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PUP | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Shortly before PUP hit the stage at Franklin Music Hall Wednesday night, a member of the security staff at the venue gathered all of the photographers around for a quick meeting. The short of it was that if things got too rowdy, they were gonna kick us all out of the pit in the name of safety. I can’t think of a more glowing endorsement for a punk band in today’s blogosphere landscape.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had the opportunity to see PUP live. I’ve watch from a distance as they cocooned from a caterpillar into wonderful butterfly that has laser beam eyes and can shoot stingers from its wings. Lead screamer Stefan Babcock seems surprised by it all, questioning whether or not they belong at a venue as large as FMH.

There is no room for gatekeeping in contemporary punk, though, and there were nothing but open arms from everyone in attendance. This became increasingly apparent as the Canadian quartet (Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula, and Steve Sladkowski) tore through a ripping set of material, old and new. They even found time for a Weakerthans cover (the easiest way into my heart for any band) in their ~20 song set. Touring behind their latest release, Morbid Stuff, the success of PUP can be tangibly measured in decibels, and they brought it all the way up to 11.

Opening act Illuminati Hotties may be the happiest band named after a secret society, packing in many of the same themes as PUP, albeit in a more sun-drenched container. Bouncing effortlessly from sunshine-infused indie pop to crunchy garage rock, the group (led by Sarah Tudzin) didn’t waste a single moment of their opening slot.

AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) is no stranger to the road. Formed in 2004, they’ve been bringing their brand of folk-infused punk to the masses with a hyper-intensity that would burn out most bands after their first album. Tailor-made for the sing-a-long set, they had the crowd whipped into such a frenzy, I briefly forgot they were only act two of three.

Setlist
Morbid Stuff
Kids
My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier
Back Against The Wall
Free At Last
See You At Your Funeral
Mabu
Sleep in the Heat
Plea From A Cat Named Virtue (The Weakerthans Cover)
Dark Days
Scorpion Hill
Sibling Rivalry
Familiar Patterns
Reservoir
Full Blown Meltdown
If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will
DVP

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