Someone died crowd surfing (probably)
PUP takes Commonwealth Bar and Stage
By Nathan Kunz, Contributor
On the 88th day of their ‘Sorta Kinda World Tour,’ PUP’s opening song “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” held a certain amount of reasonability in its performance.
The Toronto melodic punks packed Commonwealth Bar and Stage on Thursday night for an evening of high energy mayhem to the sound of blaringly urgent guitar riffs and scream-your-heart-out choruses. Through a bombardment of beer cans and lost footwear, the four-piece blasted their signature sound of melded pop-punk and hardcore elements for over an hour, splicing their set with picks from both their self-titled debut as well as their most recent LP, The Dream is Over.
In performances of tracks such as “Mabu” and “Sleep in the Heat,” PUP showcased their ability to draw the crowd in with a building melody, only to throw them into chaos as they crash into a wall of sound. Songs like “DVP” and “Guilt Trip” opt to skip the build and punch into frenzy immediately. The result of the high sonic energy caused numerous fans to submit to their stage-crashing desire in order to crowd surf, an action that resulted in mixed success ratings.
Fighting through crowd induced technical difficulties in the form of a constantly swaying microphone stand and mysteriously unplugged monitor, lead singer Stefan Babcock remained positive and professional, thrashing onstage before deciding to join the crowd for the a brief moment during the last song of the set, “Reservoir.” Bassist Nestor Chumak and drummer Zack Sladkowski acted as a fail-safe throughout the night, punching through the low-end as a solid rhythm section, while joining Babcock and guitarist Steve Sladowski for gang vocal attacks periodically. Acting as a unit, the four were an unstoppable force, pounding out song after song, rarely pausing in between in order to ensure a continuation of the communal energy.
As the evening drew closer to an end, Babcock took a moment to thank the crowd, praising them for their contribution to the experience of the show while also flaring a bit of national pride, declaring his admiration of Canada. Sladowski followed the statement by earnestly asking the crowd to keep it that way by remaining respectful to one another. Though it could have easily fallen into pandering, the pleadings genuine tone tied the evening together nicely, as the tightly packed crowd cheered on the words of encouragement with a homecoming style applause.
Returning to the stage after their set, PUP denounced the now ritualistic “encore” tradition, then admitted to being “part of the problem” as they blasted into a cover of Weezer’s “El Scrocho.” The tribute led to a sweaty “end of the evening sing-along,” satisfying the stragglers who then proceeded to file out of the venue exhausted from the energetic showing.
After nearly three months on the road, PUP refused to mail it in, offering the packed Commonwealth crowd a showcase of genuine, high energy punk rock that won’t soon be forgotten.