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Show review: PUP will never live up to its name 

Toronto's top punk act delivers on sky-high expectations at its sold-out HPX show.

Four-piece PUP got its name from member Stefan Babcock's grandma saying a rock band was a "pathetic use of potential." - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Four-piece PUP got its name from member Stefan Babcock's grandma saying a rock band was a "pathetic use of potential."
  • Submitted photo
Walking into a sold out show, you know it’s going to get a little wild but walking into a sold out PUP show? Wild doesn’t even begin to cover it. OUTTACONTROLLER and Weekend Friends got the crowd very warm and sweaty for PUP on Friday October 25th at the Marquee Ballroom.

Going back to its local haunts, north end band OUTTACONTROLLER got the night started like true Haligonians with a friggin’ greasy mosh pit. The four-piece band knows how to put on a classically gritty punk show.

The next opener, Weakend Friends, schlepped from America to the open arms of their fans at the Marquee. The trio is composed of  vocalist/guitarist Sonia Sturino, bassist Annie Hoffman and drummer Adam Hand. As Sturino’s fuzzed-out guitar reverb hummed out, the crowd was lulled into a psychic trance, dancing as if it was out of their control (and very much like no one was watching).

Then PUP sauntered on to the stage.

The country's biggest punk act du jour got things started with “Morbid Stuff,” of the album Morbid Stuff which dropped last April. The album’s message is that we all have issues so we all need to take care of each other and this was evident in PUP's show as well. Lead vocalist Stefan Babcock said “make sure you take care of each other tonight and treat everyone with respect. We want you all to have a good time and stay safe out there.”

Track after track, the crowd moshed harder and harder. The band started a chant of Black Sabbath’s “War of Pigs” and after the first few lines they expected it to die down—but the rowdy Haligonian crowd kept on singing. Babcock said “We have done that chant in every city and no one has gotten that far into the song than you guys have, we are very impressed.”

 After playing through “Sleep in the Heat”, “Dark Days”, “Scorpion Hill”, “Closure”, “Hi-rez”, and  “Full Blown Meltdown” the dudes were approaching the end of their set. Babcock said: “So, we aren’t going to do an encore, because we think encores are dumb. There are only two reasons why bands do encores, number one is because they have to piss—which we don’t have to do because we sweat it all out. And the second is to go back stage and do coke and we don’t do coke—no judgement—so we  don’t need to go backstage. So, we are going to play two more songs because that’s all we know how to play, then we are gonna leave. Have a great night”.

PUP then played “If this tour doesn’t kill you, then I will” and ended the night with “DVP”. 

No fussing around, no need for fans to demand them back on stage, just play a damn good show and leave it at that. Shirts were drenched, knees were scraped and beers were spilled all in the good name of PUP. It was Babcock’s Grandmother who inadvertently named the band by saying that being in a rock band was a “Pathetic Use of Potential”—and it was evident at the sold-out show at the Marquee that this could not be further from the truth. 

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