- by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date: Label:
When I first saw Pissed Jeans they were practically bouncing off the walls. Fast forward to 2017 and that energy is still very much intact. The band has announced only two UK dates in celebration of their recently released fifth album, Why Love Now. Luckily for me, one of those dates is round the corner at The Brudenell Social Club.
Sunday night may traditionally be the time for something more laid back. Something tells me that this isn’t about to happen. The first thing I notice when I arrive is a man dressed in a large, inflatable red costume stood at the merch stall like he’s about to take part in eccentric Japanese gameshow Takeshi's Castle. More of that later.
London based, all-female, post-punkers Es get things started. The band’s sparse and distinctive take on punk revolves around dark synth sounds, driving bass, tight drums and shouty, commanding vocals. The singer starts to lose her voice towards the end of the set, a sure sign they’ve given it their all. There’s an undercurrent of menace to the likes of ‘Everything is Fine’ and a feeling that this is a band only just getting started.
I don’t think anything could have really prepared me for the night’s next act. Led by Cumbrian-born Natalie Sharp, the London based absurdist’s Lone Taxidermist put on one-hell-of-a-show. The Brudenell’s main room starts to fill up with strange and wonderful characters. A whole gang of people dressed in brightly coloured inflatable costumes, sex-doll lips and grotesque, clown-like make up. Like some joyfully ridiculous reinterpretation of the Cenobites from Hellraiser.
When Sharp makes her way on stage she’s dressed in a bright red ‘Oops! I did it Again’, PVC style outfit complimented by some freaky make-up and a scarf-come-whip made entirely of inflated marigolds. Her presence as both a vocalist and shaman of fun is indisputably magnetic.
The music itself is wonderful; a euphoric, brilliantly sleazy and relentless wall of tribal electronica. The show comes to a suitably celebratory conclusion as the band drapes a plastic sheet over half the audience for Sharp to crowd surf over. I can’t recommend the experience enough. The only question you’ve got to ask yourself is; how much fun can you handle?
Pissed Jeans are not and never have been your run-of-the-mill punk band. Matt Korvette’s lyrics explore a tonne of areas many wouldn’t even consider. With no shortage of humour or self-awareness the band’s albums have probed into gender relations, social anxieties, masculinity, cat allergies and hair loss. Clever guys playing deliberately brutal, caveman-like punk rock.
Walking on stage as some particularly legs-akimbo style riffs play over the PA, Korvette grabs the microphone to repeatedly chant “Leeds alternative rock” and jokes that this is his new backing band. Pissed Jeans were never a band to take things too seriously. Like pro-wrestlers belly laughing at their own walk-on music.
The bands relaxed approach makes the heavy-as-sin bombardment of ‘Ignorecam’ hit twice as hard. Guitarist Bradley Fry laying down the hefty riffage as Korvette screams for all he’s worth. Eyes bulge and hairs stand up as the band ploughs into a satisfyingly heavy wall-of-noise.
‘The Bar is Low’ might very well be the ideal anthem for 2017 with its assertion that, “those we adore just haven’t spilled their secrets yet”. It is nigh-on impossible not to think about the endless stream of guilty names pouring out of Hollywood the moment. Like much of the set it feels gloriously cathartic.
The brilliantly over-the-top ‘It’s Your Knees’ unleashes one the band’s finest riffs while the excellent ‘Love without Emotion’ comes across like a more cantankerous version of The Wipers. The mind-melting ‘(Won’t Tell You) My Sign’ is pure, unfiltered sludge. With the occasional well-placed high-kick, Korvette and Fry prowl around the stage. Heads nod in approval and the sweat pours.
Every Pissed Jeans gig I’ve gone to has seen its fair share of enthusiastic moshing and stage diving. This is definitely a good thing. It’s just annoying that some people seem intent on being a pain in the arse. I’m talking, of course, about the bro’s (alpha male knuckle-draggers if you will). I saw at least one fight almost break out and genuinely wondered if they’d really ever listened to the band before. Just another example of the bar getting lower.
The rest of us have a great time though. Breaking every po-faced punk rule you could throw at them, the band even decide to throw in a cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses classic ‘It’s so Easy’. Korvette altering one of the more sweary lyrics ever so slightly as he growls, “Why don’t you just…get lost” No need for all that excessive bad language Axl. Nice guys those Pissed Jeans chaps.
They finish with an absolutely riotous ‘False Jesii Part II’. The sense of release is palatable as the whole of the Brudenell seems to bounce along. At the front but strategically avoiding the pit; it’s as sweaty, messy and thrilling as always (tonight will be my fourth time). A full ten years after first seeing them live Pissed Jeans remain the undisputed kings of punk and one of the best live bands around.
I love those guys. Great rock with a sense of humour. Interesting you mentioned The Vipers. There’s definitely a musical connection there.
Great write-up btw !
Nice review. I have yet to catch these guys live, but sounds like a lot of fun!