The Canada of The U.S. Welcomes PUP With Open Arms


Tuesday was a pretty cold and dreary day here in Minneapolis but things warmed up quick as I walked into The Fillmore Tuesday night. There was an undeniable sense of excitement in the air and although the show was starting much later than a typical Tuesday (the first band didn’t even take the stage until 8 PM), the amount of energy felt throughout The Fillmore was electric.

That electric feeling was put into the spotlight the second that opening act Pinkshift took the stage. A little pop-punk, a little grunge, and a whole lot of attitude, this band instantly had me in the palm of their hand. Although I was constantly trying to catch everything happening on stage, it was vocalist Ashrita Kumar who stole my attention during the majority of their thirty-minute set. With this Gwen Stefani-like attitude and larger-than-life presence, I found her performance to be something worthy of a headlining act, not just an opener. It wasn’t just her presence though. The vocal range on this woman is seriously impressive and the amount of emotion and energy she is able to convey when performing is absolutely stunning. With sounds that ranged from everything from Paramore to Nirvana with little hints of My Chemical Romance and No Doubt mixed in, I was in love and will absolutely be keeping an eye on Pinkshift’s tour schedule in hopes of a return performance sooner rather than later.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Cloud Nothings has been getting some attention throughout my friend group lately so I was super excited as they took the stage as the second and final opening act on Tuesday night. Although I had never heard their music before, the amount of buzz they have been getting lately had me intrigued and optimistic and as soon as they kicked into their forty-five-minute set, I understood the hype and honestly got a bit lost in it. Cloud Nothing’s sound is unique while still being oddly familiar. With certain parts of their set feeling like a classic emo-lo-fi-rock track but others feeling a bit more jam-rock inspired, I found their overall sound to be super exciting just because it is so new. Although their live show definitely wasn’t as electrifying as that from Pinkshift, the amount of energy that they brought to the table musically made up for it. Clear musicians, Cloud Nothings were not afraid to be quirky and bring their unconventional patterns and beat into the spotlight. I fear that some of the technicalities of this band may have been lost on the surprisingly young audience but they were not lost on me.

Things were tense as the stage was turned over for headliners PUP and when I say tense, I mean it. There was a bit of odd energy in the front of the audience throughout Cloud Nothings’ set and it came to a breaking point between their set and that of PUP in the form of a fistfight between two men which security quickly shut down. After witnessing that, I feel like a lot of people on the floor were a bit on edge but that edge quickly dissipated as the Canadian headliners took the stage and jumped right into their nearly twenty-song set that had the entire audience jumping and singing along to until the very end.

Joking that Minnesota is the Canada of the United States, PUP felt more than comfortable on the big stage which made me so happy. One of the last times I saw them was at the much more intimate 7th Street Entry and I had been a bit concerned that they wouldn’t be able to fill the giant space they were performing in on Tuesday night but they filled it and then some with their quirky music. Most easily classified as pop-punk, PUP has a sound that is infectious and so welcoming in a strange way. With raw lyrics that are matched by an almost raw styled vocal like that of The Front Bottoms, listening to PUP just brings such a sense of comfort to me, and being able to see that live is always a treat.

Although I find a sense of calm in their music, the majority of the fans in attendance on Tuesday night found a sense of energy and angst in their music and were acting on it. The crowd erupted into a sweaty mess within the first song and that mess only got, well, messier as the night went on but in the best way possible. People were screaming along to every word as they jumped to every bit all while keeping a giant smile on their faces. I loved the way the electricity and energy from the stage were met by the audience and the way that there seemed to be a battle over who could give more energy– the crowd or the band. Although I am still unsure of who won the battle, it led to an explosive night full of power, emotion, energy, electricity– everything you could ever ask for in a show.

PUP has been around for over a decade and I’ve had my eye on them for a little over five years now and it made me so happy to see them finally get the attention and cult-like following that they so badly deserve.