LIVE: PUP / Milk Teeth / Gender Roles @ The Garage, London

By Renette van der Merwe

The Garage fills up quickly in the presence of a dim blue haze. The crowd is diverse, rich and eager with punk in their bones and PUP in their veins.

Gender Roles are up first and the cotton candy pink of Tom Bennett’s hair lends itself to a beautiful juxtaposition with the hardcore punk tendencies to come. It’s the first song of the night and naturally the crowd struggle to get into it, but Gender Roles are relentless as they launch into the next song with a untamed energy and authenticity that make them instantly and intensely likeable. They’ve released an EP, ‘Lazer Rush’, and the songs they play from it are met with cheers from pockets of people who sing and bob along – proving this Brighton trio are already building a steady following.

Milk Teeth hold the main support slot and deliver the solid set of a well-rehearsed band. Every riff is in its place, the bass lines dirty and intimidating, and the drums a driving force for full-on tracks like ‘Brickwork’ and ‘Stain’. ‘Fight Skirt’ is their trump card, baring teeth with grungy notes and a simple, but insanely good chorus. Becky Blomfield’s almost lazy vocals are mesmerising and Em Foster only adds to the spell with intense harmonies.

The first glimpse of headline band, PUP, are when they set up their own stage. It suits them, genuine, without fuss and humble as hell. When we see them again, they launch into the angsty title track of their brand new studio album, ‘Morbid Stuff’. The energy is electrifying, the room comes alive like Frankenstein’s monster, most fans are already singing along to a song that’s only six days old and the band are loving it.

They also slip in single ‘Free at Last’ alongside ‘Kids’ and ‘Scorpion Hill’ and older tracks like ‘Sleep in the Heat’, as well as clear fan favourites like ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Reservoir’ which receive deafening feedback from the crowd. The set is short, the songs fast; it’s all extremely punk and yeah, you don’t want it to end too quickly, but holy shit, you’re loving the pace, so you just throw your hands up and enjoy it.

Stefan Babcock announces there are only two songs left and that “encores are too fucking weird”, so this’ll be your last chance to consume everything on offer. The energy of the band, buzz of the crowd and the straight up punk rock of ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will’ and ‘DVP’.

PUP are the embodiment of your first ever gig. If you could bottle the sheer excitement, wonder and spark that would eventually grow into an inextinguishable love of live music, you may as well label it PUP. They’re what music’s about.