Fu**ed Up Live At Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds - June 2014
Over the last decade, Canada's Fu**ed Up have established themselves as one of the most interesting and inventive punk bands of the 21st Century thus far, combining frontman Damian 'Pink Eyes' Abraham's hardcore vocals with indie rock instrumentation. It was their unique musical delivery as well as their penchant for several minute long songs that resulted in their ambitious 2011 rock opera album 'David Comes To Life'. They're also known for being extremely raucous live and last night was no exception, as their tour of new album 'Glass Boys' came to Leeds' Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. This was Fu**ed Up's first time playing Belgrave and the place was packed for them.
Opening the show was Lower, who are essentially the anti-Fu**ed Up. Not remotely interesting, unique or active with their sound straight up ripping off Joy Division, due to the morbid vocals, sparse guitar and the clear rhythm section. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were some gripping song writing or a lively performance, but Lower were void of these things so you just found yourself drifting off.
Brooklyn punks Cerebral Ballzy were a vast improvement, playing a good combination of songs from new album 'Jaded & Faded' and their self-titled debut. Although they didn't have as vigorous a stage presence as their speedy 80s hardcore-styled records would suggest, they did please many a punk fan with frontman Honor Titus screaming himself hoarse, occasionally leaping around the stage and inviting fans to yell down his microphone.
When it comes to Fu**ed Up, though, chances are whoever's supporting will be blown out of the water. It was apparent from the start that their impressive contrast of extremely aggressive vocals and blissful guitars was even more powerful live, with Pink Eyes being every bit the wild frontman you expect, shamelessly shirtless and manically screaming by the time the first song is over.
Soon enough he was knee deep in the crowd, who were hungry to yell back the lyrics while simultaneously embracing him. This crowd were frantically surfing and stage diving, slamming into each other to the sound of the strings with Pink Eyes' vocals and his energetic persona spurring them on. The highlight of the show was when Pink Eyes ventured through the large crowd, climbed the soundboard on one side of the room and then the merch table on the other side before French kissing punters and sticking beer cups into his shaven head.
Towards the end of the show, 'The Other Shoe' got people dancing less aggressively due to its tender riff and bassist/backing vocalist Sandy Miranda harmoniously repeating 'dying on the inside'. It's impressive how Fu**ed Up could have a moment like this, alongside other moments of craziness, but it made the many wild parts of the show seem somehow more special. Following this, the band treated the fans to some of their early, more conventional hardcore songs such as 'Generation' and 'Police', which showed Fu**ed Up's sound could be bludgeoning with the best of them when they wanted it to. Obviously, these songs got a mental reaction from the most die-hard Fu**ed Up fans, especially when one of the three guitarists handed his instrument to one lucky member of the audience to strum away at.
A fantastic gig. What people of Leeds saw here last night was nothing short of magical. Fu**ed Up can definitely add Belgrave to the list of UK venues they've rocked the roof off of.
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