Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Live Shows: Fucked Up and Restraining Order, The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA 6/5/23

Photo by Jeannine Kaufer

June is a weird month in Boston. College is out for the summer, but the summer college kids aren't really here yet. High School is still in session, and companies haven't really started their laid back summer rules. That, and the fact that it was a chilly Monday night didn't help with attendance for the Fucked Up show at The Sinclair this week, but a decent number of people showed up and were treated to a killer live set by the Canadian hardcore heroes.

As you can probably tell, we aren't exactly a hardcore outlet, but something about Fucked Up just works for me. They just aren't your typical hardcore band. Sure, frontman Damian Abraham has one of the best hardcore growls out there, but the band hardly sounds or looks hardcore. Live, this was even more obvious. Fucked Up played as a six piece with three guitarists. Musically it seemed like everyone in the band was playing a different style. Different songs had differing levels of post-punk, indie rock, metal, funk, and occasionally hardcore.

Possibly due to his wrestling fandom, but Abraham is a killer frontman. He has a theatricality to his performance not typically seen in heavy music. You definitely knew you were seeing a show, not just a concert. Plus, he happily stepped out of the spotlight during instrumental parts or when another band member took over on vocals.

No hardcore show would be complete without some politics, and unfortunately with the world being what it is currently, declaring that black lives matter, indigenous lives matter, protect trans kids, etc. is considered political and not just an accepted statement that everyone agrees with. Abraham made those declarations which led into their song "Police," which led to the most active moshing of the night.

Fucked Up also did one of my favorite things by mocking the planned encore. Abraham thanked the crowd, then gave a big thumbs up and a cartoonish wink. Band members started leaving the stage, until there was just a recorded piano track playing. Before that was done, they were back on and played a two song "encore." They left the same way they did before, with drummer Jonah Falco ending the show with a killer drum solo. Hardcore legends indeed.

Western Massachusetts/Connecticut hardcore quartet Restraining Order opened the show with a thirty minute set. They were more traditional hardcore, and they very obviously had their own set of fans show up for the show. There was a lot of scream-a-longs to lyrics, and possibly the most active dancing of the night for their set. It was high energy hardcore that was impossible not to appreciate. 

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