Deaf Institute, Manchester
Even as hardcore frontmen go, Damian Abraham is a lively character. We’re barely three songs into the set before he’s clambered atop the bar and thrown his shirt into the cheering throng; his intense presence seems to cover every inch of the room tonight, from the balcony to the seating tiers at the back. Screaming and grinning manically throughout, pausing mid-song to pose for photos with fans, smashing plastic cups into his forehead… Long-term fans of Fucked Up will already know all this, since it’s been ol’ Pink Eyes’ schtick for years now. And it’s no surprise that the fans love him so much, this hirsute, growling bear of a man who’s nothing if not affably sincere: he’s captivating.
But to focus on Abraham does a disservice to Fucked Up – his relentless energy would count for nothing if the guys onstage weren’t cooking up one hell of a noise. Jonah Falco pummels the living shit out of his kit, adding pep’n’power to the deafening roar of the bands’ three guitars. Ben Cook sings the winning hook to ‘Black Albino Bones’, but it’s bassist Sandy Miranda who helps to animate the more recent songs from ‘David Comes To Life’. Amongst the effects-laden racket, it’s her basslines that truly drive the songs forward, whilst her harmonies on ‘The Other Shoe’ and ‘Queen Of Hearts’ add a touch of pop class to their irresistible psych-punk explosion.
The energy is contagious, the urge to shout along apparently uncontrollable. It shouldn’t feel this euphoric to scream “It’s hard enough being born in the first place / Who would ever wanna be born again?” along with 250 other people. But when Abraham drapes his arm across you in the middle of the pit and passes the mic over… well, how can you possibly feel otherwise?