I’ve seen PUP play in a literal garage out in Temecula, CA. I’m talking legit dad work bench behind the band garage. I’ve seen them play a mid-size venue to a half filled room of kids waiting for Modern Baseball to play. I’ve seen them play FEST on the outdoor stage in to a surprisingly unruly day crowd. And now, all these years later, I’ve seen PUP played not one, but TWO sold out shows at The Metro in Chicago. Wild times.
I’ve soured on the idea of watching bands play two shows in the same city after I watched some stupid fucking idiots I will not name* play the exact same show down to the in-between song stage banter a very long time ago. But PUP is PUP. After finally getting around to listening to their new album released this year, Morbid Stuff, missing them play no matter what is not a fucking option. Luckily for me, PUP ain’t no dumb dumbs and mixed their sets up just enough to keep it interesting.
Like I mentioned earlier, PUP released Morbid Stuff this year, so this tour was in support of that. Between the two nights here in Chicago they played eight out of eleven songs off that album, which is definitely not a complaint. Like their past two albums, this one is really fucking good. The crowd went nuts both nights and the band ate that shit up. Singer Stefan Babcock put down his guitar and jumped into the crowd several times to soak up as much of that positive energy as possible.
Back before PUP officially released Morbid Stuff, they had fans of the band record their own versions of “Free at Last.” They put the basic chords and lyrics to the song out there, and let whoever just go for it in their own style. One of the bands that put their hat into the ring was Chicago’s Kodakrome, who were invited out onto stage on the first night to actually perform their version to the sold out venue. There were no special surprises like that on the second night, but it didn’t really matter. Between welling up with tears as the entire venue sang the “whoas” during “Sleep in the Heat,” and watching the venue absolutely erupt during what is without a doubt PUP’s most hardcore song to date, “Full Blown Meltdown.” As an added bonus, PUP said “fuck encores” and used all of their allotted time to end the second night with “Scorpion Hill.”
Outside the venue, I was smoking a cigarette and watching the sweaty mess of show goers file out of The Metro. It seemed like not a single one didn’t exit through the doors without a smile on their face. PUP just puts people in a good mood. So, don’t be stupid like I almost was and see them if they are playing around you. Unfortunately I missed the openers Casper Skulls both nights, but I did manage to catch Chicago’s Ratboys the second time around. I liked what I heard. They leaned more towards the mellow rock side, but sometimes you need that chill the fuck out music.
Special shout out to Chicago’s sweetheart Jim Michalik for introducing me to some cool people, chugging a Buzzball with me in an alley, and getting me a balcony pass on the first night. He also gave me his beer on the second night. It was the sweetest, best beer I ever had and when I asked him what the hell it was because it was really good, he gave me this weird look and simply said, “Tecate.”
*Let’s just say said piece of shit band is named after a William Faulkner novel and their lead singer went to prison for trying to have his wife murdered. Give me a break, I was in young and didn’t know any better.
Check out the below photos from the second night at the Metro: