Fucked Up - Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Tue 11 May 2011
Their sweaty whirlwind plants a slobbering kiss on Reekie
Opening this Canadian double header is Black Lungs, a side project from Wade MacNeil of post-hardcore stalwarts Alexisonfire. They tick several clichéd punk boxes with spitting, posturing and utterly generic riffage; coming across as a slightly garish pub rock band. They’re clearly having a blast, but it’s far less fun to observe.
Witnessing the media-shy, esoteric Fucked Up of the early 00s progress into the happy-go-lucky party band of recent years is a peculiar one. Gone is the menace and mysticism of the Toronto outfit’s earlier material in favour of hooks and festival appearances. Some recorded misgivings aside, their saving grace in the live environment is frontman Damian Abraham.
‘Edinburgh is one of the most underrated music cities in the world!’, he claims, before explaining they won’t be doing their excellent Shop Assistants cover in the band’s native town due to a lack of practice, and quips, ‘If you want professionalism, don’t come and see Fucked Up!’.
Armed with one of the longest microphone leads imaginable, he stalks, gurns and cartwheels through the pit like a mad uncle – occasionally posing for cameraphone photos. Older highlights like ‘Two Snakes’ and ‘Police’ (or in tonight’s case ‘Polis’) bludgeon through the crowd in a spectacular foray. Finishing with a relatively raging cover of Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’ – their sweaty whirlwind plants a slobbering kiss on Reekie.