Fucked Up played the abandoned Lower Bay subway station at CMW
The de-commissioned TTC stop was the unusual setting for a memorable all-local concert also featuring Deliluh, Tyriqueordie and E-Saggila
By Michael Rancic
May 12, 2018
Fucked Up's Damian Abraham
FUCKED UP, DELILUH, E-SAGGILA and TYRIQUEORDIE at Lower Bay Station, Friday, May 11. Rating: NNNN
Usually swarms of people on a subway platform indicates something has gone terribly wrong, but the crowds congregated at Lower Bay Station on Friday night meant the TTC had gotten something very right.
The CMW Underground showcase took place in the de-commissioned subway station beneath Bay station, a stop conceived as another way to connect Lines 1 and 2 before quickly being abandoned shortly after it opened in 1966. It was really only a CMW show in name as wristbands did not grant access to the sold-out event, but it was one of the hottest tickets of the festival.
Two stationary subway trains acted as barriers to the tracks, with one also providing convenient lounging area between sets and a fun vantage point for looking onto the performance space. Though it’s an unlikely site for a show, there’s no more Torontonian of a setting than in a relic of some grand transit plan never fully realized.
The show was organized by Deliluh’s Kyle Knapp and promoter Dan Burke, with logistical help from city councillor and TTC/Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council chair Josh Colle. Mayor John Tory was also in attendance for the first part of the show.
Performers on the all-local bill took full advantage of the venue, embellishing its charms with their own unique twists. There was an air of electricity as people arrived, which Tyriqueordie gladly seized upon for his energetic opening set. With his DJ Ace laying the groundwork with some jungle and drum and bass, the Scarborough rapper imbued the room with that same drive, reminding the audience to be in the moment by frequently repeating, “We’re making history tonight!”
E-Saggila’s brooding techno took full advantage of the subterranean surroundings, its low bass rumbles blending perfectly with the rumble of passing trains overhead.
It proved to be an excellent transition to the long synth drones and sonorous sax of Deliluh, before they delved into their noisy, knotty, experimental post-punk.
Having started their career in the basements of anarchist bookstores and in the backs of skate shops, it felt like Fucked Up were right at home in the transitory space. Focusing their set into a steady stream of hits (and even a new song from their upcoming record), the Toronto punks topped off the night doing what they do best: turning moments of brevity into indelible memories.