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PUP and Joyce Manor Kick Off Treefort Music Fest 2023 With Raw Punk Fury

Boise Idaho’s newest venue received the christening it deserved when the Canadian pop punk legends stopped down for the first time since 2018. 

by Glenn Alderson

Photos by Arianna Kharizz

March 19, 2023

Boise, ID

Treefort Music Hall

Boise, Idaho’s Treefort Music Festival got a supercharged kickstart of sorts when Canadian pop punk protagonists PUP took the stage of the brand new Treefort Music Hall venue on an otherwise sleepy Sunday night in the Treasure Valley capital city.

Packed to the brim with eager concertgoers buzzing with excitement, you could still smell the fresh paint of the venue, which makes sense given that there was apparently still visible scaffolding just days prior. But leave it to professional road dog band like PUP to break in a new venue with high energy pop punk fury. Boise marked the final stop of their three-week tour with emo punk act Joyce Manor, who played an equally impressive set that evening alongside openers Pool Kids from Florida. 

PUP started their set with “My Life Is Over, And I Couldn’t Be Happier” from their high-octane 2016 LP, The Dream Is Over, and it didn’t take long for that shiny new car smell of the venue to dissipate into the sizeable mosh pit of rabid fans. 

(Photo: Arianna Kharizz)

“This one’s for the angel investors in the back,” guitarist Steve Sladkowski said before the band broke into the instantly recognizable singalong anthem “Kids” from their angsty and equally moody 2019 album, Morbid Days. Known for their morose and often hilarious take on life, love, and everything in between, PUP powered through a blistering set full of hits, visibly getting the crowd excited for a packed week of live music ahead (the festival runs March 22 to 26 at various venues throughout Boise).

PUP is the perfect example of a hardworking band at the height of their power; shiny new gear, pre-recorded interludes, and a full tour team in tow, but the authenticity and ethos of their DIY punk rock beginnings remains fully intact. The last time they stopped down in the City of Trees was in 2018, so nearly every song was fresh to their fans in the audience. 

(Photo: Arianna Kharizz)

The energy in the room was palpable, and just as it reached its peak, singer Stephan Babcock took a moment mid-song during “Scorpion Hill” to make a suggestion to the audience: “I’m not one for authority, and I’m not necessarily telling you what to do, but I have a suggestion…” he said before inciting the most ferocious, yet somehow equally respectful circle pit that Treefort will likely see this year. And when the song ended, even those who weren’t running around in circles in pure joy felt the dizzying effects of a punk band who knows how to channel their superpowers and use them for good. 

A no nonsense, no encore kind of band, PUP naturally finished their set on this final stop of their tour with “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You Then I Will.”  When the music ended and fans started filing outside, the hum of the generator powering the band’s tour bus parked outside was audible. And if you peeked inside through the one open window on the bus, a rainbow flag hanging inside could be seen with the cheeky inscription, “I Lost My Virginity To Morbid Stuff.” A funny and fitting anecdote to accompany another notable first, as the Treefort Music Hall was now sufficiently christened.

For more information about Treefort Music Festival and to check out their schedule visit treefortmusicfest.com

— Read our interview with PUP here —