Sleep be damned, I’m here with my second write up of the festival! Last night was a ton of fun, I spent most of my time at a happily rainless Y&D Square, but I made sure to fit in some other stuff as well. What did I see?
Fucked Up @ Y&D Square – You can’t really tell, but Fucked Up’s singer Damian Abraham is buried in the above picture somewhere. It’s a testament to their talent that Fucked Up can rock a show as big as the one they played last night and make it feel like a small club. They played with all of the energy and fury they’ve been known to embody, but still managed to connect with the audience on a gut level as well as an emotional one. Abraham spent the entirety of the set buried in the crowd with the die-hard fans — getting close enough with them to know where they traveled from to be there. Fucked Up know how to engage an audience, that’s for sure. When you see a band who are into their craft as much as Fucked Up are, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself. From making sure the moshers were alright to non-sarcastically thanking the security, they’re as committed to their art as they are making sure everyone has a good time. Another serious contender for show of the festival.
OFF! @ Y&D Square – I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that OFF! were playing in this slot, because their addition turned a great bill with one of my all-time favourite bands (more on that later), into something special. Last night was all about new-meets-old, and OFF! fits into that because they’re a meeting of minds between Keith Morris of Circle Jerks/Black Flag, Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald, and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From The Crypt/Hot Snakes). They played hard, fast, short and loud politically charged punk rock — not groundbreaking stuff but you don’t see it being done so well these days. Keith Morris had his share of cliche sounding between-song rants, but that only added to the time-warp sensibility OFF! has. By the end of their set I thought their songs were starting to blend in to one another, but OFF! were a perfectly fine way to segue from Fucked Up to…
Descendents @ Y&D Square – Descendents are that band for me. The kind of band that when you first hear them you think “This is it, I’ve found my place in the music-listening landscape”. Growing up I listened to a lot of shitty music, but when I first put Milo Goes To College into my tape player everything changed. They were hard and fast too — like a lot of stuff I had heard at the time — but they were funny, and goofy. They liked coffee as much as I did, they were nerds just like me, and they sang about girls, but it wasn’t lame it was honest. Last night I finally got the chance to see them live, and it was everything I expected it to be. They rolled out with their theme song — no not “Theme” — “Descendents”, and then proceeded to play a stacked set of hits (“Coffee Mug”, “Myage”, “I’m The One”, “Silly Girl”, “Everything Sux”, “Bikeage”, “Coolidge”, “Hope”, “I’m Not A Loser”, and more). Things even took a turn for the adorable when Milo brought out his two kids and had them sing the “All-O-Gistics” with him. I couldn’t have asked for a better set from them, and now I’m happy to say I can cross moshing to the Descendents and singing along with all the other fans off my “before I die” list. Amazing. A year-making set for me.
PS I Love You @ The Horseshoe – I wasn’t sure I would be able to get into The Shoe after seeing a lot of tweet-activity about the place being rammed, but I rode my post-Descendents quest-for-all high down Queen street and tried anyway. I was happy to get in, but twitter was right about it being packed to the gills. I didn’t bother pushing my way up front, and although I couldn’t really see the band, I liked their set. I’m not sure what else to say, if you liked their album you’ll like them live. They have great energy and they play LOUD. It seemed like a short set, but that is probably because I was a little late and they apparently had some amp problems earlier.
Suuns @ The Horseshoe – I’ve heard people saying that Suuns should have been on the Polaris list, and from their set I can understand why. I was skeptical at first because their singer had this sarcastic, eye-rolling thing to his performance that kinda threw a curve-ball at me, but as I let myself go with it I found they won me over quickly. To me they kind of sounded like Health by way of Clinic, with plenty of minimal dance, krautrock and noise influences on their music. I’m definitely going to go and check their stuff out after last night’s performance, they sound like they should be right up my alley.
I ended the night at Rancho with our good friends The Cheap Speakers. What’s to be said about The Cheap Speakers that I haven’t said before? They put on an energetic set and it seemed like the crowd up front were digging them. I let my tastebuds get the best of me though, and stuck at the back for a few beers before grabbing a quick 3 hours of sleep. Now the weekend is upon us and the real craziness starts. Let’s do this NXNE!