Punk rock band PUP welcomed by devoted Sylvee fans The Badger Herald
As a seasoned viewer, I like to notice the relationship between a band and its fans. But in my experience, I’ve never seen anything so natural and fun as the friendship between PUP and their fans at their September 8 concert at Sylvee.
The hardcore punk rock band has a specialty in angry chants and shrewd shouting, but nothing says devotion quite like lead singer Stefan Babcock’s thoughtful addresses at the mosh pit.
“If someone loses your shoe, I don’t know, hold it I guess…take care of each other!” Babcock said during the concert.
And that was my friendliest introduction to moshing I’ve ever seen. The crowd movement was still rough and rocky, but the passion they had for the band and each other was felt in waves. It was clear that most people there were exactly that – passionate about music and each other.
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PUP’s ability to fuse dark lyrics with a sense of belonging and community is a gift in itself, crafted from years of heartfelt experience. Although Babcock is a household word in these regions, the band is actually based in Toronto.
They were originally called Topanga but decided to change their name to better suit the group. Following the advice of a member’s grandmother, they renamed the group to PUPshort for “Pathetic Use of Potential”.
Grandmothers are full of wisdom, but in this case, PUP’s performance proved that their name is far from accurate. The group of four played in dark clothes around motley colored instruments – they sound similar.
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While their lyrics are moody and a bit morbid, their music is full of punch and excitement. The PUP team explodes on stage in an array of passion, never straying from subjects too dark to shine. And the fanbase knows it best.
For most of their set, the crowd laughed to the beat of PUP’s wails. People were lifted into the air and carried around the sea of hands, brought back safely by the on-site security team. They went crazy for the band’s instrumental banter and collaborative punk attitude.
Along with stellar performances from openers OBGMs and Palehound, PUP was a refreshing, dark, yet thoughtful escape for Madison’s punk rock scene.
Palehound lead singer Ellen Kempner summed it up when she revealed her manager’s description of the bands – dDuring the tour, they created a new word, mixing psycho and iconic. That’s the perfect word to sum up PUP’s concert at Sylvee – “psychonic”.