Fucked Up

support Terrible Feelings + Lower
author PP date 02/11/11 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Ever since witnessing a half-naked fat man maniacally storming from side to side on a stage while bleeding from his head at Roskilde Festival two years ago (in a set that blew away everyone watching), Fucked Up has enjoyed a "must see" status on my lists of bands to check out in club venues whenever possible. These artistic hardcore punkers / post punkers have received critical acclaim for both their live performances and their studio output in an unusual agreement between the underground and the mainstream media, but it is the latter that contributes to the weird audience structure tonight. Usually, a show associated with punk or hardcore isn't this well attended (Loppen sells out shortly after the doors opening), and the people certainly don't look as mainstream with their brand-awareness, trendy scarfs, and general Copenhagen Hipster (tm) outlook. My guess is these people have read glowing reviews on Pitchfork and Soundvenue on the hardcore opera "David Comes To Life" and chosen to attend the show without further knowledge to the band. Those people were in for a surprise...but lets deal with the support first.

Lower

Lower from Copenhagen are the only Danish band on the bill tonight, and boy oh boy do they fail miserably at representing the Copenhagen underground here tonight. The first song, which must be close to five minutes song, honestly sounds like it's part of a sound check where all instruments are completely out of tune. It soon becomes clear that this is exactly what Lower are going for: experimental distortion and completely off tune instrumentation. Some sort of horrific mutation of noisy post-punk or something, is what it sounds like. It also sounds like horse shit. You don't need to be a music expert to realize that Lower are never going anywhere as a band, not now, not in a decade. Not just is the band's unmelodic off-tune 'music' awful, but their vocalist, who looks like an archetypical English football hooligan, is horrible. If you thought the guitars were off-tune just wait til you hear this guy torment you. And if by some miraculous means you think that Lower plays good music, then my friend, you know absolutely nothing about music and are probably a massive douche hipster.

3

Terrible Feelings

It takes all of five seconds for Terrible Feelings to portray themselves as the polar opposite live band to the torture we just witnessed. They're a Swedish garage punk / rock'n'roll band with a female vocalist, who appears to suffer from a severe tendency to seizure on stage to the rhythm of the music, which looks pretty funny, but creates a sense of unpredictability to their set. That's something they need, because the songs are only semi-catchy, and sound a little bit too much alike to impress on first listen. Decent songs, but nothing to write home about, if you know what I mean? But in between songs, you do get the idea that there are some very eccentric and interesting people behind the moniker, given the confidence and easy-going chatter they emit all the time. It's a shame they don't have time to interact more with the crowd. In any case, Terrible Feelings play with a sense of determination, but to little avail, as most people merely stand still watching the band. There's not much else to say, as the band plays their songs and that's about it.

Fucked Up

As soon as Fucked Up get on stage, it's a completely different story. Not just does the crowd enter into a frenzied mosh pit that doesn't cease before the end of the set, but the little things that Fucked Up and especially their vocalist do during the set is what makes it stand out from your regular hardcore show. Damien Abraham is like a storm on stage: when he's not busy traversing all the way from on top of the amps on the left to the amps on the right side of the stage, he'll be hugging people at front, generously handing the mic to allow for sing and scream alongs, even crowd surfing during the encore (he is really fat, so that's an achievement.. especially at Loppen where the roof is hanging so low!). It only takes a couple of tracks before he takes his shirt off - signature event at any Fucked Up show by the way - as he's sweating like a pig, but that doesn't seem to bother the crowd up front who have physical contact with the man all the way through.

He does all of this with so much enthusiasm that the vocals are occasionally a problem. Not because the sound isn't good - it's great tonight - but because he almost forgets to sing/scream into the mic as he hangs it somewhere between himself and the audience members up front most of the time. It's a passionate and honest showing that's a tell-tale sign that despite enormous success and numerous awards, fame has not gone into this band's heads just yet.

The rest of the band, although usually sidelined into a supporting role for Abraham's antics, does a commendable job as well. The female vocals by Sandy are spot on ("Dying On The Inside" incites a big sing along), and the rest of the band are happy to do their small, yet intensive movement in their respective spaces. In many ways, they function as the rhythmic, predictable contrast to Abraham's stomping stance across the stage, and this arrangement fits the band perfectly.

A few older songs are aired as well, featuring a distinct basement punk rock feel which fits the venue of Loppen a little better. Not because the ambitious newer material isn't good, but because it's simply designed for much bigger rooms and venues than the 400 capacity Loppen. So even though encore song "Invisible Leader" sounds good (what happened to "Crooked Head" in the setlist?) sounds great, something's missing from the unpredictable and amazing show at Roskilde Festival a few years ago.

Photos by Rasmus Ejlersen

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