Thursday, February 11, 2016

Made in America 2014: Holy Ghost! and Pissed Jeans offer two very different takes on raging

We're halfway through Made in America day one and things are officially getting crazy.

Made in America 2014: Holy Ghost! and Pissed Jeans offer two very different takes on raging

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Matt Korvette of Pissed Jeans performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )
Matt Korvette of Pissed Jeans performs at Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, August 30, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson / Philly.com )

We're halfway through Made in America day one and things are officially getting crazy. 

Next up: Holy Ghost! and Pissed Jeans, two bands with very different definitions of raging.

Holy Ghost took the stage first at the Freedom, or EDM, Stage, which, I might add, is about as far from the media tent as possible. (Perhaps organizers think us media peeps are all too nerdy to get down to dance music... which I confess might be somewhat true [I do NOT have fly moves]).

The NYC duo filled the stage with sweet, party vibes, and tunes drawn from their 2013 record Dynamics--like unabashed rager "Dumb Disco Days," which, luckily for all,  proved exactly the opposite. "Do It Again" was a fiery explosion of flashing lights and dry ice, the band sweating and dropping lyrics, while thumping club hit "Hold On" turned the packed crowd into the post-disco mosh pit of your dreams. The band accentuated their samples and tinkering with live guitar, bass, and drums, resulting in a fuller, more dynamic sound. And while I wouldn't call Holy Ghost! a religious experience per se, standing half a mile deep in the crowd was kind of like entering an alternate reality, where the beats are smooth, the crowd unfairly attractive, and everything a little bit sexier. Not a bad combo for 5 p.m. on a Saturday.

After sweating it up at the Freedom Stage, I trekked over to the Skate Park Stage, where local punks Pissed Jeans were causing a riot of their own. The Philly-by-way of Allentown, PA foursome write songs inspired by "dead end carnal cravings and sexual depression" and are proof that just because you're old, doesn't mean you can't be punk. Since 2005, they've released four records, including 2013's Honeys, which takes on subjects like office life and "Cafeteria Food" and blasts them open with the wit and fury of 1,000,000 sweaty basement shows.

Live, the band proved just as incindiary, front man Matt Korvette twitching and shrieking like a deformed freak show exhibit while Randy Huth's pummeling bass lines were a full-on assault on the eardrums. "We just played the Coors Light Made in Canada Fest, and already this one is much better," he joked. The rest of the band proved equally shredtastic--Sean McGuinness's drums were tight and ferocious, and Bradley Fry thrashed about the stage like a wily guitar god. And while the band's aggressive post-punk jams might not exactly gel with the Top 40 mainstreamery happening elsewhere at the fest, raging to their hardcore shredders felt like the perfect release.

Punk isn't dead; you just need to know where to find it. We can't wait to hear what's next from these guys.

Philly.com Music Blogger
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