A modest but enthusiastic crowd greeted relative newcomers, Hey Geronimo, as they took to the stage on Saturday night.
The Brisbane five-piece launched into their set with gusto, and with anthemic synchronicity, the quintet played with the clean talent and unbridled enthusiasm that’s somewhat wavering in today’s indie pop scene.
Vaguely reminiscent of The Beach Boys, they have an entertaining and energetic groove, and quirky banter that put the audience at ease and made for a fun, and eager atmosphere.
As the set closed, lead singer and acoustic guitarist Pete Kilroy called for the crowd to start their real preparations for the main act to take the stage, and roused everybody with a cover of Talking Heads classic, “Burning Down the House”.
With everyone jumping, the indie-poppers closed with an upbeat track from their self-titled EP, “Why Don’t We Do Something”.
Before long a slightly aged, but ever youthfully enthusiastic Presidents of the United States of America barreled onto stage, gleefully opening with 1997 hit, “Tiki God”.
The post-grunge pop rockers, known for their on stage antics, kept their mischief to a minimum, but gave the crowd a fun and unpredictable performance.
Flipping microphone stands around, jumping from the drum rise, and giving club security a fright by playfully encouraging punters to do away with waving light by their phones and break out their lighters like a ‘real rock concert’, everything was done in good spirits.
Despite only being a three-piece, the band produce a wide range of sounds, and each song was as full as any studio recording.
With such rich experience, and unquestionable stage presence, they were able to get away with a lot that newer bands couldn’t pull off, and broke up several songs with conversation and even an amusing demonstration of whale noises from Chris Ballew’s famed two-string bass.
After playing through several of their more recent numbers, and getting the crowd amped up and moving with 1996 hit “Mach 5”, Ballew pointed out that there hadn’t yet been an appearance from their self-titled, and arguably most famous, debut album, before announcing their intention to play the entire album start to finish.
More than what most of the crowd would have hoped for, the boys had the entire room moving and singing along as they played old favourites, starting with “Kitty” and working right through to “Naked and Famous”.
A particularly spectacular highlight was Ballew not only speaking the entire country ramble from “Back Porch”, but walking the bass the whole way through, and never missing a note.
High energy throughout, the band didn’t show their age in action, rather in their words, when they had to request a slightly tamer light show, since through the strobes they were apparently struggling to see their frets, and Andrew McKeag jokingly admitted he was slightly fearful of a heart attack.
They didn’t let anything hold them back from rocking out fully though, with drummer Jason Finn literally soaked a few songs in, but hammering hard all the way through.
Every song built on the crescendo of the crowd’s enthusiasm, and from the moment they stepped off stage, deafening cheers demanded an encore.
Humbly reappearing, and claiming bashfully they didn’t have anything prepared, the trio played a lively “Ghosts Are Everywhere”, with a special dedication to Ballew’s musical mentor.
As well-performed as any of their previous numbers, it fell a little flat for an encore, though this was likely their plan all along, as they started a musical mash-up that can only be described as a pop rock best-of, covering seven different numbers, from “Highway to Hell” to “Video Killed the Radio Star”.
Despite their age, POTUSA undeniably still ‘have it’, and the entire show was a treat for everybody who attended.