Holy Fuck Grand Theatre, Sudbury ON, August 12

Holy Fuck Grand Theatre, Sudbury ON, August 12
Photo: Eric Noble-Marks
When they're on, Holy Fuck have a second gear where things go from loud to really loud, doubling down on abrasiveness without sacrificing listenability. When they hit their stride at Up Here fest Friday night (August 12), the band were magnificent to watch. The only trouble is that it took them a while to get there.

Openers "Chimes Broken" and "Tom Tom" showed the other, more frustrating side to Holy Fuck; the one that flirts with danger but doesn't quite dive in head first. It wasn't until "Stay Lit," easily the band's most anthemic track, that the Toronto outfit began to justify their outlandish moniker in a wash of buzzing synths and distorted vocals.
That's not to say that the band's newer material was necessarily underwhelming. "Xed Eyes," a standout cut from this year's Congrats, was among the best received tracks of the night, putting bodies in motion with its sleek, dance-punk strut.
The band's setup consisted largely of a mass of wires, keys and knobs for Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh to twiddle and mess with. Though this may have not been the most reliable choice ("everything's breaking!" exclaimed Borcherdt as he produced yet more synths from side stage for emergency repairs), there's still something endearing about seeing analog warriors in a digital age, and by the time the band's Franken-synth rig had droned its last tones, it was worth the technical difficulties.