Pissed Jeans played ONCE Ballroom – 2/25

pissedjeans-1Allentown, PA’s mighty Pissed Jeans returned to Boston on Saturday night with support from locals Phantom Rides. 

Pissed Jeans craft a singular variety of noise-punk that evokes the 80s and 90s genre greats they’re most frequently compared to, but bears an acerbic sense of humor and cosmic absurdity that renders them distinct. Vocalist Matt Korvette most frequently hurls his invective at targets like premature hair loss, office culture and healthcare as his bandmates churn out a bludgeoning racket behind him.

The band doesn’t tour often, but when they do hit the road, it feels like they’re making up for lost time. Saturday night’s set was a barrage of Korvette theatricality and steamrolling noise that left ears ringing and bodies slightly worse for wear, in a good way. The show was part of a brief weekend run of shows in support of the just-released Why Love Now?, and we got a selection of new highlights including riff-y lead single “The Bar Is Low” and the sludge-punk firestorm “Ignorecam.” The band also knows full well where the strengths of its back catalog lie: “Health Plan” helpfully urged us to stay away from doctors, and “False Jesii Part 2” fulfilled its duty of sending the crowd into total pandemonium (I had my glasses and both earplugs knocked away after approximately 30 seconds).

Boston trio Phantom Rides offered a more subdued but sonically well-suited opening set, focused on dueling lead vocals and fuzz-drenched guitar.

Shooting Notes:

ONCE’s muddy mix of LED lights makes kinetic shows like this pretty challenging, and not so pretty to look at in color. I stuck to ISO 6400 on both camera bodies for Pissed Jeans and wound up going black and white for the whole set. I could/should have lit some of these myself, but was having a little too much fun to dig out my flash and try to protect yet more gear from the pit.

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