There are lots of ways to experience live music. In just the past week I’ve felt the emotional tug of Conor Oberst as I ingested every sentiment, and nodded along and smiled at the jangly garage groove of The Weeks. However last night, watching The Menzingers and newcomers PUP at Union Transfer, I became a part of the riot. Pushed and swayed to the drum, watching people dive off stage like missiles, feeling deep in my chest every word that was screamed.
The whole floor became a pit, rippling in waves back towards the bar. I went alone, but instantly felt connected in a odd ritualistic way. We were all there in some patchwork quilt of community that shook and swayed with every swipe of the guitar.
This was a homecoming show for The Menzingers, who are growing rapidly as a band. A new album this year, and a set that’s both tighter and more diverse. Yet, they’ve lost none of the spirit of basement show days. There is something about a room full people screaming “I’ve been having a horrible time, pulling myself together” that will forever feel united.
Meanwhile, in Canada. There’s a young band named PUP. They also released a record this year, their first. The self-titled album is bursting with raw energy, threatening to implode at every turn, yet always managing to white-knuckle to a sing-a-long chorus.
Their show was no different, bouncing from furthest corner of the stage and back, even into the crowd at times. Fists were pumped, choruses were screamed, and they fed off every inch of it.
PUP is scrappy, thrashing yet melodic. It’s a beautiful thing to see a band like The Menzingers grow into their own, and a band like PUP take that energy and torch…all from the same stage.