words & photos: Matt Forsythe @skin_mf
“..it was PUP fans who won the night (but so did the Raptors. Go Raps!)”
Some have awkward relationships with their hometown, others revel in a homecoming. PUP have always been the latter, two sold out nights at the Danforth Music Hall and their biggest Toronto gig on the horizon as proof. Competing with the current hometown heroes – the Toronto Raptors in an unprecedented run in the NBA Finals, playing at the same time as the show – would be a steep task, but all the bands were ready.
Opening with a hometown nod, The Drew Thomson Foundation welcomed everyone. Their (somewhat) local status and Drew’s pedigree (of Single Mothers infamy) were evident from the enthusiastic turn out for an opener. On the lighter side of Drew’s previous work, the Foundation delivered solid rock-punk tunes with straight ahead, honest lyrics. As shared with the crowd, their first broken down van story (still made the gig!) behind them, it’s nothing but success ahead.
Filling the middle slot were PUP alumni, upstate New York’s Diet Cig. So serious is front woman Alex Luciano about her high kicks that she could be seen practicing side stage. The ensuing love songs and pop-punk clap alongs were inescapable thanks to the effervescent positivity that springs from the fountain of youth that is Luciano. The between songs keyboard rendition of the Jurassic Park theme wasn’t lost on Raptors fans, either.
Cue the NBA on NBC theme song, it’s PUP time. PUP shows are a foregone conclusion in the best way possible: the band sound amazing, everyone sings along to every word, and the bodies will crash like waves against the break wall of security.
Competing with a Raptors playoff game didn’t phase the local heroes one bit; guitarist and Raps super fan Steve Sladkowski managed to stay composed while missing the game (although, by his own admission, he did forget to play while getting wrapped up in the moment of a capacity hometown crowd). The set list covered all three albums, but the boys saved something special for their favourite town: Morbid cut “See You At Your Funeral” made its live debut. Leaving the stage to “Let’s go Raptors!” chants, it was PUP fans who won the night (but so did the Raptors. Go Raps!).
After two sold out nights, PUP are going big for the summer’s best outdoor party at Echo Beach on Sunday, July 21st. If you’re anywhere nearby, don’t miss out. (with Twin Peaks, Cayetana and Partner)