Live (Oct. 9th, 2008)
MTV Live's Bathroom -Toronto, Ontario
A punk show in a basement bathroom of the MTV building, well that’s just Fucked Up I thought to myself when I received an email invite to the show. MTV wanted to give Toronto’s Fucked Up another chance to play on MTV Live after a rebel rousing 2007 performance, which left a pool of blood and a couple thousand dollars in damages to the studio. A decision MTV Canada are probably regretting today as they assess the damage done as Fucked Up pitched up another one of their famous orgies of destruction.
It all sounded so innocent. Put them in the bathroom. How much damage could they do right? Well let me set the stage to one of the wildest most chaotic performances I have ever seen, and I have been to a house destruction party before.
Ironically before the show began the MTV Live production team was giving us photographers a set of rules before the band played. I thought to myself these rules aren’t going to mean a thing once the band starts playing, and that make-shift barrier comes crashing down. I was right.
The bathroom was full with the band and their instruments occupying the majority of the space. And for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to bring in a friend’s 70’s vintage Honda motorcycle as a prop.
It immediately got hot and sweaty and there was something very powerful in the air, which had nothing to do with the smell of the bathroom. A very stressed out Assistant Director ran into the bathroom, and yelled, “You are on in ten seconds”. Fucked Up’s 300 -pound front man Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham looked around at his band as well as Sebastian Grainger on backup vocals and said, “It’s all about to get real.”
And real it got. Within seconds of the band striking its first chord, the 60 plus fans outside the door stormed the washroom. I was wedged between the wall and the motorbike. As I was trying to snap some pictures out of the corner of my eye I see the motorbike, and the two girls sitting on it shoot forwards as if someone started the ignition. The girls go flying to the ground, and the motorcycle ends up on its side dumping motor oil and gasoline all over the floor.
I was then forced up against the wall like a pressed ham. The lights kept flickering on and off and I couldn’t see a thing. All I could feel were waves of people piling into the tiny washroom.
After a minute and a half security went ape and started aggressively removing people from the washroom. Shoes were flying and septum rings were being ripped out of noses. Fucked Up guitarist 10000 marbles just walked away half way through the song with a glazed look on his face that told me he was thinking, “worst gig ever”.
Once the room cleared out and the lights came back on I poked my head around the corner to what looked liked pure anarchy. There was no roof where there was a roof before. The ceiling tiles were ripped out and flying across the room. Guys in the toilet stalls were using aerosol cans as flamethrowers, and guitarist Ben Cook was doing graffiti and smoking cigarettes all the while more motor oil and gas were pouring out of the bike.
The entire event lasted a total of four minutes and twenty-three seconds. Fucked Up was supposed to play another two songs, but obviously many health and fire codes were being grossly violated.
Now I know there are many stories about MTV’s building (The Masonic Temple) being haunted by ghosts, and now I believe too, because I saw an evil spirit rise up in that washroom. Even the producer of MTV Live looked like he just saw a ghost as he put his walkie-talkie to his mouth and ordered the power to be shut off in the entire southeast wing of the building.
Maybe it was the smell of burnt solvents, broken ceiling tiles, or the gasoline on the floor, but I felt like I was standing in a cabin of a small jet airplane that just slammed into the side of a mountain.
I quickly got the hell out of there, not even knowing what song they played. I had to ask Fucked Up’s vocalist Pink Eyes which song they performed later that night at a secret show with Dillinger Four at Sneaky Dees. He told me it was “Twice Born” off their newly released Chemistry of Common Life. We both agreed on how fucking crazy it was, and he assured me that this performance was far more insane than their 2007 show upstairs.
The funniest part of this to me was the last time I saw Fucked Up play was at the Legendary Massey Hall. A very different stage than a stinky old bathroom, but it doesn’t really matter where this band plays because they always deliver a trouncing live performance. As long as Fucked Up is around punk rock will remain alive and well.