Fucked Up at La Sala Rossa, Nov 4 2018

For a Sunday night, Montreal had many options for concert goers on Nov 4th. Metalheads seemed divided between seeing Behemoth at MTelus or Windhand at le Belmont. Personally, I was originally planning on seeing some good ol’ Quebec grindcore at l’Entre-Nous. That is, until I got word that Fucked Up would be in town, along with hardcore sound-alikes Mil-Spec.

Fucked Up is currently on their North American tour in support of their newest album, Dose Your DreamsI’m still on the fence about whether I like it as much as the rest of their discography. There are some great songs with memorable hooks and inventive use of instrumentation. However, the punk aggression of singer Damian Abraham has less of a presence on the record. Abraham was under the impression that Fucked Up hit its creative peak with their 2014 record Glass Boys (I partially agree). But, lead guitarist Mike Haliechuk wanted to push the band in new directions, and thus wrote Dose Your Dreams himself. Vocals were mostly provided by Abraham, along with other members of the band and a few guest vocalists.

I’ve seen Fucked Up play live twice before. I wasn’t familiar with any of their songs then, yet I was nonetheless entertained by Abraham’s wild performance. He is known to smash pint glasses over his head, rip off his shirt and get in the fans’ faces. I made sure to dive deep into their discography before seeing them live for a third time at Sala Rossa. Their setlist included a few fan favourites like “David Comes to Life” and “Queen of Hearts,” but for the most part, consisted of numbers off the new record. As a result, I think the audience felt less inclined to move about and sing along. I also noticed a different energy with Abraham’s stage presence. Not wanting to steal focus from the rest of the band, Abraham would obediently crouch down during his non-singing segments.

Dose Your Dreams continues the story of the fictitious character David, as he experiences drug-induced hallucinations and holy visions. Staying true to the theme, psychedelic visualizations were projected on a screen behind the band. Samples were used for guest vocals and drum machines, as they appear in the album. As great as it was to see Fucked Up, I couldn’t help but think this was the last time I will see the Toronto six-piece in its current form. Moving forward, Abraham has admitted that he has different priorities outside the band. It’s very possible I have seen the beginning of the end of Fucked Up, as Abraham and Haliechuk take separate paths.