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Presidents of the United States of America Win MPLS in a Landslide

Forget about the primaries! Twin City fans sing along and jump around to Seattle's purveyors of silly, good-times rock'n'roll.

Tuesday night (May 7) at Minneapolis’ Fine Line Music Cafe, a cozily packed, predominately male crowd jumped up and down, matching the onstage energy of lead singer/basitarist Chris Ballew and guitbassist Andrew McKeag (both play customized version of the conventional guitar), as the Presidents of the United States of America blasted through a high energy and just plain fun performance, defined by perfectly choreographed windmills. And the show included something quite rare at today’s rock gigs: abundant smiles radiating from the stage.

Opening the evening with a set of extremely danceable, discotheque-ready tunes, Austin’s the Black and White Years seemingly leapt out of a portal from the late 1970s. And though their music was in stark contrast to the Presidents, the band easily solicited new fans, possessed by the songs off their Jerry Harrison-produced (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers) debut.

It wouldn’t be a Presidents show, however, without classics like “Peaches” and “Lump,” though the seasoned vets also played many cuts from their new album, These Are the Good Times People, including the earthy “Ladybug,” and post-punk gem “Ghosts are Everywhere.”

Frontman Ballew commanded in a warm-hearted and fatherly way with his trademark voice, as McKeag channeled at least three guitar gods in his fingertips, and Jason Finn’s integral role as drummer pulled everything together into an experience that should be seen before underestimated. Basically, what they might lack in current radio airplay, they make up in their catalog of quirky, smart, and occasionally stupid songs. But Seattle’s Presidents are so unfailingly full-of-heart it makes them something truly special.

We Asked: In light of the forthcoming election, if you were elected President of the United States of America, what would be your first move as Commander-in-Chief?

The Presidents of the United States of America / Photo by Alexa Jones

The Presidents of the United States of America / Photo by Alexa Jones

The Presidents of the United States of America / Photo by Alexa Jones

The Presidents of the United States of America / Photo by Alexa Jones

The Presidents of the United States of America / Photo by Alexa Jones

The Black and White Years / Photo by Alexa Jones