Monday, February 09, 2009

I Don't Trust Anyone Who Doesn't Use The F-Word

Fucked Up / Mika Miko
The Independent, San Francisco
February 8, 2009

Fucked Up are different type of Punk band.. I've found it hard to explain this to people who haven't heard them, because as soon as I say "Have you heard the band Fucked Up?" some folks can't get past the name. The band's last album, The Chemistry Of Common Life, was one of my favorite albums of 2008.. The album opens with a flute solo (performed by the mom of one of the band members), but then ascends into the most glorious mayhem in recent memory.. Plus, they're Canadian.

I've been wanting to see Fucked Up for a long time but kept missing them... Gilman St... missed 'em.... Hemlock... couldn't make it... So the band's return made my old bones very happy. It also made me happy that despite the rainy night, the Umlaut Nation was nicely represented at The Independent... so a shout out to Timo, Teri, Johnny, Joey, Ray, and Hard Rock Chick.

The main support band, Mika Miko, were punky as all get-out in that Kill Rock Stars way that is still relevant; I also liked how they made comments that took the piss out of the first band. FYI: I'm not even gonna mention the first band by name because they annoyed me far too much, but basically their set seemed to be a musical version of THX-1138 (including costumes and footage from the film projected on a screen). I shit you not.. Now, if they had based their show on Howard The Duck that might have impressed me. Somewhere up in Marin County, George Lucas doesn't care.

Fucked Up played Slayer followed by cello music over the PA before they came onstage.. When they did hit the stage Damian (aka Pink Eyes) was cordial and grateful for the crowd who came out on a rainy Sunday night... but as soon as the 3 guitars, bass, and drums launched into the first song, Damian was transformed into a whirling, 300 pound dervish; at one point he did a cartwheel and spent alot of time in the crowd. He also showed alot of back and ass hair. It was the type of performance where it felt like anything could happen, and gigs don't have that vibe very often these days..

They blasted through raw renditions of 10 songs, with 'No Epiphany' being the stand out for me. Damian also free styled a song about Berkeley, Oakland, and S.F., but I have to take his word for it because I couldn't understand everything he was ad libbing, but he gets an "A" for effort. The set closed with a raucous version of 'Police' dedicated to Oscar Grant and his family (The band had played a benefit for his family at Gilman St. earlier in the day)... and then Jello Biafra joined them onstage for the encore:

'Blitzkrieg Bop'
(Video by Umlaut - Watch with the "HQ" option)

For those keeping score, this was the 3rd show in a month that found Jello and Umlaut in the same room; it feels alot like 1992 these days. Trivia: The naked guy who jumped on Damian's back was thrown out onto the sidewalk by the club's bouncers soon after he jumped into the crowd.. Yes, he was still naked. Just another rainy Sunday night in The Lower Haight, man.

Fucked Up are the type of band who could change a kid's life. Seriously. They are D.I.Y. in the best sense of the term... They have a charismatic front man and play the shit out of their instruments. They write intelligent songs about engaging subjects, such as their contempt for organized religion... They play aggressive songs you can play loud and fuck shit up... The creativity they display in the studio (such as layering 18 guitar tracks into one song to create a wall of sonic beauty) shows their vision is larger than most bands in their genre.. They put on great shows... They have a sense of humor.. They know how important vinyl albums and limited edition 7" singles are to the Music Geek experience. I wish I could be a naive teenager again to discover Fucked Up and have them steer me on the course to Music Geek enlightenment. Amen.

Gallows hoodies = 1 (mine). If you bought one of every Fucked Up merch item you would have paid around $115. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I found it odd that The Independent censored the band's name on the flyer for the show that was plastered all over S.F., but they didn't censor it on their marquee. San Francisco can be so uptight and PC here in the 21st Century.. The "*" is a sign of repression, man.

On another note, Umlaut just received a nice e-mail from Rob of Amebix in response to my rant about their S.F. show last month. It made my morning... cue more coffee!