100 Club – August 19th
There are very real concerns that someone could lose a limb thirty seconds after Pissed Jeans ignite the fuse of their 100 Club show on Wednesday night, as frontman Matt Korvette catapults himself across the stage with a flying kick that almost takes someone’s head off. Welcome to a Pissed Jeans show. Having played 24 hours previously to what Korvette describes as a “typical London Tuesday night crowd,” the energy is feverish as the band lift off, everyone immediately piles to the front in a frenzied fit. Korvette’s pulled into the pit less than two songs in, his cries of “hold on a minute,” lost as the arms engulf him. It’s ridiculously brilliant to watch – the fun literally permeating from the crowd in beaming smiles and flailing limbs.
Once he’s back up and thrashing around again, what unfolds in the next fifty minutes is one of the most unhinged and unforgiving live shows that’s worthy of a top spot in the 100 Club’s long-running history. Chaotic yet meticulously controlled, Pissed Jeans are never shambolic. Instead, they turn the volume up to the max before ripping through a set that spans all four of their records, plus what Korvette describes at one point as “not even a song”, which turns into a scene more akin to a fucked-up ritualistic rain dance. There aren’t any adjectives good enough to describe this band – they’re hypnotic, mesmerising, spellbinding – but not in the conventional sense.
A lot of bands try to do what Pissed Jeans do, but witnessing the real thing just goes to show how many of them barely even come close.
A lot of bands try to do what Pissed Jeans do, but witnessing the real thing just goes to show how many of them barely even come close. The secret ingredient? Unpredictability. At one point, Korvette gets topless and wraps his belt around his chest, often attempting to lick someone before ultimately handing them a mic. At one point, guitarist Bradley Fry tries to fix his gear as people do their best to pull him into the pit, yet he uses the opportunity to do push-ups – he’s just going with the flow. At any point it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen next. There’s hardly a moment’s pause in the entire set – the entire band are too busy causing chaos, from Fry’s intoxicating shredding to Randy Huth and Sean McGuinness’ disgustingly good rhythm section that invokes serious regret in anyone without earplugs.
When it all comes to a head – just after Korvette makes a speech about how crowdsurfing is out and that personally, he prefers lying down when he’s really enjoying a band – Fry throws his guitar on the floor and the bass follows suit. Korvette’s having none of it though. Drummer Sean McGuinness seems high on adrenaline, becoming one with Korvette’s seemingly never-ending screams that resonate so perfectly with each other that even the full-throttle moshers haven’t a fucking clue what’s going on. After a couple of failed cries for the others to return, Korvette doesn’t give up – he simply brings it all to a close, disembarking in sweat having satisfactorily rocked out and weirded out everyone in the room, leaving us all dizzy with delight.