Other covers chosen for the farewell spotlight: "Let's Lynch the Landlord" by the Dead Kennedys, the Beatles "Baby You're a Rich Man," and, of course, "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles, which appears on the soundtrack for "the Wedding Singer." The last cover of the night came during their encore: "This song is dedicated to that other band whose Chris quit," Ballew said as the band launched into Soundgarden's "Spoon Man."
The Presidents ended their final show with "We're Not Going to Make It," as an enormous American flag descended on the stage and Ballew smashed up his guitar in the time-honored tradition of rock legends.
The show benefited Seattle's Chicken Soup Brigade, an organization that helps people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Presidents of the United States of America, who sold over four million albums since their debut in 1995, called it quits after Ballew announced he was leaving
the band to pursue other musical endeavors and spend more time with his family. He will be releasing an album with the band the Giraffes later this month.
Ballew and bassist Dave Dederer have been playing together since 1985, while drummer Jason Finn joined the band in 1993. Of the band's distinguished monicker, Ballew told MTV News in 1996, "We were desperate for a name, so between songs I just yelled out different names trying to get something to go, like The Electric Pancakes or The Flying Dustbunnies or whatever I could come up with and that was one of 'em" [290k Audio File].
Fellow Seattle-ites the Young Fresh Fellows opened the show, and Dederer joined them on stage for a tune. Guitarist Kurt Bloch, of both the Young Fresh Fellows and the Fastbacks, returned the favor, appearing onstage for one song during the Presidents' set.