Abby Elizabeth Schachter for Curtains Up
Pup never disappoints. Seriously, this band never ceases to amaze me. What did surprise me was that the December 1st Montreal show hosted by BSTB (Blue Skies Turn Black) was sold out both online and at the door. I had no idea that this post punk Ontario band had such a big fan base in our franglaise, poutine induced, and progressively metal city. That’s right folks, Canadian punk is still alive and well.
The show openers were Gulfer and you could tell these guys have been seriously influenced by I kill Giants… These local Montrealers were recently signed to UK indie label, Big Scary Monsters and they put on a real tight performance. If you like post punk, math rock, inner turmoil, harmonized yelling and anthems you will love Gulfer. Check out their bandcamp because my words for describing music is not doing them any justice and make very little sense.
Pup an suspected acronym for ‘Pathetic Use of Potential’ are originally from Toronto Canada and the members consists of four childhood friends. Seriously, these guys went to elementary school together, became friends, realized that they were all somehow musically gifted and formed a band that didn’t suck or break up over bruised egos or a girl. They also initially wanted to name the band after the Boy Meets World character, Topanga but that’s a different story for another time…
Pup has really made a name for themselves these past few years and lot of it has to do with their perfect balance of charisma, stage presence and creative musical compositions, it is hard to compare them to another band. Pup has even garnered attention, nominations and awards from various Can-con outlets like: SOCAN, Juno Awards, CBC and Polaris, who usually tend to go for alt/rock and hipster tunes.
The Album and Other Stuff
Their first album – self entitled: PUP, was released in 2013 and that was around the first time I saw them perform live. It was during POUZZA Fest and the venue was Foufounes Electronique, they did a Beastie Boys cover and shook the fucking house down (swearing is necessary.) It was the highlight of the festival and they even blew one of my all-time favorite punky can-con bands out of the water, that’s right… Move over Flatliners, PUP has taken over.
Pup has been on tour for days, weeks, months promoting their latest album The Dream is Over. The tour is called: “If this tour doesn’t kill you, I will.” Lead singer Stefan Babcock said that it was their “93rd day on tour, or something like that but who’s counting?”
Pup’s energy level was, is sub-human…Their liveliness is contagious and their ability to create weird hypertension pumps up an audience like mad! So much so, that by the time PUP played the first chord of the first song, fans were already diving off the stage, leaping headfirst into the pit. I’m going to quote a Jamiroquai song now just because I can. Virtual Insanity.
That was basically the entire show. The crowd was completely insane, singing along to to new and old songs and loving every single minute of it.
I saw a lot of people completely soaked in their own sweat by the end of the night, it was gross but kind of awesome at the same time because Sala was so freaking cold when we arrived. In fact I wore my winter coat until halfway through the show and sipped my chilled beer with gloves on.
So Much Moshing
Babcock is by far one of the most entertaining front-men in the Can-con music industry, and he really knows how to work a crowd. The last time I saw him perform he jumped into the mosh pit and crowd surfed while singing into his mic, not missing a single bloody beat. This time around it was no different.
Nearing the end of the show, Babcock ran out of whisky and announced that he needed a shot, politely and half-jokingly warning the audience that he wanted the crowd to carry him to the bar halfway through the song. The time came and Babcock calmly fell back into the pit, as if he were easing into a lazyboy chair, and was carried off to the bar by a swarm of fans! He got his shot, downed it and was ushered back onto the stage. His feet never touching the ground. It was pretty awesome and I think Babcock was impressed too. Nothing screams success like being carried about by your avid fans.
The crowd did not want the show to end and so they put up a fight and Pup came back onstage to play a couple more songs. Babcock admitted that Montreal has been a ‘hard city’ for them in the past, but they thanked the sold out venue and audience for making the night so great, after they bashfully did the whole “merci beaucoups” the show ended.
After The Show, SO Much Sweat
I bumped into some music biz acquaintances and friends after the show and everyone was just so hyped up and happy, it was ridiculous; in a good way. Everyone I spoke with was tipsy, smiling, and yell-talking about how awesome the show was. For a lot of Montrealers this was their first Pup experience and they could not get over the performance.
When it comes down to it, Pup is a really hardworking group and they appreciate their fans. They don’t slack off during a live set and always engage the crowd and participate in the fun even if it is their 93rd day on tour, and they are running low on snooze and booze.