When Fur Packed Action announced a reunion show, word got to me in a roundabout way.
My colleague at Fred’s Records was telling the staff about the reunion show and told us to prepare for an early morning onslaught of FPA fans clamouring to get tickets.
I silently scoffed, thinking it was highly unlikely that a defunct local alt/rock band was going to cause the mayhem he was warning us about.
Foot, meet mouth — Fur Packed Action fans were lined up outside of the record shop that Saturday morning, waiting for the shop to open at 9:30 a.m. Before 10 a.m., we had sold out.
What does kind of magic does this band possess, to have hordes of people rearranging their weekend to get tix to a show that was more than two months away?
I didn’t know, but I knew I wanted to find out for myself.
I’m 26, so Fur Packed Action is somewhat “before my time” — the 1998 album came out when I was in elementary school, and I was merely 10 in 2001, when they played their last gig as a full-time band. I was underage for their 2006 reunion shows and was living away when the band reunited in 2011.
Attending with two Fred’s employees and fellow Fur Packed Action (FPA) virgins, I arrived at The Rockhouse on Saturday night and immediately thought, “I bet a lot of these people know my dad.”
That’s not a dig, but an observation — my dad is cool and definitely knows more about FPA than we did.
After a stage-warming DJ set by DJ Slaylist, Fur Packed Action hit the stage. Though I didn’t know what to expect, I definitely wasn’t expecting the absolutely phenomenal high energy set that the band was about to deliver.
Halfway through the first song, my colleagues and I looked at each other, bewildered.
The three-piece band — Jody Richardson on guitar, Geoff Younghusband on bass, and drummer Barry Newhook — put on an absolutely wild spectacle that younger local acts can take a cue from.
Richardson didn’t even need to sing the lyrics — the audience knew every single word. He wandered out through the crowd, and up onto a bar, just playing the chords, watching with a smile as the crowd completed the chorus and the entire next verse.
I was a bit miffed — I would have liked to have heard the entire songs as originally performed by the band — but I knew this show wasn’t intended for the newbies like us. It was for the long-time, die-hard fans, who wore out their FPA CDs a decade ago.
No longer available, the Fred’s Records computer entry for 1998’s “The Dull Thud of Fur" CD has grown a lengthy list of names hoping a used copy will come in the door. In my three years at Fred’s, I’ve seen just one copy in the flesh — err — in the fur?
The band treated the audience to a slew of covers of current pop music, with a Dog Meat BBQ cover spliced in.
At the merch table, near the newly released FPA double vinyl album, a donation box was set up for local sound engineer Wallace Hammond, who is currently recovering from a heart attack.
After seeing the show, I now understand the draw. The set was tight, and the energy onstage matched the wild crowd below them. FPA received louder applause in between songs than some bands do for an encore — and they deserved it.
Next time someone asks me how I like my action, I’ll tell ’em the truth: I like it Fur Packed.