Words & Photography by: Joshua Habtwold
On Saturday, February 22nd, 2020, it seemed to be a great night for the people in the Durham Region area as Toronto-based band and an inspirational force to the Canadian new age punk scene, PUP, performed at The Music Hall for their continuation of the Morbid Stuff Tour, as well as to bring that same energy they had from their Echo Beach show last year to the ‘Shwa. Although they would perform a good majority of their latest album, Morbid Stuff, they still have to bring that same energy when performing deep classics from the PUP and The Dream is Over albums for their fans. The band also brought along some local support, and a change to their whole style of touring, in which they brought local female-lead bands Casper Skulls and Luna Li. A lot of younger fans, ranging from college and uni students to fans in their early to mid-30s came to enjoy their homegrown indie punk heroes as they start off the Morbid Tour in the good ol’ ‘Shwa.
To start, Luna Li came with her all-girl band and performed a lot of unique tracks such as “Opal Angel”, “Silver into Rain”, “Star Stuff”, and “Ghosting”. Luna also performed with her violin and brought an ecstatic melody and vibrant sound to one of her songs. Most of her songs blend a lot between the genres of indie rock, dream pop, and deep pop, which usually got the crowd going. She also encouraged the men in the audience in the crowd to respect the women in the audience as well as for her bandmates, and every woman that was in that venue as well. Luna and her bandmates also performed “Trying”, which is her recent single. Every female in the band went twice as hard as the crowd would’ve imagined but they also incorporated some classical notations and melodies to their instrumentation and vocally, they are as quite soothing as they sound. I was swayed away with the band’s astonishing performance and how they managed to incorporate a lot of unique sounds to their performance.
Next up, Toronto band Casper Skulls set the show out on a unique note with their performance and dedicated a lot of songs to a lot of experiences they have dealt with. With one song having a lot of infusion to the country genre to another track called “Ouija”, which lead singer Melanie Gail St. Pierre dedicated the song to her grandmother, who was a musician. It brought a lot of sense and comfort as the band widened their emotions to the heavily pumped crowd. Melanie and guitarist Neil Bednis had a little overlapping and ongoing guitar solo which was pretty great, and drummer Aurora Bangarth kept on going to pump up the crowd, which was pretty cool. Their sound brings much more of an indie rock-based sound while maintaining the elements of punk. As the crowd got bigger for PUP, the music that Casper Skulls brought got better and better.
When Casper Skulls finished up, it was that time when PUP brought the Morbid Stuff Tour to life in Oshawa when the band performed “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” as the opening track of the show and everybody went crazy with non-stop moshing. A good amount of people were crowd surfing to every track that they performed, and in “See You At Your Funeral”, it was interesting to hear since the song based on the messages of teenage rebellion, such as not behaving or not respecting your parents at a young age. From that, it struck me with its interesting message and nonchalance to a youthful rebellion and so forth. People also came to the stage and either stayed with the band for a second until security kicked them out or jumped in and jumped back to the crowd.
The band members also performed with one another and lots of guitar and drum solos were as loud as possible for the band to gravitate to their fans and for the fans to sing their little hearts out and go as crazy as possible. With Zack’s excellent drumming, Nestor’s stellar strumming and nonchalant vibe, Steve’s poise and strumming, and Stefan’s great vocals, enraging energy, and stellar stage presence, the show was going very well and the atmosphere made it look like an actual punk show. The show also opened up to a crowd karaoke performance for “Reservoir”, as well as having an intermission with “Morbid Stuff” being played on horns, which is something that’s really thoughtful for the crowd. Even though they maintained the style of having a punk rock etiquette and a punk aesthetic for the show, the main thing they wanted everyone to do is to take care of each other and if they notice that someone is uncomfortable, they just have to make sure that the person is okay. They also made an impact to have a different style for that night instead of what they usually do when they performed, and it worked quite well.
If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will
Free at Last
My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier
See You At Your Funeral
Sleep in the Heat
Bloody Mary, Kate and Ashley
Reservoir (PUP Karaoke)
Intermission (Morbid Stuff Horns Version)
Full Blown Meltdown