With a name like that, Fucked Up have a lot to live up to. On recent albums they’ve departed from their hardcore roots in pursuit of arena-sized guitar harmonies and grand concepts, but tonight they revisited their debut album Hidden World. This is not a band which relies on hit-laden setlists in order to sustain audience enjoyment, and frontman Damian Abraham remains one of my all-time favourites, for nothing else but his sheer enthusiasm. The band was thrilled to play a decent show after a disappointing set in Liverpool, and made their best efforts to show their appreciation to the fervent Leeds crowd. Abraham made his trademark crazed crowd-tour of the room, mic in hand, as the band casually watched on, playing diligently and glad to avoid some spotlight.
Fucked Up were known for stage antics and punk theatrics in their early days, but even in reliving old songs they felt no need to regress as a unit; they are a solid, bonafide rock band who make melodic, catchy songs, but who just so happen to have a zany, hardcore punk vocalist. The set consisted of Hidden World played from start to finish, and when put in the live setting I was reminded of how solid and consistent a work it is – the formula they used is simple but effective and incredibly infective. As an encore the band returned to the stage to sincerely thank the crowd.
They also dedicated their song ‘Police’ to the topical victims of police brutality in the USA and UK and declare their support for Black Lives Matter. This didn’t feel laboured, and I felt taken in by the band’s message.
You could say that Fucked Up are hardcore for hipsters, but they are so much more than that. They are a humble, cathartic mess and loud as hell but give you a Springsteen fist-pump feeling all at once. Don’t miss the chance to see them next time they’re in town.
Image: Arts & Crafts