Pup | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

I saw PUP for the first time in 2014, on their first US tour, at a weekday Golden Tea House gig. I had never seen a band command a crowd of about 25 people the way they did. In iconic fashion, frontman Stefan Babcock scaled the balcony of Golden Tea House while preforming a cover of the Beastie Boys hit “Sabotage.” I knew at that point this wasn’t the last I would be hearing of PUP.


PUP at Golden Tea House in 2014 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Just two and a half years after that show, the Toronto punk four-piece returned to Philly for a sold out headlining show at Union Transfer. The band’s showmanship has grown since then; Babcock and his bandmates Steve Sladkowski (guitar), Nestor Chumak (bass) and Zack Mykula (drums) commanded the crowd slammed around the Union Transfer floor in a frenzy. The band played a lot of selections from The Dream is Over which, released in May on SideOneDummy, opening with “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” and plowing right into “DVP.” The band’s set also featured standouts from their self-titled debut like “Dark Days,” “Back Against the Wall” and “Reservoir.” It was pretty amazing to see the band preforming these songs I saw them play at Golden Tea House, but now with one thousand singing the words back to them.

Also on the bill was Philadelphia’s pop punk trio Cayetana, favorites of us here at The Key. The band released its first album, Nervous Like Me, in 2014 and is prepping a followup for next year — at Union Transfer, they gave us a little taste of the mew material, which was fun and definitely left the crowd wanting to be here more.

Starting off the show was Chastity, a hardcore band from Ontario. The band brought a huge amount of energy to the bill, and Babcock praised them during PUP’s set as “The band you are going to be proud to say you saw in 2016 after they get big”. Frontman Brandon Williams jumped offstage towards the end of their set and preformed the closing songs from the crowd.

Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.