Live Review: PUP with Milk Teeth and Gender Roles – The Garage, London – 10/04/2019

Credit: Vanessa Heins

With almost every date on their return to their UK sold out well in advance, we’re ready to embrace the calamity with PUP and their brand new record ‘Morbid Stuff’. Beloved Brighton three-piece Gender Roles (3.5/5) arrive modestly to deliver chaotic, hazy emo tunes. Given that they’re all massive PUP fans you can tell this feels like this is certainly a dream come true for them.

Whilst the audience is still clambering over to secure spots for their mates or still necking drinks hedonistically at Wetherspoons over the road, there’s still a lot of attentive head nods and hearty sing-alongs to the likes of ‘Plastic’  and ‘Gills’.  Jared Tompkins’s bass momentarily cuts out but other than that it’s a well-rounded noisy affair for what’s in store later.

It’s hard to pinpoint what Milk Teeth (2.5/5) are now these days with their fluctuating line-up changes and scattered sonic direction, but their fans are certainly still enthusiastic about it. With Em Foster of Nervus/Funeral Shakes taking up lead guitar duties, she has a defiant stage presence, coupled with cutthroat shrieks and decent stage banter. At one point she tells us to “start a circle pit and keep running up to the M1.” However, slowing the tempo down for speedier cuts like ‘ Brickwork’  and ‘Fight Skirt‘ resulted in far weaker delivery than before. Despite this, ‘Stain’ and Swear Jar’ remained larger than life on stage.

The room’s anticipation for PUP (4.5/5) made you feel like you were 10 years old again, about to witness your favourite childhood act with your parents’ begrudgingly waiting in the car or nursing a pint behind you. Draping a huge artwork banner for ‘Morbid Stuff’, as the first few notes of the title track ring out, the audience morphs into one big party animal that can’t possibly be tamed.

There are so many moments that put such a massive grin on your face with PUP‘s crucial moments, even if you aren’t here tonight with a friend, it would be hard not to pull a stranger in to embrace the life-affirming choruses. From the bridge in ‘Kids’, “I should have tapped out, given in to my demons oh, oh” or the “1, 2, 3 (4, 5, 6)” key change on ‘Guilt Trip’, there’s almost no time to breathe or fuck around here.

With such gruelling tour schedules, a lot of bands simply start to lose spark after playing the same sets night after night with physical limitations catching up with them. Despite their hardships, there is no sign of stopping with PUP, each member’s soaring harmonies form an almost Power Rangers-like combination of glee. ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Sleep In The Heat’  without fail are delivered with a testament to how hard they’ve worked to get to here, and its an honour to celebrate.

The lack of ‘Reservoir’ audience karaoke tonight is a slight bummer, but frontman Steven Bandook lanches over the barrier, joining the adoring crowd for the outro of ‘Scorpion Hill’. As PUP blitz through to ‘DVP’, we’re left as empty shells of our former selves, and those who didn’t manage to get tickets are no doubt kicking themselves. Thankfully, November can’t come soon enough for us to lose our minds all over again.

4/5

Words by Ashwin Bhandari (@GIVEUPOX17)

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