BEING THERE: Project Pabst @ The E-Factory


Photo by JOHN VETTESE courtesy of THE KEY

“If you book them, they will come,” said the weird naked Indian in that one scene in Wayne’s World 2. This, apparently, was the mentality Project Pabst had when booking bands for the stacked Philly festival held at the Electric Factory yesterday. Project Pabst — which was supposed to be staged in the Electric Factory’s parking lot but was moved inside because of Hurricane Matthew — booked a variety of star-studded indie bands that put the Hollywood Walk of Fame to shame. And boy did the people come. Hop Along. Beach Slang. Animal Collective. Rebirth Brass Band. Mac DeMarco. Diarrhea Planet. Downtown Boys. Guided By motherFUCKING Voices. Say what you will about the corporate hipsters at Pabst Brewing (owned by Oasis Beverages, a Russian beer and soft drink conglomerate — just saying), they surely know how to book a festival. The highlight of the night, of course, was Guided By Voices who oddly enough wasn’t the headliner. The band went on at 5:30pm, the fourth to last band to play. Bob Pollard and company were by far the oldest guys on stage and somewhat paradoxically had the rowdiest audience, which was very, very young. The band powered through hits like “Glad Girls,” “I Am a Tree” and “Echos Myron” as the crowd moshed and jumped and scared the shit out of all the people who were mostly there to see Mac DeMarco. As extravagant as GBV was, Philly locals Beach Slang and especially Hop Along weren’t far behind. The energy on Hop Along’s set came closest of any other band to matching Guided By Voices’ set, especially during “Sister Cities” and “Tibetan Pop Stars,” the last two songs of the set. Animal Collective capped off the night with an eclectic stage layout that featured lots of avant-garde art. AC was a bit of an outlier in a festival stacked with guitar bands, and you could say the same about Rebirth Brass Band. Still, the crowd responded with enthusiasm to the diversity of the music, dancing, moshing and crowd surfing as necessary. The best part of the festival? There was almost no downtime. There were only brief 15-minute intermissions between bands, although in Mac DeMarco’s case that wasn’t enough because the band’s set was delayed due to technical difficulties. That combined with a few other delays forced the festival way off schedule as Animal Collective didn’t leave the stage until nearly 11pm, almost an hour after they were supposed to. The silver lining in all the Project Pabst festivals (there were three more in Atlanta, Denver and Portland, Oregon), all of which had killer lineups, is the prevalence of Philly bands throughout. Not only did Hop Along and Beach Slang play in Philly, but other locals Baroness, Sheer Mag and Santigold played in Denver, Portland, and Atlanta respectively, reaffirming Philadelphia’s spot on the top of the indie rock food chain. — TOM BECK