"Do you remember that Simpsons episode where Bart changes schools, and they put him in the 'slow' class? And they have the kid from Canada, saying 'I'm from Canada, and they think I'm slow, ayyy.' It's like that, to sort of adopt that mentality, talk about our igloos and stuff."
Though PUP guitarist Steve Sladkowski is quite amused by his Canadian brethren, contrary to the above statement, the Toronto-based punk band is not a bunch of hosers from the north. Currently embarking on its first U.S. headlining tour, the barely-three-year-old band is set to arrive in Phoenix on October 21 at the Rhythm Room, alongside fellow punk upstarts Hard Girls.
Mixing the less-cringeworthy drama of mid-2000s post-hardcore, the driving rhythm section of post-punkers Savages, the yelling vocals of punk contemporaries The Flatliners, and the mildly nerdy, guitar-heavy tendencies of '90s rockers Smoking Popes and Weezer, PUP has taken basic punk attitude and made it dramatic and exciting.
Despite only releasing its stateside debut six months ago, the band the band has already garnered acclaim from sources as diverse as Rolling Stone, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, and Exclaim, and was long-listed for Canada's top musical honor, the Polaris Music Prize.
Since signing a US distribution deal with punk heavyweight SideOneDummy Records in December, the group has been on a tear, touring the UK once and the US twice, including a route to and from South by Southwest, and a nationwide tour with current punk stars The Menzingers.
In particular, it was The Menzingers tour which brought the band its greatest buzz, Sladkowski notes.
"[The Menzingers] asked us to come on that tour, like themselves, which is really, really cool. So knowing that we had the respect of the other bands, we just wanted to turn in a good performance every night."
To this attendee's eyes, the band did not disappoint. On a packed punk bill also featuring such current scene heavyweights as Lemuria and Cayetana, PUP still managed to stand out with raw, unbridled energy.
"We are such a live band. That's just sort of how we've learned how to do this whole thing, and managed to survive is just by being on the road...I think we converted a lot of people [on the Menzingers tour], we sold a lot of merch, and there seems to be a lot of buzz...with people getting excited for the shows [on the headlining tour]," explains Sladkowski.
After receiving the touring grace of The Menzingers, PUP is aiming to share the same goodwill on this tour, bringing along rising bands Hard Girls, Typefighter, and Chumped for respective segments.
And the band's iconic, darkly comic music videos? Chalk it up to that same spirit of mutual promotion and celebration.
Sladkowski elaborates, "We are all so lucky to have such talented friends. The two people who have been at the helm for pretty much all of our music videos, Chandler Levack and Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, just had all of these ideas that were in the spirit [of the band]. They were just friends of ours in Toronto."
"It's been really cool just to be able to take some of the attention that we have been getting and share it with friends who are also incredibly talented."
PUP performs with Hard Girls and locals Sundressed this Tuesday, October 21 at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Tickets and complete information are available here.
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