THE ALTERNATE REVIEW: Fucked Up – David Comes To Life (Matador)
By Laura Crapo
In a club, people stand disoriented like newcomers to Heaven.
There’s a certain sound when you stand in a hall at a rock concert. You hear the room- the room throbbing and reacting to the music, the sound of people. Sad, multi-coloured lights emit heat from their black cans. Duct tape masks the wounds of shows-passed. The only peace is in the music that transcends this space. It is the den of music.
You leave your home, walk in darkness, into a dark space. It is not meant to be seen with the lights on. The sound of rock sounds right in there.
I want to hear that sound on the Fucked Up record. I don’t want to hear the separation of sounds and then have them blended on a mixing board. No clarity. I want the music blended in that room where in wildness it emerged from its musicians. I want it like a river coming at me, in unison, everywhere.
Fucked Up is the kind of band that makes me wish I were in their band. The band members are nice people. They are fearlessly creative. When it’s on – it’s no holds barred. They understand that music is a form of expression, and a live show is a happening. There’s no ego. It’s liberating to watch them play. I feel an inner YES building throughout the live show.
I was never super into scary-sounding music. I guess early Sabbath and Deep Purple, I like a lot, and when AC/DC bells chime in their song, I’m in … but I don’t seek out metal or hardcore bands. I dated a few punk rockers. They played some loud records for me and I saw them in their own bands and they taught me guitar and drums and recording.
I liked having the merits of the Minutemen and Wire explained to me over time by a boyfriend. I have an appreciation for punk music. But I would never call myself a punk. I think punk is broader than the cartoon punk. To me, Rick James is punk. Little Richard is punk. Maybe I need the definition of punk explained to me, again, preferably by someone smoking hot. I guess in punk there’s a suggested fight between the oppressor and the not-victim. Cause they aren’t taking it. That’s the closest I got to addressing the louder style bands. I don’t have a good grasp on the history of louder music.
I don’t really care about genre. I just want to know if something interesting is happening in the music. The genre is just like the Tarot card. You can be the Fool or the Empress or be on top of the crashing tower with lightning and blackness and snakes and chains. Your creative stamp will show regardless of genre.
Some bands rise above categorization for other outstanding attributes, even if they conform to a musical template. Fucked Up defies categorization. So it doesn’t make sense to me to call Fucked Up anything other than a group of artists making music. Even though there’s yelling.
If there is a timeline of music written on the wind I feel that Fucked Up are reason to point your finger on that invisible rainbow vibration and say – this was special. Fucked Up showed up most of the bands I saw at ATP ny 2010. It was far and away the best performance. The audience fell in love with them. The audience became one being, sighing together, like a giant – it was like that.
Earlier that day, I spoke briefly with Damian in the hallway and introduced myself. In part, because I recognized him as the man whom with his infant child on his shoulders, introduced Sloan playing a free outdoor show at Dundas Square (previous site of my favorite roller disco rink The Terrace). I guess both of us being from Toronto meant we’d have a couple mutual friends, at the very least in Sloan. I had no idea he was, himself, in a band until he suggested I check out Fucked Up later that afternoon. I then told him I direct music videos, in a sort of right back at you, but I got the impression he was a well-rounded artist and maybe was pretty good at coming up with his own videos. I had no idea at the time, his would be the strongest performance of the weekend. Damian had a disarming openness and time for anyone who wished to speak with him. He did warn me that he might be acting different during the show and not to take it personally if he didn’t say hi when approached.
I understood later what he meant as his transformation into front-man was so committed as to be trance-like and glowing. He was beautiful.
The music seemed like a vehicle for the performance- lines for the character Damian became in the live show. The album is a way to remember the show or anticipate the show. To fully enjoy the show – memorize the album. So when Damian comes to you with the microphone, you are ready to scream the lyrics. It’s important to prepare. He wanders out into the audience.
Something I loved in their show was the contrast of Damian’s singing with the sweet, very melodic back up singing. The band was in control of shaping this sound that I had never heard before.
Let me produce their next record. It would be from a live show. I want to see a motion picture of live footage of this album. I want to see and hear the band.
Fucked Up make it come to life.