PUP with The Shifts

September 16, 2017 - 9:00pm

On Saturday, September 16, the Community Center for the Performing Arts and University of Oregon Campus Radio 88.1 FM KWVA proudly welcome Toronto’s PUP to the WOW Hall a;ong with special guests The Shifts.

PUP is touring in support of their 2016 album release The Dream Is Over.  They're the exact words a doctor spoke to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock upon discovering one of his vocal cords had a small cyst and was beginning to hemorrhage.  Given that the band -- completed by drummer Zack Mykula, bassist Nestor Chumak and guitarist Steve Sladkowski -- played over 450 shows in the last two years in support of its self-titled debut, it's perhaps not surprising that it happened.

PUP had to end 2015 by cancelling its last couple of shows, but by announcing The Dream Is Over onstage at a sold-out show in Brooklyn, the Toronto four-piece proved that the exact opposite is true.  The Dream Is Over is visible, visceral proof that the dream is still alive.  It's just that, after two exhausting years on the road, it turns out that the dream is just very different to what the four of them thought or imagined it would be like.

"I think," says Babcock, "that a lot of people in their mid-20's start to feel this sense of disillusionment -- realizing that maybe life isn't going to turn out exactly as you'd pictured it.  I love touring and playing music more than anything in the world.  But, there's also this realization that maybe the romanticized version of this lifestyle I'd imagined 10 years ago has little or no relation to the actual experience.

“I used to dream about this… when I was a kid.  But I never dreamt about the bad days -- waking up in a Walmart parking lot in a van full of dudes, and thinking 'I'm 27, broke, and lonely. What am I doing.’  That's where a lot of these songs come from.  And while that experience is very specific to me, I don't think the emotions are.  I think most people eventually experience that resignation, that acceptance of real life, with all its imperfections. It's called 'growing up'."

Yet if these ten songs bear the marks, bruises and scars of the realities of their experiences, it also captures the sheer joy of their journey.  Yes, it starts out with the marked venom of "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will" and its gentle distaste for life in a van, but as the song accelerates towards the end, there's a thrill and a happiness and a playful exuberance to the music that defies and overpowers the sentiment of the lyrics.  Which, as it turns out, is very similar to what happens on the road, too.

"I always find there's two types of days on tour," says Babcock. "Eight or nine out of 10 are the best days of my life, and then one or two are literally the worst...  So it's just like a rollercoaster ride. There's no middle ground. And that's where a lot of the record is coming from - Accepting the bad with the good, because on good days, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world."

As such, The Dream Is Over is the sound of a band not just surviving the storm, but thriving in it.  It's a raw and honest account of real life -- which is precisely what their dream turned out to be.  And as if to prove the age old cliché that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, The Dream Is Over, for all the trials and tribulations that inspired it, finds PUP as confident, as tight as a musical unit and as in tune with each other as they have ever been.  It's a very conscious act of rebellious defiance that turns this crazy dream of theirs back on its head.

As for that self-aware, tongue-in-cheek title?

"What can I say; it's a brazen title," chuckles Babcock. "Expectations change, but we're still doing what we wanna do.  This is life."


Combining bright guitar lines, bouncing rhythms, sardonic wordplay, and high energy live performances, The Shifts are a Eugene based band formed in 2011 as an indie rock project by frontperson Macks Johanesen.  Starting July 2016, the band began performing with the four-piece lineup of Macks on guitar and vocals, Eli Tocchini on drums, Jeff Kretsinger on bass, and Maci DeBlanc on keyboard, guitar, and vocals.

In 2014 The Shifts released their debut EP, this is fine, proving themselves to be one of the up and coming bands in the region. In 2016, they released their eponymous debut album and have embarked on multiple West Coast tours since.

            Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the day of show.  Doors open at 8:00 pm and showtime is 9:00.



Door Time: 
September 16, 2017 - 8:00pm
$12 Advance, $15 Day of Show