Fucked Up Rifflandia, Victoria BC, September 14

Fucked Up Rifflandia, Victoria BC, September 14
Photo: Lindsey Blane
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Say what you will about Polaris Music Prize-winning punk sextet Fucked Up, they know how to put on a show. All the rumours about Damian Abraham are true — he acts a total lunatic onstage, delivering the most memorable clichés of the best fronts in music, real Iggy Pop shit up in your face.
 
Expressing gratitude to the working class who went straight to the venue, and the festival for booking them, Abraham started off their set by saying, "Thank you so much to the city of Victoria, one of my favourite places to go, where the weed is cheap, it burns clean and it just somehow tastes a little better out here."
 
He talked the talk, but he walked the walk. As soon as their set started, some guy threw a bunch of blow-up killer whales into the crowd. With pink and blue boxers popping out of his grey sweatpants, Abraham caught one of the little suckers, bit a hole in its belly, wore it as a hat, walked around the entire crowd smoking most of a joint to himself while screaming his head off, then partially mummified himself with the mic cable on the way back to the stage. He took a bit of breather on the photo pit gate for a few songs after that, before working his way back through the crowd, taking time to play whale with a little girl, and later suction cupped a beer to his bald head.
 
He took chances, and he rolled with the punches. Spinning the mic around a few minutes into their set, Abraham accidentally sent it flying into the crowd. It had been trickling rain for hours leading up to the set, so the cable was probably damp. Later, when the stage whined out painful feedback for a solid minute, he gave a shout-out to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore for his (imagined) guest appearance on guitar.
 
Granted, Abraham can't sing for shit, but the band sure play like he can, rocking hard and dynamically throughout their set, and his guttural growl-shouting suits their hardcore political messages, as most clearly expressed by their rendition of 2003 seven-inch cut "Police," a track dedicated to anyone who had ever been fucked with by law enforcement, be it racial profiling or any drug offense. You might not like their style, but you can't discount their substance.