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Gallery and Recap: PUP at The Riviera Theatre • Chicago

| April 4, 2022


Riviera Theatre

Chicago, IL

April 3rd, 2021

Recap by Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Photos by Curt Baran

After two long years, PUP made their triumphant return to Chicago on Sunday night for their sold-out show at The Riviera Theatre. Playing one of their largest headline shows so far, the night was not only a celebration of their new album, THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND, it was also a celebration of being able to enjoy music together once again. The crowd buzz with anticipation as they impatiently waited for their favorite Toronto punks. And when the opening riff of “Totally Fine” finally rang out, the crowd exploded.

Massive mosh pits opened up. Bodies collided with each other. The room grew hot as everyone piled on top of each other. Even those who tried to avoid the pit were swept up in the chaos. Luckily, the crowd was kind and made to sure look out for one another to avoid major injuries. It’s this kind of camaraderie everyone in the room had missed since the pandemic.

As always, PUP slayed during their 18-song set. They were brash, furious, destructive, and only a little self-deprecating. While classic PUP songs, like “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will,” “DVP,” and “Reservoir” got the biggest reaction, new tracks like “Waiting,” “Totally Fine,” and “Robot Writes a Love Song,” still got the crowd riled up. Many of them already had the lyrics memorized; impressive for an album that only dropped two days prior. Babcock even made one of his “dreams come true” by playing the iconic “Hotel California” solo in front of thousands of people.

PUP was loud, but the crowd proved to be ever louder as they shouted nearly every lyric back at the band. Babcock and crew could only look back, soak it all in, and smile. Though a lot of pent-up energy, anger, and aggression filled the room, the show somehow felt wholesome. From the big, beaming grins on their faces to their excited banter, you could tell they were genuinely happy to be on that stage. They even had a sense of pride watching people sing along to cuts from the new album, the new music they’re extremely proud of.

PUP rarely disappoints live, but something about this show felt extra good. Maybe it’s the excitement about the new album. Maybe it’s because of the intense music. Or maybe it’s because this is the bonding experience everyone in that room has been craving. It’s been a difficult few years for everyone. Those hardships are bleeding into this year, but in that space, singing along with the band, swaying along with the crowd, and throwing yourself into strangers, you forgot anything that was nagging you. The only thing that mattered was celebrating PUP’s long-awaited return.


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Category: Featured, IE Photo Gallery, Live Reviews

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