Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fucked Up Wavves of Sound at Royale

Fucked Up put on one of the more memorable performances when I caught them earlier this year. In fact, they are simply one of the best live acts currently touring. There was no way that I was going to miss them when they made their second stop through Royale this year on September 23rd. I was especially interested in the show because of opener Wavves featuring notorious stoner Nathan Williams. He and his band have gone from a musical entity that I absolutely despised to one whose praises I have been singing as of late. It’s rare that a band is able to turn me around so drastically and I wanted to see if I could be won over by their live show as well.

It seems Williams has come a long way from his infamous meltdown in Barcelona. He put together a respectable band with bassist Stephen Pope and drummer Billy Hayes who both played in the late Jay Reatard’s band. Together, they released King of the Beach in 2010, an album that you would be hard-pressed not to enjoy. Since then, Hayes has been replaced by Jacob Cooper who played in the underrated and now defunct band The Mae Shi. This current lineup had excellent chemistry as the trio ripped through their jangly punk tunes. The energy level was way higher than I was expecting and it never let up. Their live sound for me was much more enjoyable than the studio recordings because it wasn’t flooded with a gratuitous amount of distortion like on their records, giving the songs more room to breathe. I was completely won over by the time they played my two favorite Wavves songs, “Green Eyes” and “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl” back to back.

Waaves – “Green Eyes”

Wavves – “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl”

Fucked Up are in an awkward position where they have becoming the ambassadors of progressive hardcore. Of all bands to represent hardcore, who thought that one named Fucked Up would rise to the top? When you see them live, it is easy to see why they are able to transcend the typical idea of what hardcore is and why they are able to attract fans that may have been turned off by the genre in the past. The six-piece meld razor sharps guitars, abrasive vocals, pounding rhythms, and introspective lyrics into a relentless live performance where you have no idea what is going to happen next.

Frontman Damian Abraham is, of course, the main attraction of this chaotic show. He is rarely seen on stage and when he is, he dawns the clothes that have being strewn about from people who are losing their minds on the floor. People are not shy to stand next to Abraham and grapple for the mic in order to sing along with favorites like “Queen of Hearts,” “The Other Shoe,” and “Crooked Head.” If you are on the floor when they play the commanding “Police,” you better be prepared to take some punches. This of course leads to problems like people thinking they can take a swing at a bouncer, which briefly interrupted the show before Abraham explained the situation and told the crowd that we need to respect each other. Thankfully, the show was able to continue without any more problems but what is a Fucked Up show without at least one fucked up moment? There is no doubt that I’ll be there the next time this frenzied spectacle makes an appearance in Boston.

Fucked Up – “Queen of Hearts”

Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe

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