You like to party, right? You probably follow Andrew W.K. on Twitter and tend to agree with his fun-loving, life-affirming quips, going so far as to retweet them regularly, am I right? Ever feel like you need more? Like, do you think you'll ever actually party with that guy? Frankly, when you pit W.K.'s shtick against that of the hedonistic gurus in Portland's Mean Jeans, it tastes a little bit like NutraSweet — whereas a Mean Jeans show tastes a bit like stale pizza crusts and warm beer. Additionally, you can party with Mean Jeans, as Mean Jeans will party with anyone.
If either Mean Jeans or W.K. is faking the funk by, say, covertly indulging in the sort of seriousness they vehemently ward off, it still doesn't matter. I still can't imagine Andrew W.K. waking up anywhere besides a Manhattan apartment in anything other than white satin pajamas. On the other hand, there's nothing I choose to believe in more than the idea that the members of Mean Jeans wake up each day at the top of a pile of empty beer cases, starting their morning with a bong rip and call out of work to start drinking.
If you think there's more to life than just partying but can't put your finger on what that is, you're in luck, for here's your answer: There's also music. There's nothing particularly new about that of Mean Jeans. Their revved-up three-chord riffs and skeletal melodies can be either dismissed or embraced as total Ramones worship in the tradition of The Queers, The Spits and contemporaries like Bad Sports and Nobunny. It by no means reinvents the punk-rock wheel, but if you take Mean Jeans' word for it, they're not smart enough to do anything like that. In that respect, their full-length debut, 2009's Are You Serious?, breaks everything that isn't fixed with a perfect platter of nasty bummer-wave rants and high-speed slacker hymns.
I've personally never imagined anything being more awesome than getting wasted in space. Hence, the title alone of last year's On Mars was itself a dream come true. The cover depicts the band huddled into a spaceship fashioned from a Jägermeister bottle, hurtling through a galaxy of macaroni toward the Red Planet — the artwork in and of itself sums up the record entirely. "I Miss Space," their latest sloppy 7-inch — a split with garage-poppers Big Eyes — is either an On Mars outtake or an indication that these bonehead masterminds aren't finished exploring the galaxy, looking for other life forms with which to party. Hell, there's really nowhere else ridiculous enough for their ridiculousness to go.
The last time Mean Jeans partied in Nashville, it was by no means their favorite show — and it was far from their best. Their van broke down in Birmingham, Ala., earlier that day. Ever the troupers, the trio rented a car, made the three-hour drive up and borrowed gear from kindred pizza punks Diarrhea Planet to play a 17-minute set for roughly as many people in a Belmont-area basement. The band repeatedly attempted to abandon their instruments in favor of the Jäger bombs waiting in their car, but one enthusiastic crowd member kept them onstage, bribing them with a flask of spiced rum until it ran dry.
The aforementioned crowd member also hopes to finish off my, um ... I mean his flask by himself this Friday night.