When I left the venue after this gig I felt I needed some kind of ethereal physician to sew my soul back together again, or maybe I needed a real-world doctor to repair the sutures in my skull that felt like they’d been wrenched apart with a crowbar.
For any other kind of band this would have been quite a negative comment, but for PUP – a punk rock band from Toronto – this should come as quite a compliment. The ‘Blink 182’ ‘skater boy’ sound proliferates the set and I think a couple of chord progressions may have been borrowed here and there, but what Pup do, they do well. The front man seems like a nerdy shy kind of guy as he gets ready to start, but after the first strike of a chord his performance explodes with such a force that the audience are whipped into a frenzy of flying beer and body parts. The energy of this fella is so spunked up and ballsy that I start to sweat just watching him, and towards the end of the show he literally put his life in the hands of his fans in the name of rock and roll and jumped off the stage backwards, guitar-in-hand, without playing a single note out of place; crowd surfing is one thing, but crowd surfing while playing the guitar is quite another.
But all that aside, the drummer was the unsung hero of this band – and the best of the night. As soon as he sat at the kit I could hear we were in for a treat, although I should admit the best treat was delivered by the band as a whole when the lead guitarist dropped into a solo that was so mad and terrible that it was genus. I felt like, what the fuck is going on here? There were flat notes and sharp notes and all this with what I believe was a few bars of a really odd time signature, making it all even more crazy and terrible. But when accents were struck within an inch of their lives and the ending was sucked from my ears like the flicking of the ‘power’ switch, I realised it was all exactly how it was meant to be; crazy, terrible, screechy, and genius.
If my doctor thinks I will be well enough to go see these boys by the time they’re in town again, I will certainly pay them a visit.
All images by Peter Dobbins