Thursday, April 12, 2012

Concert Review + Pictures - Fucked Up at Lincoln Hall, April 9, 2012

"So then I get home from the office and am trying to finish my work when remote server kicks me off while I'm in the middle of something and then I just say 'You know what? I need to go to a punk show.'"

At the time that struck as just about the best possible way that Matt could prepare himself for a concert like this. Forget pre-gaming, just build up an undercurrent of white collar anger and frustration. It's the emotional powder keg that Fucked Up's three-guitar attack was specifically designed to set to spark. 

I could sympathize with him too. When dealing with my own frustrations this past year, be they personal, professional or political, I've turned all to often to their opus (and my second-favorite album of 2011) David Comes To Life which they would be playing front-to-back this evening. I was looking for a night that would make me forget that I'd spent the afternoon helping old ladies plan garden parties (not that that's a terrible job by any means, but it doesn't exactly make you wanna sing the body electric either).

I was especially pleased that Matt made it out on Monday night because he'd also remembered to grab his Canon EOS REBEL T3i, which I knew meant that we'd be coming home with some pictures that would actually do some justice to our concert experience (unlike any attempts I make on my shitty pocket Samsung).

I'd arrived earlier than he, in time to catch most of the opening set by Lasers and Fast and Shit (live experience, ibid. their name) who played a viciously fast and loud style of punk that I find easier to respect than enjoy before making way for everyone's favorite Canadians to take the stage.

It was impossible not to be impressed by the sheer ordinariness of everyone who wasn't Pink Eyes as the band set up, they all looked like responsible, clean-cut potential suburban parents, not the world's preeminent hardcore band. But just like the Pixies, they do create an unholy and glorious wash of filth when they plug in and tonight they were tight as ever. After the airy feedback wash of "Let Her Rest", they thundered along for 90 unflagging minutes of monstrous slow-building, hard hitting punk epics that comprise their best album. Particularly impressive this night were drummer Guinea Beat (Jonah Falco) and bassist Mustard Gas (Sandy Miranda). The clean mix allowed their impressively inventive rhythms percolate beneath the sheen of guitars with balance and clarity.

As with any Fucked Up concert, the band was functionally a seperate perfomring entity, staying on-stage while lead singer Pink Eyes (Damian Abraham) roams the room shirtless, sweaty and screaming. In the cozy confines of Lincoln Hall practically everyone on the floor was able to slap his sweaty back and he even burst into restaurant area several times, startling unsuspecting bar patrons who seemed oddly surprised by to suddenly face-to-face with a large screaming shirtless man. It's an act reminiscent of Les Savy Fav's shtick only, unlike Tim Harrington, Pink Eyes' crowd antics were more heart than art with hugs and smiles abounding.

It was also extremely effective, being able to watch and audience thrash, pogo and sing alongside their musical hero was a galvanizing sight and Abraham's obvious devotion to the fans combined with the bone-crushing musical backing was too much to resist. It was art in the truest sense - it provoked reaction, spurred thought and turned personal emotion into something generally translatable and transmittable. After the show Abraham was kind enough to stick around talking to fans and seeing massive dudes who'd been violently throwing themselves into a mosh pit moments before now grinning like children on Christmas morning 

It's the kind of thing that makes you not only care about the band and want to see them, but to give them some of your hard-earned money and take a piece of the night home with you, the experience so infectious. Anyway, I for one was happy for the chance to plop down $5 for the "What Words Can Do" b/w "What Would You Do" (For Veronica)? 7". I got home and put it on the turntable only to discover that Fucked Up shared a songwriting credit with none other than The Man himself, Ted Leo. Some nights, everything just comes together.

David Comes To Life  Buy Hidden World
Turn The Season  Buy David Comes To Life
Into The Light  Download David Comes To Life Singles (Rare, and so totally worth it.)

Thanks again to Matt for the pictures!

All photos copyright Matt Conzen 2012.

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