SXSW Music: F*cked Up at Emo’s

I made it in through the back entrance of Emo’s a few songs into Fucked Up’s set. Vocalist Damian Abraham still had his shirt on so I must not have missed too much of it. For the uninitiated, Abraham has a tendency during their shows to remove his shirt. Something he would later in the set mention was first done at this very place some years ago. He said, “it was a day bigger guys suddenly felt a little more okay about who they were.”

Seeing Fucked Up live is quite an experience. The hardcore punk band from Toronto easily pulls off the intensity of their albums live. The intriguing thing about them is that they are more than your typical three chord, screaming punk band. Case in point their 2008 highly lauded, award wining LP Chemistry of Common Life opens with a flute prior to Abraham’s scream on the track “Son the Father”. Live, they are a bit of a different beast but still distinguishable. They pull off their layered sound very well; the blistering energy and intensity of their hardcore stylings on full display. This was also true of the sizable pit that was active through out the duration of their set. Stage dives were common as part of the constant swirl of motion taking place in front and to the right of the stage. Abraham standing over them from time to time shoving the mic into fans’ faces to help sing along.

It was nice to be among a crowd of fans, that’s not to say every one in attendance was into the show. A good half of the room was frustratingly standing around just taking in the show. Maybe it’s old age I’m not sure, but there are some shows that just require you to get into the pit and have a a good time; this was one such show. Abraham seeming to observe this himself would jump off stage, microphone in hand, and proceed to make his way on something that resembles a bit of a tour of the venue, or at least as long as the length of his cable would allow him to go in Emo’s.

At the end of the song and back on stage it was brought up what was supposed to be showcase headliner Gza or Wu-Tang Clan had to cancel. In his place fellow Wu-Tang associates Killah Priest and 9th Prince came out to hype the Gza-deprived fans in attendance with some Wu-Tang anthems backed by Fucked Up.

Fucked Up would finish out the set with a couple of songs after the brief Wu-Tang interlude. It was a short set for a band that has played for 12 hours straight and certainly left me wanting more.

I give Fucked Up at Emo’s 4 “First time Father Damien went shirtless” out of 5

By John Coovert

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