Shacklewell Arms stage
“This is definitely the best dressed festival,” says Fucked Up’s singer Damian Abraham aka Pink Eyes. “There are dudes passed out on the floor who look better than I did on my wedding day!” With that, the maelstrom starts.
Fucked Up gigs are rarely reflective affairs. This is no exception, the band unleashing a triumphant sonic barrage, drawn heavily from its 2011 double album ‘David Comes to Life’, an everyday story of love, life and urban terrorism in and around a lightbulb factory in the the north of England in the 1970s
Pink Eyes spends all of the gig in the heaving, churning moshpit. Ecstatic fans embrace him, rub his bald head and drench him with water in a punk communion as he howls out lyrics in his barbed-wire-soaked-in-vodka rasp. The crowd know every word, even singing along to an untitled new rocker reminiscent of Pixies’ ‘Debaser’.
It’s a two-way process. Pink Eyes banters with the crowd and passes the microphone round during the tunes. He wants crowd and band to become a single joyful entity, jumping and screaming with spiritual abandon. By the end of the gig, he is way out in the middle of the crowd, feet up in the air, his extended microphone chord held aloft by the massed fans.
Meanwhile, the band never lets up. The muscular buzzsaw assault of the band’s three guitarists is a dense and layered block sound that threatens to take the top of my head off. During ‘The Other Shoe’ the band cuts out completely for the chorus as Pink Eyes, bassist Sandy Miranda and the crowd form a ragged choir, their repeat yowling of“Dying on the inside” becoming an affirmation.
“That was fucking intense!” grins a punter as the crowd stream out at the end of the show. The band have left but Abraham is still there, talking to fans and happily posing for photos. “We’re gonna come back real soon,” he promises one [in fact they played the following week at the Scala in London]. You’d better be ready.