- by Andy Brown Release Date:2012-11-26 Label: Island Records
It's good to know that in a world where the worst kind of shite can become inexplicably popular that there are still plenty of people who will get behind a decent band when they see one. An air of expectation has hung over tonight's gig, it is one of only two UK shows that Pennsylvanian punk band Pissed Jeans are playing. As if this wasn't reason enough to venture to the ever tasteful Brudenell Social Club, tonight's support comes from Leeds psych-rock trailblazers Hookworms.
Tonight, Hookworms are exceptional. They build up layers of kaleidoscopic sound, drone and noise-drenched psychedelia before throwing themselves head-first into the soaring 'Away/Towards'. If there is a better set opener than 'Away/Towards' than I haven't heard it. From then on, their 45 minute set is one continuous wall-of-sound.
Reverberating drones blend into the hypnotic riffs of 'Form & Function' and the serotonin-releasing wonderment of recent single, 'Radio Tokyo'. All those Wooden Shjips/Spacemen 3 comparisons seem hopelessly unhelpful as Hookworms are well and truly their own unique entity. They deliver a euphoric, cathartic and all-embracing performance. Then again I wouldn't expect anything less.
It seems like we're only seconds in and already Pissed Jeans vocalist Matt Korvette is half-dressed and strutting the length of the Brudenell stage like some punk-rock reincarnation of Mick Jagger (can you be reincarnated if you're still alive?). The band relentlessly tears through song after song, tracks from this year's Honeys LP sounding like old favourites. At one point, Korvette tells us they don't believe in practice; that just wouldn't be honest, he tells us.
If that really is their approach than it seems to be working. Pissed Jeans play a genuinely exciting set which refuses to go through the motions or settle into a well-rehearsed carbon copy of their recorded output. It's live and it feels that way. My god, surely this is what punk music is all about?
We get a head-nodding, crowd frenzying version of 'Romanticize Me', an explosive 'Bathroom Laughter', and a suitably pulverising version of Hope for Men classic 'Fantasy World'. Korvette is a great performer too, at one point draping himself in the American flag like some drunk, high and unhinged Bruce Springsteen. Unlike some of their contemporaries, Pissed Jeans sense of humour is well and truly intact. A Pissed Jeans show is spontaneous, explosive and, most importantly, a whole lot of fun.
There's plenty of crowd surfing going on, some making their way on to the stage. Bradley Fry gives his guitar to a girl dancing with Korvette and she plays along to the rest of the band as they close the evening in a hail of feedback and riffs. The drummer then crowd-surfs over the out-stretched arms of the Brudenell crowd, hugging a grateful fan as he makes his way back to the stage. And grateful he should be too; Pissed Jeans have just played the best gig I've seen all year.