Words: Arthur Willis
For a sound so deeply rooted in punk, PUP are a band that go above and beyond to provide impeccable musicianship and attention to detail, all the while providing incredibly catchy and relatable anthems. With a career spanning nearly a decade, headlining the Electric Ballroom certainly feels like a peak for the band members. Frontman Stefan Babcock eludes to this, half-joking, “It’s only downhill from here”. Their 3rd LP – and most critically acclaimed – Morbid Stuff, has taken the band to new heights, expanding their fan base from a core group to a demographic concerning everyone and anyone that’s got something to be pissed off at. And you can feel that in the room.
Watford four-piece Nervus wake the crowd up with their blend of hyperbolic emo and pop punk, setting the tone with impassioned words on current affairs and social responsibility, leaving 1300 or so fans feeling suitably angsty to create a raucous.
With PUP’s first strum of the sadistically righteous banger, ‘See You At Your Funeral’, the crowd quite literally erupt. Chaos descends before the band can finish the first verse; arms flailing, mosh pits moshing and the atmosphere ecstatic. The first half of the set is comprised of mostly new material, which is met with ferocious enthusiasm. However, the cacophony of anarchy peaks with a performance of one of the first songs they ever wrote; ‘Dark Days’. Songs such as ‘Bloody, Mary, Kate and Ashley’ demonstrates the band’s ability to utilise explosive energy on stage, with a relentless intensity from the drums, virtuoso ability from lead guitarist Steve Sladkowski and rock solid vocal performance from Babcock, proving themselves as one of the best alternative rock bands in the world right now.
PUP end the show with the enraged belter, ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You’, with Stefan musing that the lyrics are more relevant than ever in addressing the trials and tribulations of extended gigging.
Be sure to catch PUP on the remaining dates of their European tour:
November 21: Electric Ballroom, London
November 22: SWX, Bristol
November 23: Academy 2, Birmingham
November 24: Stylus, Leeds
November 26: The Garage, Glasgow
November 28: Riverside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
November 29: Manchester Academy, Manchester
November 30:The Loft, Southampton