Scatterbrained review because I have to put my good thoughts into an interesting piece of music writing eventually. Here goes.
My amazing girlfriend bought us roundtrip plane tickets to New York to see Fucked Up play all of "David Comes to Life" (one of my five favorite albums of all time at this point) at Manhattan's Le Poisson Rouge. That in and of itself made this a very special show for me, and the entire weekend spent on the east coast was amazing and just the vacation I needed from an increasingly stressful work and school environment this semester. The show itself I now consider the best show I've ever seen (as a full-night unit including Titus Andronicus) and the best set I've ever seen (Fucked Up's).
I had seen Fucked Up in London in May, but at an enormous, not nearly tightly-packed enough venue, they were merely excellent. Monday night, in the colloidal sardine can that was Le Poisson Rouge, they were transcendent. Granted, they were playing one of my favorite albums of all time in its entirety, but I've seen that (Operation: Mindcrime twice, for example) and nothing has ever been as good as this. I'm struggling for the words.
Getting ahead of myself, though. Titus Andronicus gave the best opening set of the year with close to an hour of cuts from last year's excellent "The Monitor" as well as three new tracks. They easily could have just been the thing separating everyone from seeing Fucked Up, but they played a great set in their own right. I'm loving this era of indie where you can basically play a mix of punk and Springsteen and be loved. They deserve all the accolades they've received and more. Great, great band.
Then Fucked Up. Ho-ly shit. From the opening strains of "Let Her Rest" played by a tuxedo-clad string quartet the band employed for the gig through the closing notes of "Lights Go Up," the "David Comes to Life" set was perfect, and the three-song encore of older material granted no repose from the constant shouting and movement of the crowd. There's not a better frontman in the biz than Damian Abraham, and the three guitarists' wall of sound intercut with workmanlike but groovy drumming and bass from Jonah Falco and Sandy Miranda respectively has to make Fucked Up's live sound the tightest of any punk band ever. And guess what, that doesn't make it "not punk" or any nonsense like that. They're consummate professionals who still know how to have a good - a VERY good - time, so fuck you if you don't like them because of some notion that they're not "true punk."
And here's a picture of me doing something I did at least 50 times over the course of the two-hour Fucked Up set - singing a lyric into the mic. Damian paid a lot of attention to my side of the stage, and I'd say even in a crowd with a huge propensity to rage, I raged the hardest. I also have a big gash on my forehead that still hurts two days on, and my knees are bruised to hell, and I LOVE IT. Fucked Up Forever.