Written By | Jon Freed
Since the release of their debut self-titled album in 2014, PUP have exploded in the indie-DIY music scene. After several years of extensive touring, two more full-length records, and supporting notable acts such as Jeff Rosenstock and Modern Baseball, PUP earned themselves a headlining tour of their own.
Casper Skulls, the opening act, set the tone for the show perfectly with their own unique brand of soothing yet energetic indie rock sing-a-longs. Last year, their single, “Lingua Franca,” earned them a SOCAN Songwriting Prize nomination in 2018, building them momentum and setting the stage for them to push forward into the spotlight. Their performance was certainly proof that Casper Skulls are going to continue doing big things in the music scene.
Next, Chicago rockers Ratboys took the stage. After the release of their debut self-titled EP in 2011, Ratboys became a common name on indie tours throughout the country. Their commanding stage presence and catchy, head bop-worthy anthems made for an unforgettable, energetic performance and left the crowd full of anticipation for the headliners.
Finally, it was time for PUP to take the stage. Before their stagehands even began setting up equipment, people were pushing forward, trying to get as close to the stage as possible. Terminal West was almost instantly resonating with chants of, “PUP! PUP! PUP!” as they began setting up their gear on stage. When they finally took the stage, a deafening roar erupted from the crowd as smiling frontman Stefan Babcock walked towards the microphone.
PUP started their set off with the title track of their latest record, “Morbid Stuff.” The crowd chanted every lyric, with the opening line, “I was bored as fuck, sitting around thinking about all this morbid stuff,” completely drowned out by excited fans. As far as describing their set, the word “energetic” would be an understatement.
Not a single person was standing still at any point, with people jumping up and down, crowd surfing, and jumping off of the stage. With a perfectly crafted setlist, including crowd favorites from all three releases, it was safe to say the crowd was completely satisfied. Prior to the release of “Morbid Stuff,” PUP opened a challenge for fans to write their own cover of the single, Free at Last, with nothing provided other than the lyrics and notes of the song. One participant, who goes by the name Skatune Network on his Youtube channel, recorded a ska cover of the song, including trumpets, trombones, and reggae chords. He attended the show at Terminal West, and PUP brought him on stage to play trombone for the song. With such an engaging and energetic performance, PUP left no question as to why their tour had sold out nearly every date thus far. These Canadian rockers left nothing to be desired, and will undoubtedly be selling out shows for years to come.
Photo Credit: Jon Freed