(Fucked Up in Texas: different show, same general idea)
I have seen the anti-Buddha, and his name is Pink Eye. He is the lead singer of Fucked Up, a hardcore band from Toronto that really, really put the "fuck" in F Yeah at the Echoplex last Saturday.
Pink Eye is a 300-pound white man who sings topless and wears his sweat like a shirt.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., after a marvelous set by Japanther from Brooklyn, I found myself three rows back at the left edge of the stage when Pink Eye introduced his band: “We’re Fucked Up from Canada.”
Seconds later, the crowd to my right collapsed into me like a building and I thought this was it. Pink Eye was screeching like a fax machine on crack while his guitarists thrashed in unison. Then I realized a fight had not broken out. This is hardcore.
I remembered the mosh pit of my university disco — back when John Lennon was barely dead and John Peel was playing perfect 5-second blasts by Extreme Noise
Terror — where boys used their elbows, arms and bodies to bash into anyone in their wake in a way that said, “I love you. Just don’t ask me to say it.”
After a minute, I made the call that this was not my time; I would not die of internal bleeding from a hardcore gig at the Echoplex.
Now I was hugging the stage, barely outside the eye of the storm, when a guy asked if he could switch places with me so he could stage-dive. This he did, twice, then others did it too, and the crowd was there to catch them every time, even as I wondered for a few thrilling seconds where these people’s heads had gone.
This sure was some summer of love. I edged closer to the moshing boys as waves of strangers in warm, wet shirts caressed me from behind, sometimes in self-defense, other times just for the fuck of it. Nice.
A skinny little blonde girl who I thought needed saving jumped into the pit at just the right moment to avoid decapitation. She was dancing now.
They pushed us, we pushed back. It was okay.
“Anyone here famous?” Pink Eye asked at one point. “I love L.A. I saw Olivia Newton-John’s daughter the other day.”
Fucked Up’s last song rolled around too soon, and Pink Eye asked the crowd to give it up for Negative Approach, just before his fans carried him offstage like the emperor that he is.
The floor cleared. Pink Eye stood before me, feet away. Before I could change my mind, I ran up to him and put my arm around his soaking neck. The sweat of his body covered me. Really, really nice.
“I’m from L.A. Weekly. I want you to tell me something,” I said.
“Sure,” he said.
“How come people get off on all the aggro?”
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Pink Eye didn’t miss a beat.
“Life’s boring. Gimme danger. Like the Stooges said, world’s a stranger, gimme danger. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.”
The anti-Buddha had spoken. I shook his hand and walked away, enlightened to my core. —Mel Yiasemide
Fucked Up’s second LP, The Chemistry of Common Life, is released October 7 on Matador Records.