BY JORDON CHIARELLI
Two Friday nights ago was a bit of a homecoming for Toronto’s Fucked Up who played a high energy, hour long set at the landmark, Toronto Reference Library in the heart of downtown. The five story building, home to approximately two million books, was filled with kids and members of the media who stood anxiously atop the library’s blood red carpet during the nights opening act, $100.
Fucked Up threw the crowd a curveball, opening with “Two Snakes,” instead of their go-to opener, “Son the Father.” The acoustics rang loud and clear within the library’s open concept. The band played in the main foyer which is five stories high – each level circles around the walls all the way up – giving the show an almost outside concert feel.
The band then took some time to introduce a new song, which they have been playing live for some time, and the B-side to a recent single entitled, “Heir Apparent” (AKA “Holden”), after lead singer, Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham’s son. Soon after, the singer characteristically took off his shirt stating to the crowd, “I have to be the first person in the library to not be thrown out right away for not having a shirt on.”
As the crowd enthusiastically embraced new material and classics such as, “David Comes to Life,” and “Crusades,” from their first LP, Hidden World, the band brought up a string section and placed a podium center stage in order to play the band’s new single, “Year of the Ox.” The song spanned 12 minutes and Abraham had trouble reading the French lyrics, which are sung by a duet partner on the recording. Musically, the song was tight and it kept the audience enthralled enough to stop moshing for a few minutes and just listen.
To inject the energy back into the room, the band played their most rambunctious tune, the fan favourite, “Baiting the Public,” which needed library security and friends of the band to help hold up the stage lighting and monitors. Being that the show was in a library, there were no barricades and as fans rushed the band, they began filling onto the stage and either jumping back or circling the 6-piece into a pocket of chaotic energy.
The show wound down with a staple from the band’s back catalogue, “Police.” Abraham asked the crowd which would they rather hear, the aforementioned or “Black Albino Bones,” from their Polaris Music Prize winning, Chemistry of Common Life. But to cater to new fans, Fucked Up played the albums thunderous opener, “Son the Father,” before wishing everyone happy trails and reminding us all to, “support your public library.”