Fucked Up / Doomsquad / OCDPP - Live in Brooklyn (Cover Artwork)

Fucked Up / Doomsquad / OCDPP

Live in Brooklyn (2015)

live show

Arrive at the door, show my ID and get a wristband.
Go to the will call window, show my ID and get my hand stamped.
Go to the security check, show my stamp and get a patdown.
Walk into the venue.

This is a familiar ritual that leaves an odd taste in my mouth. It's unfortunate, but that is often how some of my most memorable evenings begin. This pseudo-bureaucratic practice is the necessary start to many concerts in the Brooklyn/NYC area, but at least I can say it's usually all uphill from there, quality-wise. Unless you really, really hate paying too much for beer.

OCDPP, a project featuring Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls and Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls, opened the show at The Wick. The band pretty much sounded exactly as one would assume they would, knowing their pedigree. Performing poppy garage rock with an '80s west coast punk slant, the band delivered a set of short-burst pleasantries, albeit with a few fits and starts thrown in (the band did not seem to be on the same page as far as the set list was concerned). The set was the first indication that there may be some unfortunate sound issues at this venue. The large, mostly barren warehouse venue may look aesthetically interesting, but it makes for an echo-laden atmosphere, with the guitars bleeding into each other to form a muddy, sonic mess. It certainly does not help that the sound technician is off to the side, raised on a platform above the band. It should go without saying that the sound they're experiencing will be vastly different than the sonic waves washing over the audience down below. I began hoping that the amount of people in the audience during Fucked Up's set would dull the distracting echoes.

Doomsquad were up next, playing an electronics-driven set out of step with the other two acts on the bill. Not knowing the band beforehand, I truly did not know what to expect. All I knew was the band were going to aid Fucked Up during their set as they performed their more experimental tracks. Doomsquad had a bit of an uphill battle, playing percussive, power electronic-tinged jams to an audience hoping to mosh and push each other around during a lengthy Fucked Up set. However, the echoing nature of the venue worked to the band's advantage, with the synthesizers and affected vocals wavering and bouncing all around you, adding a psychedelic sheen to their Remain in Light-influenced songs. By the end of their set, a good amount of the audience were bobbing their heads, if not flat out dancing up front.

Fucked Up definitely set themselves up for a curious audience, as they announced they'd be playing songs from their Zodiac series of experimental hardcore exercises (with the setlist changing from night to night, no less). While it'd be great to hear a set comprised of songs from their triumphant David Comes to Life as well as early singles like "Police," the appeal of hearing songs like the sprawling "Year of the Pig" (which, luckily, they did play) is too good to pass up. Opening with an intense rendition of "Year of the Ox," Fucked Up showed that they were more than up to the task of performing the 20-minute endurance tests from their Zodiac series.

Unfortunately, the venue's sound issues pervaded the set, with three guitarists not distinguishing themselves from the mass of screeching distortion they were creating in unison. Unless all three locked into a simultaneous groove, the individual riffs were difficult to separate at times. The contributions from Doomsquad were mostly drowned out and only Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco and bassist Sandy Miranda made themselves heard throughout the whole set (and let me just say this: the show gave me a profound appreciation for the rhythm section of this band, as both members put in stellar work). Damian Abraham's personable stage presence and the band's intense performance ultimately elevated the set above the sound issues, thankfully.

Vocalist Abraham would often venture into the crowd, looking to the audience for help in delivering his growling vocals to songs like "Year of the Rat." The band played their instruments amid a washed out haze, really leaning into the psychedelic attributes of these longer songs. They certainly had the crowd hooked, as the amount of people jumping, swirling, crowd surfing and twisting increased as the show went on.

The encore, which found the band playing "Queen of Hearts" and seamlessly segueing into "Son the Father," had the crowd at their most rowdy (no small feat given the band was almost 90 minutes into their set). As I was in the middle of the mass of colliding limbs and voices shouting along, my wristband eventually broke and fell apart. The sweat dripping down my arm dissolved the stamp on my hand. The only patdown I received at the end of the set was from Damian Abraham himself, as he climbed off the stage to give sweaty, shirtless hugs to his ecstatic admirers. These sets may be an endurance test for Fucked Up, but they also serve as a form of communal catharsis for the band and their most dedicated fans.