20th August | Rough Trade

In the streaming era, it’s been countlessly noted that artists are paid increasingly poorly for the actual songs that they produce. Across the numerous options for downloading and streaming or – gasp – physical media, bands have steadily made less and less per sale or stream since the system’s inception.

Now, band’s like PUP rely more and more on touring as a means of paying themselves, where in the past, album sales were the immediate means of how a band made money. While record store performances and signings are nothing new, PUP’s performance at Rough Trade felt like a rare chance to see a band in a setting that they’ve had to leave behind with their success. The stage in the Live Room at Rough Trade, for those that haven’t been, allows for a more traditional gig instead of what usually happens in record stores: the staff pushing all the racks to one side and the band cramming in next to the cash register.

When the Canadian punk-rock four-piece from Toronto took the stage and, initially, joked about the intimate feel of the venue, they were transparent in letting the crowd know that the set would be slightly shorter than normal and consist of the first half of their third album, Morbid Stuff, and a handful of songs from earlier albums. The more they thrashed through the title track, ‘Kids’, ‘Free at Last’ and the rest of the opening half of the album, the band opened up about how special a performance like this was.

As their popularity, and as a result their venues, grow on each subsequent tour, bands get fewer opportunities to play in a small setting, face to face with fans. PUP mentioned that they typically just play through songs and talk very little to the crowd. A few of the members joked that it was because they aren’t funny, but from how much they spoke with the crowd and how personal it felt, I doubt that’s really the case.

See the video for ‘KIDS’ here: