There have been quite a few celebrities who have come out against SB 1070 recently. Ricky Martin, Shakira and, of course, Rev. Al Sharpton. The involvement of these people make sense given their ethnic and political backgrounds. How Damian Abraham, a.k.a. Pink Eyes, the frontman of Toronto hardcore outfit Fucked Up got involved in the controversial immigration bill is a different story.
For those not already familiar with the story, here is a quick recap: When fellow Canadian band Stars posted a message on their Twitter page stating that they would be boycotting Arizona in protest of SB 1070, Abraham retorted that this was the wrong approach to take. After a back-and-forth with Stars on Twitter, Abraham wrote an op-ed piece for Stereogum and eventually took part in an interview with New Times' Michael Lopez to help clarify his position on SB 1070 and the idea of boycotting Arizona.
When asked whether I'd review the band's show Thursday night at Chasers in Scottsdale, I said yes for a couple of reasons. Given Fucked Up's recent involvement in the immigration debate, I was curious what the band would say and what the crowd's response would be. Not to mention the fact that Fucked Up is well known for putting on insane live performances.
As it turned out, there would be no grand political statement to be made by Abraham Thursday night. "I'm not here to lecture anybody," said Abraham. And while the band didn't directly address any political issues, they did invite members of the humanitarian organization No More Deaths to set up a table at Chasers and even had a representative from No More Deaths say a few words to the crowd before they kicked off their set.
Just the same, the crowd who came to see Fucked Up was most definitely not there for politics. No, it was there to see a band that has built a reputation for crazy live shows and some serious hardcore music. And, boy, did Fucked Up deliver.
As the band launched into its set, the audience assembled at the front of the stage started moshing right away. After only a few songs into the set, Abraham removed his shirt, ventured into the crowd, and ended up standing on top of a table and yelling at the audience. I thought the table would collapse. Not because of Abraham's weight (though he is a pretty big guy) but because it just looked like a shoddy table.
"I love playing this town," Abraham told the crowd. "Every time we go on tour, I look forward to playing Phoenix."
Throughout the band's hour-long set, Fucked Up managed to deliver a high-intensity hardcore show. They even managed to throw in a few surprises during their set. Towards the end of their set Abraham invited Frank Hanney of the legendary hardcore band MK-ULTRA onstage to perform the song "Nervous Breakdown." Just one of many highlights of a great show.
Check out Victor Palagano's photos from the show here.
Last Night: Elders, Cagematch, Landmine Marathon, Fucked Up at Chasers
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Better Than: One of Sheriff Joe's immigration sweeps
Personal Bias: I think Damian Abraham is a pretty awesome guy. His ideas on the boycotting on Arizona and the whole immigration debate in general definitely earned him cool points in my book.
By The Way: Watching the lead singer of Elders repeatedly yell "check" as loud as he could into the microphone during the band's sound check was the most awesome sound check I've ever seen.