Two weeks ago my brother told me I should check out a show with him‚ so I asked him what the band was like. He proceeded by showing me a picture of an overweight hairy dude named Pink Eyes‚ with blood gushing from his forehead and a drumstick lodged in his rear end. Naturally‚ I accepted the offer. Although I'll admit my initial motives for checking out the show were only to see how much shit got destroyed in the art gallery where Fucked Up was to play‚ I grew to enjoy the demonic yelling of Pink Eyes‚ even if I couldn't understand it at first.
Fucked Up's newest album‚ Chemistry Of Common Life‚ takes a few listens to warm up to‚ but even the first time through it's easy to tell that the group have a lot more to offer than a traditional hardcore band. Pink Eyes' vocals are in the authentic hardcore vein‚ but once you actually can decipher what he's yelling‚ you learn he's got a lot of intelligent stuff to say. Also‚ rather than three-chord‚ two-minute distorted ditties‚ the band provide multi-layered‚ epic indie-rock that's catchy on first listen. After a week‚ Fucked Up's antics seemed normal to me‚ and I felt like I could even relate to them in some human way. By the time the show rolled around‚ I had even mustered up enough confidence to talk to Pink Eyes before his gig without fear that he would urinate on me or something like that. To my surprise‚ Mr. Eyes was a friendly gentleman‚ he shook my hand and was very polite. Two minutes later‚ he hopped up on stage and proceeded to‚ among other things‚ wrap the microphone chord around his head mid-song‚ attach a car battery clamp to his nipple‚ and crush a can with his skull before placing it on his head like an aluminum yarmulke. In between songs he smiled a bunch and told neat stories.
It was this contrast in emotions that helped the set thrive. For one night‚ it felt like G.G. Allin had risen from the grave and assembled a hipster super group to support him. Starting the night off right‚ the group launched into "Son The Father‚" a track that gradually builds for a minute and a half before all aurally pleasing hell breaks loose. When "Son" reached its climax‚ the audience exploded into the only truly authentic mosh pit I've seen in the great state of Maine. So began an aggressive yet intimate interaction between crowd and band‚ whereby each fed off from the other's antics. As if the intensity of Fucked Up's music wasn't enough to keep the crowd amped‚ Pink Eyes would often hand the microphone to an audience member‚ jump into the crowd‚ and even let possessed moshers ride on his back for a few seconds at a time. A half hour in‚ the crowd began to show signs of exhaustion‚ and although the pit calmed down‚ the quality of the music never tapered.
The show drew to a close after one short hour‚ but not until Pink Eyes tried his hand on the drums‚ an instrument that kept his hands so full he couldn't even beat himself. It was disappointing to see such a unique show end so quickly‚ but impressive how much more fulfilling Fucked Up's short set felt than many filler-loaded longer shows I've seen. Performing in such a destructive way obviously takes its toll on both musicians and the crowd‚ so the show should be considered a success seeing as only one guy had to nurse head wounds at the end of the night.