An Impressive Punk Double Bill at Mercury LoungeNovember 10th, 2014
PUP/Chumped – Mercury Lounge – November 7, 2014
Two of the best young bands in the punk scene tore up Mercury Lounge at Friday night’s late show. It was the second-to-last date of a tour that has taken what were separately two already must-see acts and turned them into a double bill that fans will talk about for years. Chumped—a Brooklyn pop-punk group playing to many hometown fans, family members and friends, who couldn’t stop hurling empty beer cans and plastic cups onstage— performed first. According to the four-piece, it was the their biggest show to date. They ripped through a huge chunk of their growing discography and delighted the crowd with their loud and speedy (yet still melodic) sound. Chumped moved at such a quick pace that fans couldn’t help but move along to it, smiling all the way. Luckily for New Yorkers, the band has an LP about to be released, so they will be easy to find in the coming months. But on Friday, their fast and furious set was the perfect primer for the mayhem that followed.
If Chumped are made for dancing, PUP are made for moshing. “It’s easy to like New York but it’s not easy to like shows in New York,” said singer Stefan Babcock midway through the set. “But you guys made it easy.” That’s probably because no one in the crowd stopped shouting every lyric right back at the Canadian indie-punk band. For an hour, they were no longer a four-piece because the entire room became PUP. Babcock was sweetly engaging when the band wasn’t shredding, but during songs he furiously paced the stage like a lion waiting to roar. Every time he returned to the microphone, lyrics were sung with an incredible force and were always backed by the synchronized thrashing of his bandmates.
PUP’s sound ranges from pure shout-along songs like “Guilt Trip” (perhaps the first song I’ve ever heard people shout “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6” along to, thanks to its time signature) to “Yukon,” a moody tune that seethes during each verse before it explodes into the chorus. Regardless of tempo, audience members and the band fed off one another’s wild behavior. Fans crowd surfed, so Babcock did the same. Fans shouted as they leaned over the stage, Babcock and the band got right back in their faces. All this resulted in one hell of a messy conclusion just as PUP covered the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Babcock was once again hoisted above the crowd, a fitting end to the band’s first-ever sold-out headlining show in New York City—but most certainly not the last. —Sean O’Kane