Toronto punk band PUP (Pathetic Use of Potential) hit the Waiting Room Wednesday (3/4) on their “Full Blown Meltdown” tour and the show was nearly sold out!
PUP has been steadily rising up the ranks over the last ten years releasing three albums including last year’s phenomenal Morbid Stuff. The band has some high profile festival appearances this spring and summer, the biggest being Coachella in April.
One of the things I love about PUP aside from their awesome music, is their sense of humor. Regarding their Coachella appearance, PUP’s Facebook page reads:
“Somehow this is not a joke. And as far as we know, whoever made this decision hasn't been fired yet. Anyway, see you at Coachella in April!”
I assure you, if you’re going to Coachella seeing PUP should be very high on your list of to-dos. PUP is also scheduled for Shaky Knees Festival, Boston Calling, and the Governers Ball. Not a bad way to spend the summer.
A four piece also from Toronto, The Drew Thomson Foundation centers around lead singer Drew Thomson and his musings on life, love, and the pursuit of sobriety. “I said I was sober, not happily sober.” Even if that’s the case, Drew’s music was shiny and uplifting, similar to Third Eye Blind and Death Cab for Cutie. You can find more about Drew on Facebook and his latest self-titled release is available now via Dine Alone records.
Up next was the three piece rock band Screaming Females. Hailing from New Brunswick, New Jersey, they formed in 2005 and cut their teeth on basement shows. Since their formation they’ve released seven full length albums and toured with bands like Garbage, Dinosaur Jr., and Arctic Monkeys. Their raw power reminded me of The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, The White Stripes, and The Stooges.
Lead singer/guitarist Marissa showcased an explosive energy as she shredded on guitar and delivered four-to-the-floor vocal runs. These guys had the walls shaking by the end of their 40 minute set. Screaming Females have a few more shows with PUP before a headline show in Los Angeles at the Bootleg Theater.
As the clock struck ten the crowd chanted PUP, PUP, PUP! and the boys from the north took the stage to furious applause. Right out of the gate PUP’s fast paced punk rock had the crowd moving. A circle pit opened up and it wasn’t long before crowd surfers starting flying overhead. I’m so thankful there was a small barricade for this show. It might seem silly since the Waiting Room is so small, but it ensured there wouldn’t be any stage diving. As if shooting flashing red and pink lights wasn’t hard enough, getting kicked in the head by a stage diver isn’t something I‘d like to experience.
PUP played a good mix of old and new material including several tracks from Morbid Stuff, but they also focused on their first album. Lead singer Stefan noted “I hope you like our first album more than we do,” before launching into ”Guilt Trip.”
In addition to fun and upbeat tunes, PUP had jokes for days. Towards the end of the set Stefan mentioned that they started the band ten years ago in bass player Nestor’s parents’ basement. “We still practice there. It’s free and they have snacks.”
Stefan went on to say that since the band is celebrating ten years they thought it was only appropriate that they play the first song they ever wrote “Dark Days.” I was really impressed when I learned this was their very first song. When I discovered PUP and went down the YouTube rabbit hole, ”Dark Days” was one of the first songs that really drew me in and made me want to hear more.
As the night was coming to an end Stefan said “Encores are stupid. The only reason bands do encores is because they go backstage and do cocaine. Now, I’ve done a bunch of stupid stuff so I’m not here to judge, just know we don’t do encores. Feel free to chant, No more songs!”
PUP closed with ”Scorpion Hill.” Clocking in at five minutes it’s the longest song on Morbid Stuff. Like many PUP songs, nestled under happy melodies lurk dark lyrics. “I‘ve been having some pretty dark thoughts. Yea, I like them a lot.” The song starts off slow but builds to a fever pitch of fast paced drums and three part harmonies that make for a perfect finale. As the final notes of “Scorpion Hill” rang out the sweaty crowd chanted “No more songs!”
Well played PUP, well played.
Big thanks to 1% Productions and PUP's management for photo access! Galleries can be found below.
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