Great Scott gets Fucked Up

, Staff

Punk rock has died more times than anyone can count. The oft-volatile genre has had so many phoenix-like demises and rebirths the phrase “punk is dead” should never be uttered again.

Proof positive: Fucked Up (along with up-and-comers Vivian Girls) practically tearing down Great Scott this past Sunday with their brand of fiery, intelligent, neo-punk rock.

Canada’s Fucked Up have been at it since 2001, with a bevy of seven inches and EPs to their credit. But the group took the public by the throat with 2006’s Hidden World – a brilliant album that destroyed a number of long-standing punk practices.&

The band took their sound further with 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life – featuring a number of the band’s revolutionary punk sound: complex arrangements, dense (if somewhat strange) lyrics and longer tracks.&

Boston was the band’s second stop on their tour supporting that album, and one would have no clue that the venue was only about three-quarters full by the amount of energy Fucked Up brought this night.&

The Great Scott’s structural integrity was put to the test early as Fucked Up’s portly lead singer (codename “Pink Eye”) hung from support bars and caused speakers to sway from his thunderous dance moves. It also doesn’t help that Fucked Up is a six-piece playing on a stage that seems as though anymore than four would cause it to collapse.

Fucked Up played a combination of tracks from both albums – balancing plenty of up-tempo songs with more cerebral ones. The small pit went crazy as the band ripped into Hidden World anthem “Crusades,” with much of the frenzied crowd screaming out the closing lines, “We die / Then we’re born again.”

Energy was in excess over the course of the hour-long set. Pink Eye actually threw many a stage-diver into the pit and there was a revolving door of fans eager to dive into the sparse crowd – with more than a few bone-crushing falls. Chemistry standouts “Son the Father” and “Black Albino Bones” were flawless renditions and served as crests during the ebb and flow of the pit.&

Understandably, the energy tailed off toward the end of the show, that is, until the band broke into a version of now-punk cliché “Blitzkrieg Bop” to close the show. Any band who can play that song without an ounce of irony (OK, maybe they had an ounce) is good in my book.

New York lo-fi three-piece Vivian Girls opened the show to mixed reactions. The band’s self-titled album clocks in at just over 20 minutes, so their 30 minute set probably didn’t garner any new fans. I got the feeling that there was a Fucked Up contingent and a Vivian Girls contingent, as a number of fans filed out as the Girls wrapped up. But the sound was album-quality – which is to say fuzzed out guitars, reverb-y vocals and catchy, simple song structure.

Vivian Girls did just what an opener should do – not steal the main acts thunder. Their album is very solid and worth a listen, but the jury is still out on whether or not these girls can headline a tour with a twenty-five minute set.

As a journalist I am supposed to be objective and distant about the things I cover. But I don’t see how someone can stand on the sidelines when a band like Fucked Up takes the stage. Shortly after I left Great Scott my ears were ringing, my muscles were sore from catching flying bodies all night, my shirt was drenched with sweat and I smelled like a deadly combination of beer and body odor.&

And that’s the way it should be.

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