Fucked Up soundtrack the hopelessness of Election Night


All photos by Ben Stas.

“You’re scaring Drake. I hope you’re happy,” proclaimed Damian Abraham, a self-described terrified Canadian himself at the time, onstage Tuesday night (November 6) in Allston.

You’ll be beyond sick of hearing about the midterms by the time this review hits the web. But the fact remains that the Democrats did not officially reclaim the House until hours after Fucked Up finished pulverizing Brighton Music Hall. So throughout this show, while we all knew we were kind of screwed no matter what, the extent to which we were screwed remained undecided. Stuck in limbo between cautious optimism and bracing for existential despair, it was genuinely sort of nice to know at least seven folks from Toronto give a shit if America implodes.

To Drake and/or Fucked Up, though probably none of you will read this, it should nevertheless be said that your pals to the south appreciate you thinking of us while we’re muddling through this rough patch.

While flawless in its technical execution (at least in every regard that matters for this style of music), Fucked Up’s visit to Allston had a few design-related issues. But maybe those were actually fine? Y’see, within the context of the band’s stellar fifth studio album Dose Your Dreams, the Bee Gees-y title track (can I please call that song disco-core?! I really want to!) and the steady-going, zonked-out “Accelerate” feel like they belong exactly where they are. On Tuesday, they resonated like sidequests trailing off from a 90-some-odd minute adventure of serious ass punk rawk sublimity. Ambitious concept records and hardcore shows kind of serve different functions, y’know what I mean?

That said, the semi-deepcut “Generation” plenty compensated for any arguable misfires in the setlist. Also, Fucked Up introduced themselves to a global audience with a flute solo at the helm of their 2008 essential, The Chemistry of Common Life. So for many of us, a flute solo was the first Fucked Up thing we heard. Also, they’ve released a series of 12-inches corresponding with years of the Zodiac. Also, their name indicates a stupid, ugly band, when the actual members dress and talk in interviews like well-adjusted sociology graduate students. Unapologetic about their brainiess in ways their contemporaries wouldn’t or couldn’t be, for a while there back in the day, Fucked Up served as an unlikely conduit between the genuine underground and the kind of indie rock that used to be for sale at Starbucks.

So if unpredictability and flouting convention have always been part of the Fucked Up package and I’m citing the questionable inclusion of “Accelerate” and “Dose Your Dreams” in this performance as a negative worthy of note, maybe my thinking isn’t so far off from, for instance, a Star Wars superfan complaining about Kylo Ren killing Supreme Leader Snoke?

Of course Kylo Ren kills Snoke. Kylo Ren kills mother fuckers. That’s what he does. If the band that’s always done counterintuitive shit got too counterintuitive for me, maybe that’s my problem?

We know Abraham played a markedly reduced role on the writing of Dose Your Dreams (Noisey reports guitarist Mike Haliechuk and drummer Jonah Falco did all the compositional heavy lifting) and there’s been kinda-sorta speculation that maybe these people don’t necessarily get along super well since pretty much always. Could this be Fucked Up’s final tour? Probably not! But in the improbable case that it is, if future President O’Rourke can get Minor Threat back together to play his inauguration (as Abraham predicted/wished) perhaps he’ll do the same for Fucked Up, should they break up.

And let us not forget the opening bands. Richmond Vee Aye’s Candy need to cut most of their songs in half. No breakdowns, ever. All blast beats. If they do that, they’ll have fixed all their problems. Toronto’s Bad Waitress should not change any of their songs, and balance aggression and humor with unusual deftness. Most of us can only manage angry or funny, but Bad Waitress can do both of those at once.

Barry Thompson tweets occasionally @barelytomson.