From punk's past (Patti Smith) to its present, Toronto's Fucked Up were across town ripping shit up at the Theatre National. Their unsightly singer Pink Eye looked to be in fine form - Sharpie-drawn jokes on his bulbous stomach, clearly unwashed underwear hanging out from his sagging basketball shorts - a clear disregard for fashion and hygiene that was instantly forgiven once he howled and screamed into the mic.
With a replacement filling in for missing guitarist Concentration Camp, the recently New York Times-reviewed FU weren't at their tightest, but still managed to pump out enough visceral blasts to get the crowd jacked on the raucous show, furthered by Pink doing his customary G.G. Allin tribute - smashing beer bottles over his dome until streams of blood flowed down his face.
The chaotic performance was in stark contrast to the comparatively-sedate set by Cleveland proto-punks Pere Ubu. While Pink Eye is able to launch his enormous frame around (and off) the stage, Ubu singer David Thomas, also of plus size, brought a chair on stage for sits (and beer swigs) during PU's elongated instrumental parts, including impressive and frequent displays of Theremin virtuosity by Robert Wheeler.
Thomas looked dazed and intermittently disengaged as he often read lyrics from a music stand propped to his side. That's understandable considering the band's pulling from a genre-meandering catalogue of disparate punk, prog and avant-garde art rock that's over 30-years long. Still, as Smith proved earlier in the night, you need more than time on your side to be deserving of the term “legend.”
Meanwhile, Toronto soul-jazz experimentalists LAL looked to be facing an uphill battle with a late-night slot and dwindling attendance at Club Lambi. But duo Rosina Kazi and Nick Murray persevered, getting a respectable amount of bodies moving with their laptop-controlled broken beats, political call-outs and Kazi's Desiree-meets-slam poet stage persona.