Pup Brings the People Together (and Reunites Lost Phones with Owners) at the Fonda with Skegss, Pinkshift (Recap)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

“This band was supposed to play basement shows and that’s it — so we have absolutely peaked,” remarked Stefan Babcock of the band Pup on stage at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday night.

In town for a pair of Coachella performances, the Toronto-based rock/punk/indie group played a Goldenvoice-sponsored headlining show at the Fonda, which Babcock noted was his band’s biggest Los Angeles headlining show to date.

Having released its latest album, The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND, on April 1, this is an eventful time for the Canadian outfit, which cut its teeth in those aforementioned basements and on the periphery of the indie world until 2019’s Morbid Stuff expanded its audience and made more folks aware of the group’s anxious brand of musical therapy.

This translates to a wildly energetic live show on both sides of the stage, the sold-out crowd enthusiastically moshing, bouncing and shouting Babcock’s lyrics along with him. Given Pup’s adherence to making sure everybody has a good time in expressing itself, he paused the show early on to make sure everybody in the pit helped each other, should anybody fall down.

Later, he paused between songs again to help a lost phone reunite with its owner, joking that somebody should call ‘Mom’ to figure out who the device belongs to (“Hey Siri. Call ‘Mom.'”). Before long, phone was paired with owner and the show resumed.

The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND is the fourth Pup album to date, and expands a bit upon the musical progression that made Morbid Stuff a breakthrough moment for Babcock and his colleagues (guitarist Steve Sladkowski, bassist Nestor Chumak and drummer Zack Mykula). The at times manic spirit is still there, largely the result of the material being conceived and recorded during the confusing, uncertain and awkward time of a global pandemic, but there are some slight differences in approach.

Despite that, the new songs fit seamlessly into the set, and the crowd seemed just as pumped by these ones as fan favorites from their earlier records. Despite Babcock’s assertion that the band has “absolutely peaked” (such self-deprecation is very on-brand for Pup), it was more than evident that this group will only grow in stature.

Theirs is a fresh, frantic and reflective style of punk/rock/indie riffs, lyrical wit and boundless enthusiasm, and it makes a great live show.

Opening the show was Pinkshift, a young pop-punk band from Baltimore with roots in both ’90s grunge and 2000s’ pop punk, front woman Ashrita Kumar commanding the stage with a dynamic presence. They instantly built the crowd into a lather with songs like “Mars” and “I’m Gonna Tell My Therapist On You,” a feat all openings acts dream of but only a few manage to do. Kumar mentioned they recorded “a bunch of new songs” for their first full-length album, so stay tuned for more from this exciting young band.

Skegss, an Australian surf-rock/garage band also on the bill between Coachella performances, provided main support for Pup and it was apparent a lot of the audience was familiar with the group, which formed in 2014 and has released two albums to date, most recently 2021’s Rehearsal. Ben Reed and Toby Cregan swapped instruments and vocal duties while drummer Jonny Lani powered the trio through its set of upbeat, feel-good energy blasts that were especially well received by the crowd.

That was the word for the night: energy, each band delivering on all counts and the crowd enraptured throughout.

Pup’s tour will continue after Coachella this weekend, with Pinkshift and Sheer Mag opening (Skegss is not on the tour, they were just at this Los Angeles show).

Catch a gig:

4/24/22 – Denver, CO @ The Ogden Theatre +^
4/25/22 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater +^
4/27/22 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater +^
4/28/22 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues +^
4/29/22 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater +^
5/1/22 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Music Festival
5/3/22 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel +^
5/4/22 – Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz +^
5/5/22 – Richmond, VA @ The National +^
5/6/22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall +^
5/7/22 – Washington, DC @ The Fillmore Silver Spring +^
5/9/22 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom +^
5/10/22 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues +^
5/11/22 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 +^
5/13/22 – Montreal, QC @ MTelus +^
5/14/22 – Toronto, ON @ History +^ [SOLD OUT]
5/15/22 – Toronto, ON @ History +^
5/31/22 – Peterborough, ON @ The Venue !
6/1/22 – Kingston, ON @ The Ale House !
6/3/22 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues $
6/4/22 – Royal Oak, MI @ The Royal Oak $
6/5/22 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s $
6/6/22 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom $
6/8/22 – Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi Annex $
6/9/22 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada $
6/10/22 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant $
6/11/22 – Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl $
6/13/22 – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Music Hall $|
6/14/22 – Columbia, SC @ The Senate $
6/15/22 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa $
6/17/22 – Holyoke, MA @ Race Street Block Party $
6/18/22 – Buffalo, NY @ Asbury Hall $
7/3/22 – St. Catharines, ON @ Born & Raised Concert Series
7/8/22 – Cheltenham, UK @ 2000trees Festival
7/19/22 – Adelaide, Australia @ The Gov
7/21/22 – Melbourne, Australia @ The Croxton
7/22/22 – Sydney, Australia @ Factory Theatre
7/23/22 – Byron Bay, Australia @ Splendour in the Grass
7/30/22 – Omaha, NE @ Maha Festival
8/26/22 – Málaga, Spain @ Canela Party Festival
10/12/22 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Beckett Students Union
10/13/22 – Manchester, UK @ O2 Ritz
10/14/22 – London, UK @ The Roundhouse
10/16/22 – Glasgow, UK @ SWG3 Galvanizers
10/17/22 – Dublin, IE @ Academy 2
10/19/22 – Brighton, UK @ Chalk
10/20/22 – Bristol, UK @ SWX
10/21/22 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Institute
10/23/22 – Paris, FR @ Backstage
10/24/22 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
10/25/22 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
10/26/22 – Köln, DE @ Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
10/28/22 – Berlin, DE @ So36
10/29/22 – Warsaw, PL @ Hybrydy
10/30/22 – Prague, CZ @ Rock Cafe
11/1/22 – Milan, IT @ Bloom
11/2/22 – Munich, DE @ Strom
11/3/22 – Hamburg, DE @ Gruenspan
11/5/22 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset

! with support from Casper Skulls

‡ with support from Beverly Crusher

# with support from Skegss

^ with support from Pinkshift

$ with support from Oceanator

* with support from Cloud Nothings

+ with support from Sheer Mag

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