There’s excitement in the air as two rising successes take to Brighton’s Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. Both PUP and Modern Baseball are set to release new albums in the coming months and both are desperate to show off just what they’ve got up their sleeves.
Debut album opener ‘Guilt Trip’ introduces PUP’s set and its reaction indicates that there’s a decent contingent that have come specifically for them. There’s just enough room in the cramped low-ceilinged venue for their fans arms outstretched as they shout the song’s initial lyrics back at the band, all of which is a huge contrast to their first Brighton visit just under two years ago when they were largely unknown. The two newer songs are a clear highlight, particularly the fast-paced driven nature of ‘DVP’, a continuation of the type of energy they penned on their set closer – the more familiar ‘Reservoir’.
“Holy shit” is the response Modern Baseball’s Brendan Lukens has to the crowd reacting to his opening lyrics of ‘Fine, Great’, and as their set goes on crowd surfers squeeze their way through the gap between people’s heads and the ceiling. The swathe of restless bodies in a cramped basement though does lead to Luken’s later admission, “Smells funny up here!” The band themselves don’t quite have the same energy PUP had before them, but the audience’s reaction fills that deficit. Their set breathes with ‘rough’ authenticity though, the kind of which can only be earned through years of immersion in the punk-rock community.
The rowdier first half of their performance transitions to moodier second half, featuring the more melancholic sounds on the bands 2015 ‘The Perfect Cast’ EP and two captivating new songs that prove the band are taking that moodier edge further onto their next LP. They finish with the only song they should have, ‘Your Graduation, the biggest banger from their last album, and their own encore culminates with the standout song from their first album ‘The Weekend’ and its rousing sing-a-long sections.
What tonight has proved is that these two bands are maturing in directions that are making for exciting prospects looking ahead to both their upcoming albums. If you haven’t gotten onboard with either of them yet, now is the time to do so.