A melting pot of musical acts performed this Saturday at the Project Pabst Philadelphia music festival at the legendary Philadelphia venue, The Electric Factory. With acts ranging from punk, to shoegaze and to hip-hop, fans of all types attended the annual Pabst Blue Ribbon event.
The venue was more than just the advertised music. When an attendee entered through the Electric Factory gates, they were lead through to many outdoor activities to partake in between sets. A “PBRcade” had classic games such as NBA Jam, Tekken and Mortal Kombat, while food trucks, couches, hammocks, a bar and spray painted van anyone could vandalize were also there to entertain music fans.
It took some time for attendees to shuffle into the Electric Factory, but after the sets of Thin Lips, a Philadelphia indie rock band and Lionize, a hard rock band from Maryland, a crowd began to gather for the indie rock band Speedy Ortiz. The female-fronted group played strange yet catchy indie rock that was reminiscent of Pavement at times. They played some of their signature songs such as “The Graduates” and “Raising the Skate” while fans took note of their energetic and fun performance.
The next act was in the same realm of indie rock as Speedy Ortiz. The Coathangers, from Atlanta, Georgia, are an all-female crew that leans towards punk as well as indie pop. They took the stage in all red and by the end of their set had a lot of fans taking note. The drumming by Stephanie Luke was energetic yet infectious like a punk rock version of Kim from Matt And Kim.
Big Thief was the third female fronted band. They gave off blues-y vibes at times but also had aspects of pop like the former three bands. They could be compared to another indie pop band Frankie Cosmos but for sure had hints of an Alabama Shakes.
The next act was hip-hop and electronic artist Madame Gandhi. She was a strange change of pace for the festival, as she was a lone performer, with the exception of her DJ, and played a completely different style of music. For this reason, her attendance was low at the start, lower than a lot of the previous acts. She also played around dinner time which could have hurt her. However, by the middle of her act, the young artist had a loyal crew in the front of the audience enjoying her dance style music. Due to many of the punk fans that were there, it was nice to see how many welcomed her with open arms. Her feminist music had a twist, as the former drummer for M.I.A. had showcased her talents in instrumental interludes on the drums and bongos during her set. Overall, it was a change of pace but it was needed.
The next band was the first one where most of the crowd was inside waiting in anticipation. Nothing, from Philadelphia, are a noise, dream pop and shoegaze band that made waves in reviving the genre with their most recent LP release Tired of Tomorrow. The band that combines the nineties noise of groups like My Bloody Valentine with modern alternative rock that left a very relaxed atmosphere over the Electric Factory to lead up to the final two performances. With songs like “The Dead Are Dumb” and “Vertigo Flowers,” the crowd was able to vibe even so long into the day.
The majority of the fans were there to see the Menzingers. This original headliner for the festival is from Philadelphia and is always a town favorite when in their newly adopted hometown. Coming off a tour with the Offspring and Sublime, the Menzingers have been traveling the country promoting their newest release, After the Party. The hour and a half set from the band had fans singing every single lyric emphatically. They played new songs such as “Lookers,” “Bad Catholics” and “Your Wild Years” and callbacks to their punk rock masterpiece On The Impossible Past with tracks like “Casey,” “Gates” and “Burn After Writing.” The band even had a special first time ever performance of After the Party’s closer, “Livin Ain’t Easy” before closing their set as always with “In Remission.” This was easily the most fan interactive set of the day.
Action Bronson did not really belong in this lineup on paper. With punk and indie rock acts, it was not the ideal fit. With this being considered though, the fans could not help but love Action Bronson’s infectious personality, self-confidence and flow on stage. In between signing copies of his book F*ck, That’s Delicious, he played some of his classic tracks such as “Actin Crazy” and new tracks from new record Blue Chips 7000 such as “Hot Pepper.” Bronson was an intimate performance where he would initiate every track beginning on his device and fans would instantly recognize the amazing beats and production from the big man.
Overall, Project Pabst Philadelphia was a great event. It had a piece everyone can enjoy for a very cheap ticket price. With free arcade games, food variety, beer and great music, what else could you want in a music festival?