Expectations are high tonight. After releasing the best album of 2018, Fucked Up need to do something special to live up to their own standards. The mood in the room is one of camaraderie, with everyone unanimously anticipating the events about to unfold.
A gang of four misfits who don’t look comfortable in their own skin arrive on stage. What Chastity (7) lack in aesthetic cohesion – which really isn’t a consideration in punk music – they make up for with an eclectic blend of influences. There are shoegazing moments that are reminiscent of Deftones, the bass tone has a distinctly Sonic Youth vibe, and the guitar has a sliding atonality a la Dead Kennedys. It’s a charming and alluring mix. Manning Hill is introduced as being a song about their hometown of Whitby, Canada, but despite its lyrical narrative, is far from being a pop punk song. It’s a wild amalgamation of the aforementioned influences, and goes down an absolute storm. An excellent choice of opening band for the night.
Starting their set with the mid tempo title track of last year’s stunning Dose Your Dreams, Fucked Up (9) kick off proceedings in as artistically dexterous a way as one would expect of the Canadian sextet. It’s a bold move to start things so slow, but when Damian Abraham leaps up to the mic to deliver his first lines, the venue erupts into bedlam. The entire first third of the building becomes a mosh pit that doesn’t stop til the gig’s end. The energy isn’t exclusive to the crowd; the whole band groove along with the music, pounding away at their instruments, while Damian dances and prances across the stage and into the fervent arms of the crowd.
The setlist leans most heavily on Dose Your Dreams, but spans the vast majority of Fucked Up’s glittering career. Son the Father gets an early showing, Queen of Hearts provokes a rabid response and Baiting the Public turns the already frenetic crowd even more lively. Every song is carefully chosen to flow from one to the next in fluid fashion, and each gets a singalong from the crowd of die hard fans. The biggest and most joyous onstage moments of the evening come with the refrains of David Comes to Life, I Hate Summer and finale, The Other Shoe. However, new material seems to get the best reaction from the crowd. Heartening to see given how criminally overlooked Dose was by the vast majority of the press.
Four of the six members provide vocals for tonight’s performance, each with their own unique flavour to bring to proceedings. Bassist, Sandy Miranda, lends a clean and restrained voice to the likes of Tell Me What You See, all the while playing those hammering basslines. Guitarists, Josh Zucker and Ben Cook both give dexterous performances, from lightly spoken word passages on Normal People to quintessential hardcore screaming on Accelerate, while percussionist Jonah Falco takes on some vocal duties on a beautiful rendition of Love is an Island in the Sea.
Fucked Up’s entire performance is one of boisterous, riotous energy. Filled with cheer and anti-authoritarianism, exploring disillusionment and existentialism it could be dissected in an academic essay just as much as it can be danced, screamed and moshed to. A genuine wonder of a band. Bringing the art to punk, and joy to The Garage, they close a rampaging set excellently, and when the dust has settled, everyone is left feeling a little lighter of heart than when they entered.