Toronto’s Fucked Up has come a long way since it first took the stage in 2001 as a scrappy hardcore band, brought in hefty front man Pink Eye (Damien Abraham to his folks) and launched a blizzard of vinyl upon the world. Early in their career it became apparent this was a band with ideas: One early release sported a 16-minute long song with multi-tracked guitar, an extended drum solo and extensive whistling.This explains why among the fans packed into popular nightspot downtown Ritual, only one mohawk could be seen swimming shark-fin-like above the milling heads of the crowd and black leather jackets were in short supply.

At least opener S.H.I.T. played the punk part, with their black clad lead singer keeping a leather gloved grip on the microphone stand between declamatory verses and shouty refrains. The Toronto band’s hardcore stance was good enough to get some of the crowd moshing.

There was no such pushing and shoving during Crusades’ set. The Satan-worshipping (or at least, Anton LaVey-namechecking) Ottawa quartet tries to bring a touch of evil to their post-punk, and make a good Leatherface-inspired racket while doing so.

Toronto’s Moon King were a different prospect altogether. Born from the ashes of well-loved art-rockers Spiral Beach, they put on an excellent show that had little business being sandwiched between punk acts - even punk acts as prone to breaking the mould as Fucked Up. There was confusion and acclaim alike for their lively show - singer Daniel Woodhead likes to perch on the bass drum and wander into the crowd. Woodhead’s voice has the same boyish quality as Dan Treacy’s of the Television Personalities, but the sound was much more vigorous - akin to an amped up Vaselines, perhaps.

As soon as Fucked Up took the stage, the crowd started heaving. Concert promoter Spectrasonic takes pains to post signs warning against stage-diving, crowd-surfing and fighting. Only one of these rules was observed.

While the band was launching into ‘Queen of Hearts’, from their latest ‘David Comes To Life’, one show-goer was aloft, while the front row reached out to grapple Pink Eye as he headed to the front of the stage.The band charged through both new tunes - ‘The Other Shoe’ and ‘A Slanted Tone’ made an appearance - and popular favourites such as ‘I Hate Summer’ and ‘Black Albino Bones' from breakout album ‘The Chemistry of Common Life’, while bolder audience-members leapt on and off stage, in one case being put in a wrestler lift by Pink Eye. Finally Abraham himself surfed out over the amped-up crowd.

A relentless band and an enthusiastic crowd added up to a killer show, even if some folks likely ended up feeling a bit squished by night’s end.

















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