Fucked Up The Opera House, Toronto, ON February 26

Fucked Up The Opera House, Toronto, ON February 26
After promoting this major hometown show as an opportunity to hear the Polaris-winning hardcore-crossover kings play their neo-classic The Chemistry of Common Life front to back, it didn't take long for Fucked Up to break from their own script. Given that it's the band's total disregard for musical norms that's elevated them to international punk-hero status, it's only fair that the audience should have seen it coming.

After a brutally precise opening that moved from a gentle flute solo into the searing "Son the Father," Fucked Up proved they were on point and, unlike some fumbling early attempts at live interpretations of ChemCom's many nuances, completely capable of balancing the fury of their infamous live show with the depth of their recorded output. But after "Magic Word," the band moved right into the bouncing "David Comes to Life" from Hidden World, marking the first of several deviations from the expected set list.

From then on, the band moved between their full-length and singles output, with a focus on ChemCom dictating the direction of the night and leading to a triumphant (first) finale of the record's epic title-track closer. In between, Fucked Up touched on such favourites as "Crusades" and "Baiting the Public," both of which sent waves of concertgoers stage diving into a mix of hardcore kids and confused hipsters.

While it's obvious the band's audience is shifting, it doesn't seem to affect their performance, and the larger room/more crossed arms did nothing to dull their sonic charge. After announcing that they weren't going to pretend to leave the stage for an encore (and reminding every kid in the room to try to start a band at least once), they burst into a furious cover of the Sex Pistols' "Bodies" and finally their own blistering "Police," a grand closer proving that while the band have evolved since their early seven-inches they are capable of mixing both disparate aspects of their sound into one monumental live experience. It's why they're the most important Canadian band going right now. Period.