Concert Review: Fucked Up @ Union Stage (4/30/23)

Fucked Up (Photo Credit: Jeaninne Kaufer)
Fucked Up (Photo Credit: Jeaninne Kaufer)

Canada’s Fucked Up descended on DC to inject a dose of hardcore punk AND indie rock into our veins, and the results were conclusive. Fuck yeah!

Fucked Up is touring for their sixth studio album, One Day (via Merge).  They have also previously released numerous other recordings, including live albums, compilations and a series of EPs/albums dubbed the Zodiac Series, which are titled after the Zodiac sign of the year they were released. The latest, 2021’s Year of the Horse, is in four Acts, each 19 to 26 minutes long. In other words, don’t let six albums fool you, they are prolific and mighty with material.

They bombastically kicked off their 15-song set with “Found”, one of the eight songs they performed from One Day. Much of their music defies any singular classification, but lean heavily into multiple styles at once. At Union Stage, lead vocalist Damian Abraham growl screamed the lyrics, while the other five members performed with a fully perfected indie rock style. “Found” gave us the first taste of this, and speaks to finding the truth ‘of a story we don’t tell anymore’ about the horrible impact of the colonization of Canada.

Fucked Up formed in 2001 in Toronto, Ontario, and the band members are Damian, Mike Haliechuk (guitar, vocals), Josh Zucker (guitar), Sandy Miranda (bass), and Jonah Falco (drums, vocals). There was one additional guitarist on stage with them.

I’m not typically a fan of vocalists that scream their lyrics, but it was clear that Damian enjoys his job so much, that he won me over almost immediately. Screaming the lyrics, as many metal bands are wont to do, occasionally seemed incongruous to the often upbeat indie rock power of the band, but don’t let that fool you. It all worked, especially when you were getting amped up for the mosh pit. And there were plenty of opportunities for moshing on this night.

Next came “I Think I Might Be Weird”, which itself is a weird story of waking up unwittingly onboard a ship, and ‘of how I made it back to shore’. Every song was a masterclass in how to attain a high energy climax, most of the time Damian instigated as much motion on stage as the robust crowd did moshing in front center.

“Roar” is about being a parent, and features a killer bass line. Including the previous two songs, the first half of the set was almost all from One Day. One of the exceptions, “Police”, also brought out the biggest mosh pit. Released in 2003 as a single, and later packaged in 2014’s Epic in Minutes (via Deranged Records) a compilation of singles they described as ‘the closet that there will ever be to a Fucked Up retrospective’, this is old school – urgent, frenetic, and as punk as you can get. All the fans knew and loved every second.

Damien wasn’t the only one to lead in vocals, at least three other band members had their moment to shine, including on “Normal People” from 2018’s Dose Your Dreams (via Merge Records). It featured the drummer Jonah sing in this more upbeat song, then he and Damian do a call and response in between guitar interludes. They had to go heavy on the guitars, since there were three plus the bass guitar at any given moment.

For the encore, they ended with “Dose Your Dreams”. They really enjoyed playing the from this album as well, since four of the final six songs were from Dose Your Dreams. The title track displayed a range more akin to psychedelic rock, with a funky reverb beat introduction. A huge departure in style from everything that had come before. It also featured long musical interludes, multiple singers, and a long play out, so each band member could exit the stage gracefully on a high note.

This was the fourth show on their tour, and the first with the two openers, Gnawing and Dark Thoughts.

Take a minute to wrap your head around One Day, and buy a copy in your format of choice. Play it on a rainy day, or on a road trip, just get in your reps with Fucked Up’s music so you’ll be ready the next time they visit DC.


  1. Found
  2. I Think I Might Be Weird
  3. Queen of Hearts
  4. Huge New Her
  5. Roar
  6. Broken Little Boys
  7. Police
  8. Nothing’s Immortal
  9. Lords of Kensington
  10. I Don’t Wanna Live in This World Anymore
  11. Normal People
  12. One Day
  13. Glass Boys
  14. Joy Stops Time


  1. Dose Your Dreams

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: