Show Review: Pissed Jeans At Lee’s Palace

By Adam Bernhardt

It was once said that the best thing that Black Flag ever did was play live, in both the sense that they blazed a trail within the hostile American interior that other punk bands could follow and that their live releases were far superior to the lackluster production of their later studio work. While Pissed Jeans have not suffered the burden of creating an underground hardcore infrastructure or released woefully under-produced albums, they capture the spirit of the violent attack of Black Flag in their captivating live performances. But Pissed Jeans do not succumb to mere imitation, rather they draw on an immense pool of influences which includes elements of post-hardcore and sludge amongst their squalling noise rock, all of which was apparent in their show at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace.

Pissed Jeans (2)Opening with “Bathroom Laughter” from their new album Honeys, Pissed Jeans played a set of anthems new and old, but for the most part drew on their recent critically acclaimed album. Songs such as “You’re Different (In Person)” and “Vain in Costume” gained a new edge on top of their already visceral potency as they were shouted within inches of your face.  Singer Matt Korvette alternated between prowling the stage menacingly and flailing about wildly, often ending up flat on his back amongst the fallen mike stands and broken beer bottles that littered the stage.

Often the humour of Pissed Jeans is lost amongst their sludgy aggression, but they lived up to their reputation when Korvette picked up a bass guitar stated that we should all “share the joy of watching [him] relearn how to play “Come Out and Play” by the Offspring”, and proceeded to play the first 10 seconds of it before launching into “Vain in Costume.” At the end of the set, Korvette placed the microphone into the back pocket of the guitarist Bradley Fry and proceeded to sing the last song into his butt.

The audience was at times confrontational, as one boisterous member of the crowd took to ridiculing Korvette’s decidedly unpunk scarf. Korvette stated that this individual “should have no friends.” Though for the most part the patrons were receptive to the band and created an intense mosh pit, which lost me a shoe for at least one song. Pissed Jeans definitely proved themselves worthwhile and lived up to their reputation.

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