While you were studying and working on finals, we went to a Pissed Jeans show
How do you balance out a climate chiefly arbitrated by the edicts of exams and the demands of obligatory and meticulously moderated studying that comes with it?
Immersing yourself in disorder and sensory overload seems like a worthy opposite. An energy release would probably be welcome. So we ventured out to Toronto’s Lee’s Palace to check out Pennsylvania and Sub Pop's post-post-hardcore offerings, Pissed Jeans.
Pissed Jeans are excess incarnate, and that’s all thanks to the alienated nine-to-fiver perspective they approach their subject matter from. They serve up a post-hardcore that is a commentary on itself, and even that comes off as jaded and tired of its source material, at most times poking fun at it – kind of like students narrowly self-flagellating themselves by browsing through relatable Internet memes.
That’s why, while the rest of campus was embedded in the eighth circle of hell reserved for those studying for finals when they’d rather be leaving town to get an early start on summer vacation, we hopped on a bus and checked out Pissed Jeans at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.
Opening the night were Toronto’s own Neon Windbreaker, offering a performance that was more physical and engaging than could ever be expected of a band playing to such a clearly indifferent and lacking crowd. Trading off instruments throughout the set, they delivered a blend of desert rock, noise, and hardcore that ended with an unexpected and inspired cover of Sloan’s “The Good in Everyone.”
Reminiscent of a scene right out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when Pissed Jeans were up, frontman Matt Korvette entered the stage with a tuck and roll that ended in a triumphant arm raise. He proceeded to philosophize on the opportunities the venue lent itself to for segregating patrons of different relationship statuses, only to be interrupted by taunts from a fan (either all too familiar with the band’s sense of humour or just totally oblivious of it) whom loudly expressed his dissatisfaction with the singer’s scarf.
Korvette pretended to be hurt and wished everyone a warm welcome (“Except that guy”), and the band kicked its set off with “Bathroom Laughter,” the opener to its newly-released LP, Honeys. The set proceeded with material divided mostly between that album and its forerunner, King of Jeans (and of the tracks off KOJ, single “False Jesii Part 2” proved a significant crowd pleaser).
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Like an Iggy Pop that has to wear (and iron) shirts for a day job, Korvette provided his signature snarling vocals while dancing, grinding, and otherwise terrorizing his band mates as they tried to fulfill their occupational requirements – guitarist Bradley Fry, bassist Randy Huth, and drummer Sean McGuinness’s instrumentation sprawling across songs that rely on (but aren’t limited to) post-hardcore, drone-y sludge, and even Santana-esque psychedelia.
By the time Pissed Jeans were approaching their encore, Korvette had worn a tear in his jeans that ran from the crotch to the seat. Instead of prompting the demanding chanting and clapping of an average concert, Korvette walked off early enough to return just before the rest of his band left the stage and then launched into a special “storytelling portion” of the band’s set. He told of the first song he ever learned on bass (apparently Offspring’s “Come Out and Play”) and played the riff. Then, as he was joined by the rest of the band and Huth reclaimed his instrument, Pissed Jeans performed a longer portion of the song, transitioning into “Vain in Costume,” and finally “Boring Girls.”
Korvette rang out the finale by placing his microphone in Fry’s back pocket, yelling the end of the song into the guitarist’s denimed rear. Then it was thank-yous and goodbyes. What else could you expect from Pissed Jeans?
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