There’s nothing “slightly overweight” about Damien Abraham, the round-all-over frontman of relentlessly ambitious Toronto hardcore innovators Fucked Up. Abraham is an inarguably big man, not altogether dissimilar (in shape at least, as Abraham is a good deal smaller) from Butterbean, the rotund American boxing icon. But Tuesday night, 45 minutes and a gallon of sweat into his band’s forever-hype-affirming set in Raleigh, N.C., Abraham (perhaps wishfully) dedicated the tune “I Hate Summer” to all of his “slightly overweight” brethren. “One day let’s set up a home,” roared Abraham during the song, “where it’s winter all year long.”
North Carolina summer nights are, after all, sticky and hot, offering the kind of conditions that make thighs adhere to one another and turn any sort of physical activity into a slippery mess. But that didn’t slow Abraham’s usual antics or theatrics. Before four songs had been finished, both Abraham’s neon fitted cap and black T-shirt had been hurled onto the stage. Very bald and very breasted, Abraham lorded over the front rows, shoving his microphone into the screaming faces of fans during the refrains, sweat dripping from his body onto their faces. Then, halfway into the set, he marauded through the crowd–first to stage left, then to stage right, pulling his microphone cord through a nearly sold-out house. He gave hugs, kisses and high-fives as he sang, essentially taking the house-show/DIY-space culture of Fucked Up’s earlier days into a club half-full of indie kids who’d possibly never experienced such. It was grown-band work.
Eventually, Abraham made his way to the top of the bar at the back of the house, where he sang and smiled and smashed a plastic water cup onto his forehead. When he saw that this lubricating North Carolina heat wouldn’t let it stick, he simply tried to balance it on the crest of his skull. It fell off, of course, but he smiled again, leaning far to his right to deliver a high five to a guy who didn’t look much different–pasty and big and sweaty, but, with a monstrous grin wiped across his face, absolutely ecstatic to be where he was at that exact instant. The high-five was a half-miss, so all of the momentum that Abraham and the anonymous fan delivered at once resulted in an awkward little stumble for two big dudes. It didn’t matter: They both beamed, happy to have elicited cheers. Abraham headed back toward the stage as the band wound through its final notes.
That’s when he delivered the “I Hate Summer” dedication, or when he made it clear that even one of the best frontmen of any band in the world right now (it also doesn’t hurt that his three-guitar army is one of the best bands working right now, either) has to deal with the woes of being a sweaty, slippery fellow in the middle of a Southern summer. The moment couldn’t have been better.