PUP blew my mind last year at festival Mile Ex End. Perhaps it was because they were the only heavy band on the entire weekend bill, it may have had something to do with singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock crowd surfing his way to a large rock in the middle of the crowd to perform a song and jump back into the fold, or maybe it’s just as simple as their attitude. PUP see all the bullshit negativity there is in this world and turn it into great music, and that’s something I can relate to so very well.
Montreal’s NOBRO seems to have a very similar approach and aesthetic making this punk rock quartet the ideal opening act. NOBRO are straight up an in your face raw pop punk band, but with a few interesting frills and quirks, much of which comes from the playing of Lisandre Bourdages, who adds keyboards and percussive elements (bongos/tambourine mainly) to these disgruntled punk bangers. How can the bongos not be a deterrent to a punk rock song you ask!? Just go fucking check out NOBRO, they make it work beautifully. Here I’ll make it easier for you, their single “Mongoose” is a perfect example of how a little percussive flare can work wonders in a punk song. Despite my tired ass being in the balcony, I was still able to witness the floor going nuts throughout NOBRO’s set, home town talent at its finest, check these girls out.
PUP have not lost any of their jaded angst on their latest album Morbid Stuff, in fact, its more apparent than ever. Here are a few lines from the song “Morbid Stuff” to set the mood, the song that kicked off the set “I was bored as fuck, Sitting around and thinking all this morbid stuff, Like if anyone I’ve slept with is dead.” They followed shortly with “My Life is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier” and “See You At Your Funeral,” starting to get the picture? Babcock was his usual untethered self, crowd surfing and jumping off Zack Mykula’s bass drum (points for working the drummer into the article twice!)
Behind all the bitter negativity PUP display in their songs is actually a genuinely caring and compassionate band. They had a fund set up after the show for donations going towards helping out indigenous communities and without getting overly political shed light on a situation that should not be overlooked. They also gave a nice shout out to Stomp Records, who had helped each individual member of PUP garner attention in the past when they were actually in four separate ska bands! Isn’t that a wild little tidbit of information!
PUP wound down the set by ripping into a segment of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” as the crowd took over on vocals and according to the band was the first city on the tour to actually fully make it through the first verse, you truly are a metal city Montreal. Then as Babcock wished us a good night, reminding the crowd that they do not do encores, as none of the band members do cocaine and they are stupid, they belted off “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” and “DVP” really bringing the negative angst full circle. Don’t ever stop being disgruntled PUP!
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito