Toronto's most vulgar bring nudity, saliva and incessant stagediving to town. Monto Water Rats, London (July 14)
In the age of the tell-all confessional pop star blog or ‘indie’ bands who hire image consultants before they even sign a record deal, Toronto hardcore punk troupe Fucked Up possess that rare and precious thing: mystique. It might be hard to believe when their shirtless singer’s smashing bottles against his forehead and spitting water into the faces of the crowd, but for a long time the only way that you could find out much about The Myth was by going to see them live.
Certainly the records weren’t much help – apart from their sheer volume (since 2001 the band have put out more than 20 limited-edition seven-inches on tiny punk labels), they were also tantalisingly lacking in information. Rumours abounded that they were homeless, that they started out playing anarchist book fairs, that their guitarist was called Concentration Camp. Some were true, but the most important thing was the music – angry, political, perverse and forward-thinking, it injected the stale hardcore scene with enough ideas and energy to last until doomsday.
Now signed to mega-indie label Matador and popping up occasionally on mainstream music channels, what Fucked Up may have lost in mystique they’ve easily gained in adoration. Following scene-setting supports from Reading punks The Shitty Limits and the excellent weirdo art-noise of Nottingham’s Lovvers, the sexually and racially diverse audience are treated to a vital and joyous display of 21st century punk. Fucked Up, in return, are greeted like the underground heroes they so obviously are. Even hen they play obscure B-sides or previously unheard new tracks from their forthcoming album (there’s no airing of their famed 18-minute epic ‘Year Of The Pig’) the stagediving never lets up. A spoken-word monologue from singer Pink Eyes about his bellybutton fluff is accompanied by people doing backflips off the speaker stacks and guitarist 10,000 Marbles handing one kid his guitar. Really, you can only wish that there were more bands around like this.