It was a snowy night in Canada’s arctic…Oh, wait, it’s just Barrie. Despite the chilly flurries and slick roads, a great night was had in the cozy confines of the Clarkson Pub. As if a rug by an electric fireplace, a nice tall glass of Guinness, and some of the best poutine I’ve had in a while wasn’t enough to warm us up, we had PUP in store for us so we knew it would get sweaty soon.
Hometown regulars, The Socials, warmed up the crowd first. The pub had not filled in yet, but they drew in the stragglers with their melodic punk anthems. The boys never disappoint, although frontman Noah remarked they had not played in a while. It’s good to see them back in their element. Sean’s fills and rolls kept the head bobbing to the harmonious riffs.
As an eager, virgin listener of Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots), I was not let down. I was impressed with their no nonsense pop-punk style, especially when playing songs with such relatable titles as “Asshole Pandemic”, which is about fighting neighbours, and “Whiskey”, about drinking whiskey. In the formerly mentioned song, the drummer, Dave, dropped his stick towards the end of the tune and had to finish Def Leppard-style, which is actually a testament to his skill as he pulled it off nicely. Although it was my first time seeing Pkew(x3), I felt I could sing along with the lyrics already. Songs like “You Gotta Stop Calling Us”, “Chief”, and lyrics like, “Let’s order a pizza, I gotta eat something before I throw up,” will be with me for days. Pkew(x3) is easily one of the most fun bands I’ve seen in a while, and that is saying something.
As if seeing The Socials and Pkew(x3) wasn’t enough, PUP was up next. This was the second to last show of their six week tour. Moshing by the fireplace was getting hot and messy, but the rug gave us much-needed traction, and it really tied the room together, too. They played all or most of their self-titled album, dedicating “Dark Days” to Hooters across the street. Songs like “Mabu” and “Factories” were clearly crowd favorites. They even performed one of the worst renditions of ‘Happy Birthday’ for a crowd member, remarking, “We actually had to practice playing it that bad.” These guys are one of the most exciting bands around – the perfect blend of rawness and melody, and they know how to have a laugh. They closed with “Reservoir” during which the singer, Stephan, surfed on the limited amount of crowd available to lift him.
It was a great night and totally worth the icy drive. PUP is a must-see act, as are The Socials and Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots). I would recommend everyone make an effort to see these bands.
Written by Jarod Semple
Photography by Sarah Semple