By TRAVIS MILES
On Jan. 20, punk music lovers piled into the Mansion House in St. Catharines as underdog success story, Fucked Up, came through town to unleash its brand of punk/hardcore/pop on anxious fans.
In the minutes leading up to the set, the members effortlessly packed five amplifiers, a drum kit and six people onto a stage that couldn’t have been more than 20- feet by eight-feet.
The band’s aesthetic would suggest that the audience was about to hear a sombre set of indie folk songs, but their opening note hit their ears like a sledgehammer to the face.
The rhythm section is a driving force, and the rare combination of three guitars is intricate and melodic, directly opposing the throat of lead singer Damian Abraham, known to his fans as Pink Eyes.
Abraham, whose constant growl has become a trademark of the band, moves as though he has some form of punk rock palsy, violently flailing his limbs and clenching his teeth between vocal parts. This presence is something that Ross Miller, a musician from Fonthill, attributes to his favourite part of a Fucked Up performance.
“My favourite part of the Fucked Up live show is definitely Damian. It’s great to see his reaction to the crowd and how happy he is when he is singing.”
Miller, who has seen Fucked Up “about 10 times,” explains why he keeps coming back.
“They are a great band. They are always changing, and they are always entertaining.”
Miller says that he enjoyed the Mansion House show especially.
“Seeing them here in a much smaller environment than I’m used to was cool. It was nice to see a crowd of people reacting to the music.”
And react they did, as excited fans bounced from wall to wall screaming back lyrics to lead singer Abraham.
He would occasionally toss the microphone towards an excited face, giving fans a chance to scream along with him. At several points throughout the set he abandoned the stage and took to the crowd. Singing and smiling amidst the swarm, you could see him feeding off the crowd’s excitment.
The band members played a set just over 40 minutes that climaxed as they began their encore when the mosh pit spread like an excited cancer and covered 90 per cent of the room.
Whirling, sweating and singing, this cluster of excitement carried on for half the song. After that, they played one final tune — requested by the crowd — packed up their cluttered gear and left a room full of satisfied and exhausted faces.
The band, which has been playing together since 2001, has gained notoriety for its destructively energetic live shows, relentless record releases and unique sound.
The band was the recipient of the Polaris Music Prize in 2009, and its latest full-length record — critically acclaimed rock opera David Comes to Life — was released in 2011.
For more information on the band, visit www.lookingforgold.blogspot.ca.
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