Technology with attitude

Review: Fucked Up Ignites Capitol Hill Block Party With Blistering Set


Toronto’s Fucked Up took the Neumos Stage Friday Night and took over the Capitol Hill Block Party’s opening night. In front of a packed house with oppressive heat they unleashed a barrage of hardcore riffs and positive energy that left everyone in the room exhausted at the end.

Picture by Andrew Eide

Make no mistake about it, Fucked Up is a hardcore punk band. However, they are far more nuanced than the run of the mill hardcore outfit. Where most hardcore music is a barb-less wall of feedback, distortion and three chords, Fucked Up actually finds the time to hammer out melodies and intelligent chord progressions.

That’s not to say they don’t also hit you with a wall of noise. With three guitarists on stage there is plenty of power rock spewing forth. Friday night the band was as tight and energetic as you can imagine.

The highlight of their set was lead singer Pink Eyes. He is the ring master of Fucked Up’s circus. Perhaps calling him the lead ‘singer’ is a stretch. Lead vocalist, lead throat or lead screamer might be more apt. Along with his powerful voice Pink Eyes physical presence his hard to turn away from. He is a behemoth on stage, bald, hairy and overweight.

He suffers from no body images as he quickly shred himself of shirt and hat during the first song. He even has a sense of humor about it, dedicating the song ‘I Hate Summer‘ to anyone who was overweight like him.

Punk rock music’s appeal has always been one of breaking down the barrier between fan and band. Nobody exhibits this ethos more than Fucked Up did at Neumos. Pink Eyes did his best to engage everyone at Neumos. He crowd surfed during several songs, never missing a line and never being dropped by the Fucked Up faithful. At one point he sang an entire song from the floor, working his way to the back of the room and eventually on to the bar where he finished the song.

On his way back he hugged nearly every member of the packed house. They hugged him back, thanking him for blowing them away.
He wasn’t the only one too, as nearly every member of Fucked Up took turns riding the crowd, usually not missing a note on their instruments. This included bass player Mustard Gas who after one crowd surf had her bass unplugged. She struggled to plug it back in before giving up and jumping back into the crowd.

At the end of their set the Neumos stage was littered with clothes and empty beer bottles which somehow fit the scene entirely. As sweaty and weary fans made their way out of Neumos one had to feel bad for any band that had to play after Fucked Up. There is no way they would be able to match what had just occurred.

In a music industry where mellow, soft pop is the rule of the day Fucked Up is here to remind us all the power of rock and roll. It’s hard to imagine any other band bringing the type of energy that Fucked Up did for the rest of the Block Party.

Fucked Up is touring to support their latest release “David Comes To Life” and their tour continues through the U.S. in July before heading to Europe in August.