The downgrading of this gig from the Institute to The Rainbow was a blessing in disguise. The graffitied walls, dirty concrete floor, exposed rafters and numerous obstacles for people to climb up or hang off makes The Rainbow the perfect venue for tonight’s show.
Kicking off proceedings are 4 very strange young men from Copenhagen that could have been mistaken for some very lost train spotters if it wasn’t for the guitars strapped to them. They are Ice Age and they are, how do I put it, interesting. The drums are tight but the guitars are pretty sloppy and with the set plighted by sound issues leaving the singer guitarless halfway through and a broken mic leaving him voiceless for the last song its not exactly the greatest performance, not that they seemed to care.
After what seemed like forever Black Lungs take to the stage and if you like your punk loud and dirty then these will be right up your street. Fronted by Alexisonfire’s Wade McNeil and completed by members of other Canadian bands like Attack in Black they are the perfect antidote to the last act as Black Lungs show the Birmingham crowd how it’s done.
Wade is in a hostile mood and the first songs sees him off the stage and pacing the floor like a man possessed trying to take on the photographers even taking off his belt to wield at them. It’s a different side of Wade compared to when he plays for Alexisonfire, the energy is tenfold and his gruff punk vocals shine on tracks like Black Lungs is a Gang and the punk as fuck Stay out of Parkdale. The guitarist takes a trip in the crowd plus scales the heights of the speaker stack not to be outdone by Wades venomous performance. Bar the slightly awkward silences between the songs you couldn’t fault them.
Fucked Up are one of those bands that transcends genres, punk, hardcore, rock and roll you can’t sum them up in word but their name goes a long way in explaining things. It was only a couple of days before they flew over to the UK that front man Damian had cut his head open after smashing a pint glass on his head and the scar still looks pretty fresh not that it puts any stop the mayhem that ensues.You do kind of feel sorry for the rest of the band as Damian takes the spotlight for the entirety of the show, they don’t seem to mind though as they keep the riffs going while he does what he pleases!
This is the kind of show where you kind of had to be there to appreciate how totally mind-blowing they are live, it’s as much about the music as it is about the behaviour of the larger than life Damian. He spent pretty much the entire set in amongst the crowd half naked, mic cord wrapped round his neck, hugging people, instigating group hugs, showing off his dance moves all the while still singing the likes of David Came to Life, Crooked Head and Black Albino Bones.
For man of his stature he can sure move pretty fast, keeping track of him was like a real life version of where’s Wally! If he wasn’t swinging from the rafters he was using ice buckets as makeshift drums he even went for a bathroom break which lead to an instrumental version of No Epiphany, which definitely threw the rest of the band, but they carried on regardless even if a little bemused! They are helped out a bit though with some vocals from some cheeky guys down the front screaming into the discarded microphone on stage.
The last song saw a couple of stage divers but the sight of Damien jumping on to the crowd was something to behold as the crowd held him up as he passed over their heads, it was the perfect end to a sweaty fun filled Sunday evening. With a smile plastered on his face Damien thanked the crowd and then went on to give out hugs to people at the front thanking them for coming. He was truly humbled by the crowd’s reactions to the show and what a show. Fucked Up truly are a band that need to be experienced first hand in order to understand, so if you want one of the most fun evenings of your life I suggest you get yourself down to a Fucked Up show. You will not be disappointed.
Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Andy Watson