Off! and Fucked Up - London, XOYO 25/08/11
Maybe Cerebral Ballzy were just putting on a particularly bad show, the sound wasn't very good for a start, but I think they genuinely might be the worst band I've ever seen. I don't really want to write more than that, as I would be giving them the attention they so obviously crave.
The appearance of OFF! was therefore like a breath of fresh air. Showing lesser hardcore bands how to be in your face, aggressive and close to the bone without being offensively annoying, OFF! put on the perfect abrasive show. Keith Morris's inter song banter was both genuinely heartfelt and witty. In terms of what OFF! are actually able to play there is not much to rave about musically. However, in live performance especially, the group manage to transmit an attitude that is compelling. Maybe not quite loud enough, but the group made up for it with their onstage movement. Morris looks crazed and brilliant while singing, and the other musicians crash about in a flurry of hair and noise. The band might be wizened and experienced, but this hasn't abated their love for performing. The songs may have been especially short but this only created the intensity and power of the whole thing, the band never outstayed their welcome and they were enjoyed by all.
Fucked Up must be the friendliest hardcore punks around. Pink Eyes interacted with the audience in almost a loving way, shaking each of their hands, letting them sing, giving out random hugs. While the music of the band is occasionally aggressive, loud and powerful, it is countered by the warmth the band emanate. In part this interaction harms the music, when the mic is being handed to random members of the audience we don't exactly get to hear the band properly. But then live performance is boring if an exact replica of the record and Fucked Up understand this.
Musically the band were as energetic and brilliant as ever but this was far from the point. The strength of Fucked Up is in the on stage antics, the atmosphere they create at their gigs and the sheer fun of the whole thing. The tiny space of XOYO was the perfect place to showcase this and the band didn't miss a beat. Possibly amongst my shows of the year.
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