I went to Project Pabst at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia

On Saturday I went to Project Pabst at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Above is a few short snippets of Guided by Voice's set.

I rolled up to the venue at about 4PM as Rebirth Brass Band was finishing their set. It was raining. This mini-festival was supposed to be taking place in the parking lot but because of the rain they moved it inside the venue. I was fine with that. Probably better sound inside, although E.F. is not the best-sounding venue to begin with.

The only beer for sale was $4 Pabst via 12oz draft or 16oz can (see custom event can artwork above). They also had a $5 version of Pabst's other beer variety, Old Tankard Ale, which is like supposed to be a slightly better, more alcoholic version of Pabst regular (?), but which I found unappealing even in comparison to Pabst regular. (In general drinking Pabsts of any stripe for 5-6 hours straight is always a horrible idea, and it was the first time my stomach got screwed up via beer in a long time. Also note: the Electric Factory pizza probably didn't help either.)

Outside the venue they had a large tent setup with several bars, a DJ, some video art installation, arcade games, etc. Pretty sweet. It seemed really crowded out there even when the bands were playing inside.

The next band on was Beach Slang who are kind of an IT™ band right now? IDK maybe not. They're fine but not really my thing. I mostly wandered around during their set.

As soon as they were ending, I made my way up to the front of the stage for GBV, who was really the band I came to see. I would've gladly paid $50 or more to just see them play the 50-song set they've been doing since reforming earlier this year. The new lineup with Doug Gillard sound great, and while it was a shortened festival-length set, they still brought the heat. My list of songs I was most disappointed not to hear? Basically everything on this setlist from the encores on (and also "Teenage FBI"). What can I say, I love the hits.

The crowd was super into their set (moshing, crowd surfing, the whole nine), and as they were clearly one of the top acts on the bill, their 5:30 PM slot remains a mystery. No offense to Hop Along, who played second to last but the building was half-full for their set. Clearly, GBV, Animal Collective (who rightly closed) and Mac DeMarco were the draw here.

Speaking of Mac's set… Having just seen him in this same venue in May, I was OK to just chill in the back of the house and take it in. I feel like the antics and banter are such a big part of his act that he really doesn't work well in the festival setting. That's not meant as a knock, as I love that stuff; just feel he needs more time to sniff out the room, flush out the set and play more material.

The place really thinned out after his set and never really got packed again until locals Hop Along were done. I wasn't super familiar with them going in, but they were solid and sounded great. Not a huge fan of the lead singer's scream-vocals all the time though. Just chill out.

I staked out a chill spot for Animal Collective's set––center, about 20-25 heads back from the stage––so I could take in the visuals. Whereas every band before them played on the same stage with the same Pabst-approved backdrop, Anco prepared to deliver the full-on Anco experience, meaning: they were about 45 minutes late getting on. I hadn't seen them since they toured behind Centipede with a more 'regular band' setup. Their current thing is much more of an experimental, almost Kraftwerk-esque approach. Maybe it was the Pabst, but I had a hard time recognizing a lot of the tunes. I still really enjoyed it though, letting myself get lost in their vibes. The whole set kinda felt like one long vamp which culminated in the ultra crowd-pleaser, "Summertime Clothes."

Then I went home. The End.


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