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« Review in Pictures: Against Me! @ the Aragon Ballroom, 7/3 Look! Up in the sky! It's neon! And it's made from hooves! It's.... »

Review Sun Jul 11 2010

Fucked Up @ Empty Bottle 7/9/10

A large group of people awoke Saturday morning to bruises, dislocated shoulders and a case of tinnitus. These are the people that went to see Toronto band Fucked Up play at the Empty Bottle Friday night. The Bottle, despite the name of the bar was packed with eager fans awaiting to see the six piece ensemble. The show was a tribute to the spirit of early hardcore and a true resurrection if punk was ever really dead.

The night was opened by two bands that held their own in the intensity of the night. Vortis were delightfully loud and punk rock in both sound and beer spitting visuals. Tight Phantomz played a satisfying set infused with a harsh progressive-epic sound. By the time they were ending the place was shoulder to shoulder with Fucked Up fans, a pretty awesome energy to be a part of.

The band came on slowly, tuning while all around me the question was "Have you seen them live before"? We were a mix of loyal fans as well as speculators wanting to get a taste of what we knew we were missing. I being the later was a little nervous. The last time I could remember this kind of raw punk excitement was seeing Nomeansno at the Fireside Bowl in the late 90's. For a moment it was a quick homecoming back to those days and yet, I had very little understanding about this band or how they were live. All I knew was a few of their songs and that they had released Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009, a collection of their prolific body of work this past January.

As soon as lead singer Damian Abraham (also known as Pink Eyes) showed his presence on stage the room settled down and we were off. By the end of the first song, the fans could not contain themselves and a rabid pit of moshers congregated to the front of the stage, pushing each other to the screams and harmony of the fast paced noise that blurred faster than you could hear it. You could see the sweat combusting when bodies collided to the vicious screams. The set was new and the fans were already in full form.

Abraham has an onstage "Iggy Pop complex" in that we could wonder if he has ever performed in a shirt. He referred to himself as a "fat guy" while joking about about accidentally wearing an offensive t shirt to his kid's mommy meet up. He charms the audience with these stories as affectionate punk rock taunts were exchanged. Within these interludes was a promise of a new album in the very near future. While the rest of the band stayed in the background, the connection that Abraham has with his audience is unique. In return, he expressed a special connection with us when he shared that he collects mid-90's Chicago pop punk records.

Some show highlight were the songs "Crusades" from the 2004 release Hidden World and "Police" while fans stage dived tearing at each other to jump in to the audience. The show ended with the Black Flag cover of "Nervous Breakdown".

This was the end of the show and it was taken with grace. No foot stomping or mass audience passive resistance of refusing to leave the venue until a three song encore was played. Everyone got it quickly and left. As I was leaving I passed by Abraham who was talking with fans in the audience. I left with a communal feeling, having had my first experience seeing the band. The next time they play here I will be the one of the many pestering newer fans and those curious about the band with "Have you seen them live yet?" and holding on because I know how cool that show is going to be.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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