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August 11, 2005

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A visit to the Bovine Sex Club is an experience particular to Toronto: the pseudo-unpretentious interior, a glam legionnaire's club feel (only compounded by the recent addition of a smoking room) and Studio 54 treatment on the way in, where leather jacketed, cowboy-hatted bouncers decide whether or not you're enough of a Bovine regular to enter the often close-to-capacity club.

Throw 416-based punk-rock purveyors Fucked Up and their strident fanbase into the mix and it's a water and oil situation, best illustrated when a Billy Talent dude was waved into the club while fervent FU appreciators waited impatiently in an unmoving lineup. After the Aug. 3 show, Fucked Up guitarist 10,000 Marbles declared that he will officially exile members of Billy Talent from ever coming to their shows because, as he puts it, "They take up room from people who aren't slick douche-bag poseurs."

Fucked Up took the stage after a brief and chaotic wait, and, with their first note, elicited complete bedlam from the first eight feet of people in front of the stage -- a bedlam that did not let up until the set was interrupted midway through, a situation seemingly related to exasperated line-uppers trying to bum-rush their way in.

This is evidence of fans' sheer enthusiasm toward Fucked Up. Their simple yet calculatedly progressive songs -- exemplary in their ability to evoke punk's classic sound while still sounding fresh -- throw many of their fans into a palsy-like frenzy that feels so intensely personal, it almost seems removed from the band itself. Their hoarsely shouted repertoire serves as a mere diving board for fans to exorcise their psyches. Both Marbles and bassist Randy Sandy attribute this frenzy to "sigils and spells" present in their early singles. It probably has a lot more to do with their musical ambition becoming clearer, and their live show becoming less like their name (although it's still only one random stroke of bad luck away from catastrophe).

Upon resuming, Fucked Up didn't even get to play their entire set, as things had become too chaotic for the club itself, and the cops had arrived -- not the first such instance in Fucked Up's career, and judging by the increased police presence at their shows, not the last. The band is laying locally low for awhile, as they are set to embark on their first European tour, to be followed by a studio visit in order to record their upcoming Crusades double LP. This Bovine gig was a fittingly fucked-up send-off.

Eye Weekly