Last Night: Fucked Up at Neumos

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These amazing photos come courtesy of Christopher Nelson.

If anything was fucked up about last night, it had nothing to do with the bands and everything to do with a fickle crowd that was saved only by a handful of enthusiastic youths up front. Fortunately, folks eventually came around, but after watching the majority of the crowd stand around through both Police Teeth and Akimbo, it became clear to me that while some of my fellow show-goers would probably break out of stasis eventually, most of these people were probably going to stand there, arms folded, the entire time. I mean, the first band, Police Teeth, doesn't exactly make mosh-pit music, but a handful of us did attempt to start a lighthearted pit during Akimbo's set without much success; like so many other shows I've been to in Seattle, most of the people in the crowd stood there with expressions that ranged from apathetic to what I call "frightened rabbit face." You know, like when you're looking at someone and you know part of them really just wants to cut loose, but they're so painfully self-conscious about how they might appear to everyone else around them that they just sort of freeze with this terrified I-want-to-move-but-can't face on.

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Nat Damm, drummer for Akimbo

In spite of all of that, Akimbo is a pleasure to watch-- particularly the drummer, Nat Damm, whose long, curly locks fly out all around his face, whose expression can only be described as beatific. A lot of volume comes out of that three-person band, and they're absolutely one of the best hardcore bands I've seen in Seattle so far. As far as the crowd issues went, they can be summed up by the half-hearted clapping and whoo-ing that happened when Akimbo's singer, Jon Weisnewski, asked us if we were stoked to see Fucked Up. He responded with something to the effect of, 'if that's how you feel, I feel sorry for them.' That's not a direct quote, as I did not write it down, because I was busy shoving people and trying to get them to shove me back.

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The courageous stage-diving guy jumping into a spotty crowd

Fortunately, Jon's admonishment seemed to galvanize the crowd. Well, that and Damian's crazy antics. When Fucked Up started playing, people finally got it together and managed to fire up a lighthearted but respectable mosh pit-- one that actually qualified, unlike the half-assed thing we'd tried to pull off during Akimbo. I was glad, because it would've been downright disrespectful not to give back some of the energy that Damian, a beefy, furry bear of a man, was giving out. I mean, this guy was wrapping the microphone cord around his neck and head, running around onstage, hopping into the crowd, grabbing this one guy's bald head and nuzzling it (I'm pretty sure the guy had a big crush on Damian, judging from the worshipful expression he had on), having the audience rub his belly like Hardcore Buddha and generally getting in folks' faces, a la Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington. It was hard to even pay attention to the rest of his band-- top-notch musicians, all-- with him to pay attention to.

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If you rub his belly, it's good luck.

While I still feel the crowd couldn've been more into it as a whole, the kids in the front did their best to make up for all the people standing around in back. There was one kid who kept stage-diving with surprising success, and despite the immobile majority watching in the back, up front things were rowdy and just a smidge violent. It was glorious. Of course, you work up a sweat when you're running around like Damian was, and so as the show progressed, articles of clothing were removed one by one and flung by the wayside. First the red Emerica hat. Then his shirt. And suddenly, dude was bouncing around in nothing but athletic shorts (which he'd periodically pull up past his belly button like an old man at the beach). Until someone yelled out that the shorts had a hole in them.

"Aw, really? Shit, my wife's going to kill me." So he took the shorts off and proceeded to finish out the show in nothing but gray boxer-briefs. "I can't reveal everything right away," he said. "But my penis isn't actually that exciting. I'm a grower, not a shower."

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