PUP @ the Cobalt – November 21st 2016

Riding high after a year of acclaim, PUP dropped by the Cobalt on Monday night to lay down their brand of punk rock to the sold out venue.

PUP, a Toronto four-piece band, is currently on tour for their sophomore release The Dream Is Over. Canadiana-punk may be the best way to refer to their sound: lyrics referring to the Don River and the Yukon, friendly demeanor, acknowledging the joy of seeing Tim Hortons after months on the road.

Their outrageously energetic stage presence was at home in the dive-esque venue and reverberated immediately through the crowd. From the first song — “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” — and onward, there was nary moment when fists and feet were shot skyward. The band left very few opportunities for energy to fall, making their (relatively) small catalogue seem much more significant.

On a technical level the band was tight and showed no exhaustion despite this being the third month of touring — perhaps a second wind inspired by their return to the homeland. Stefan Babcock’s vocals were strong and piercing. His commitment to the performance: unrelenting. Nearing the end of the show, Babcock leapt into the crowd and finished the set off while suspended above his devout fans.

In a move rarely seen, but greatly appreciated, PUP explicitly denounced the contrived nature of the (pseudo)encore and instead played a finale — full bore — before leaving the stage. Let’s hope that their upward trajectory continues, as these cordial Canucks deserve every bit of praise coming their way.

Words and photos by James Mager

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