Is a cacophony always a bad thing? Because tonight, Fucked Up undoubtedly make one, a bold one, but shunning the traditional definition, it’s also a glorious one. Two guitars is good, three is better, but four is some next level shit, and the sound emanating from the stage tonight is nothing short of devastating, like a constant stream of Harrier Jump Jets sonic booming directly into your face. Seeing such a powerful band in their natural habitat is always a visceral experience, but tonight they seem energised in a way we’ve not seen before, no doubt buoyed by the success of phenomenal new album Dose Your Dreams, from which a host of new songs are given an airing tonight, starting with the title track, surely one of the most natural openers ever penned. As with the album, vocals are occasionally shared around the band, giving the show a narrative one wouldn’t normally associate with punk, but which works perfectly for a band like Fucked Up, framing the chaos within a veneer of order. In a nice gesture of camaraderie, frontman Damian Abraham tends to squat by the drum kit when he is surplus to requirements, allowing his bandmates their moment in the spotlight, but when it’s his time to shine, the man is either dad-dancing like a man possessed by the spirit of jazz, or up on the barriers and in the faces of the front row. Normally a flailing, shirtless demon wrapped in blood and coaxial wires, tonight he comes across more human than usual, just one of us, soaking up the good vibes and throwing shapes unseen since the 90s in an unspoken challenge to fellow Canadian Drake for the title of worst dance moves ever. Around this unnerving but undeniably infectious display of positivity, the band stoically lock into each other to explore every corner of Fucked Up’s extensive back catalogue, mixing deep cuts such as 2003’s Baiting the Public with fan favourites including Magic Word and Son The Father, while forays into the riskier moments of Dose your Dreams come across less like experiments and more like old standards. A blistering hammer through the industrial techno pulse of Accelerate in particular proves to be a surprising highlight, while Living In a Simulation already feels like its omission from the setlist would be tantamount to mutiny. Even after 18 years as a band, Fucked Up are still just getting started, and lord help anyone that gets in their way.
Fucked Up’s new album Dose Your Dreams is out now on Merge