Being a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan‚ any chance to walk Lansdowne Street is always a delight. The smell of fresh sausage and roasted peanuts‚ thick accents sipping even thicker New England microbrew‚ and thousands of boisterous people adorned in bright red anticipating a victory. But‚ instead of taking a right and entering the gates of Fenway Park‚ I merged left and sauntered into the House of Blues.
Only in its infancy as a venue‚ the HOB shines like a new penny. Filled with trendy dressers‚ unmarked K-Swiss shoes and $6 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon (WTF)‚ the dimly lit and carefully decorated "Pottery Barn" appeal is charming yet seemingly too serious and sturdy for a band such as The Presidents of United States of America.
First listening to them while I played "Seven Minutes in Heaven" with a long forgotten girl in middle school‚ the Presidents have always represented an inner-child simplicity‚ a reality check when that necktie gets a little too tight or when worried about the status of my 401K. Every time I let one of their records spin‚ it's like finding a box of old photos and love notes in my closet. They are a time capsule of a simpler era‚ in my existence at least.
And as the punk-pop trio entered the stage‚ I felt the layers of my 24-year-old body peel away‚ till all that remained was a teenager truly excited to see an integral piece of his past come to life for the first time.
Though I initially loitered next to the bar‚ it was "Kitty" which lured me into the rowdy moshpit‚ my expensively cheap beer held high; "Fuck you‚ kitty‚ you're gonna spend the night/Fuck you‚ kitty‚ you're gonna spend the night/Fuck you‚ kitty‚ you're gonna spend the night/OUTSIDE!"
For a show that lasted a little more than an hour‚ the group never lost a step as they blasted through tune after tune from all five of their studio albums. But‚ it seemed at times the crowd viewed the threesome as a nostalgia act. Yes‚ there were numerous offerings that spanned their career‚ but the audience responded mainly to jingles from their self-titled (most-famous and mainstream) record ("Feather Pluckn"/"Lump"/"Dune Buggy"/"Old Man"/"Kick Out the Jams").

This is a sentiment the Presidents are probably used to‚ which is being a once radio savvy band now immortalized as a curious symbol of a decade now gathering dust.
I‚ too‚ had this kind of nostalgia intent driving down to the performance‚ but as they continued through their set‚ it was evident they weren't just a one-act musical entity. There were other melodies‚ other gems I'd never even heard of or gave a listen to (yet). It was as if they were telling us‚ "Hey‚ we have other songs‚ yah know!"
As well‚ there were a handful of covers sprinkled into their catalog that only strengthened the happy-go-lucky reputation of the group ("Video Killed the Radio Star"/"Dueling Banjos"/"I've Got a Feeling" > "More Than a Feeling" > "Gin and Juice" > "Free Fallin'").

Dozens of lighters were raised to the ceiling as the opening lyrics to "Peaches" spurred cheers and smiles in every direction. Chills ran up and down my arms as those who surrounded me partook in the sing-along. No matter how many times (hundreds) I hear it‚ the infamous double entendre never fails to conjure my tone-deaf vocals as loud as I possibly can muster.
Exiting the venue onto Lansdowne Street‚ I was greeted with raucous shouts‚ as it was clear the Red Sox had defeated the Baltimore Orioles. I strolled down the sidewalk and was asked‚ "who played tonight?" from more than one baseball fan.
"The Presidents of United States of America‚" I replied.
"Really? Ah shit! I didn't know they were here tonight. I didn't even know they were still around… I would have totally gone! I love them!"
And that's what it really comes down to with the Presidents. No matter who you are or what you listen to‚ this band of misfit toys crosses all boundaries and conjures emotion in ways current groups never achieve. It's not nostalgia; it's a hard-working unit simply playing for the love of playing for their fans. That trait alone is something few and far between these days.