Concert Review: FIDLAR

Photo by Alice Baxley
Photo by Alice Baxley

FIDLAR rocks The Observatory North Park, fueling the crowd’s excitement with a nonstop punk rock set.

Date: Oct. 17
Location: The Observatory North Park
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Punk concerts can be kinda same-y. A band gets up on stage, bangs out a set, people mosh, then the band finishes and the next one goes on. Repeat. To a large extent, that’s the point of punk, since its whole raison d’etre was to be a counterpoint to the elaborate show antics of hard rock groups in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But for the casual listener (hint: anyone who would list Green Day as a punk band) it can be hard to get into that kind of show without a touch of mainstream influences and showmanship. And for them, a good entry point into punk rock concerts would be Fidlar, who has a few subtle ways to keep its shows from becoming monotonous while staying close enough to its punk roots to satisfy longtime fans of the genre.

The venue was the Observatory North Park, a well-thought-out venue with raised floors toward the back for people who didn’t want to mosh and a bar behind that with a nicely-placed wall that actually allowed for talking over the music. Being a punk concert in North Park, there wasn’t a person to be found over 35, and contrary to the genre’s image, most members of the crowd were relaxed, social and approachable.

The Frights opened. They’re a local band that appear fairly regularly at the Che Cafe, among other places, and the trio plays songs of a mutant combination of punk and ‘50s doowop. Besides their taste, The Frights are also remarkable for how hard they get into the music. Jumping, running and flipping hair, they were on full display that night. The group rocked out to a fun but fairly unremarkable set consisting of some of their newer tracks.

FIDLAR calmly walked on stage and went right into “Stoked and Broke” off of its first album, which is hardly a warm-up. But the crowd was ready for it. It played songs off of both of its album, playing crowd favorites like “Cheap Beer,” “No Waves” and “Leave Me Alone,” and most of the crowd knew every single song. Its new album, “Too,” definitely has more pop influences, especially on songs like “40 oz. on Repeat” and “West Coast,” which it used to break up its slightly harsher first album.

Behind the band there were giant paper heads on sticks with glowing eyes, one for each of the four members of the band. In an interesting touch, they all had smoke coming out of their mouths at one point or another, except for the head representing the lead singer, referencing his recent hard-earned path to sobriety.

FIDLAR didn’t talk as much to the audience as it has at past concerts, like the more intimate Che Cafe venue, but right before the last song, Zac Carper, the lead singer asked everyone to sit down. And a concert hall with hundreds of people listened to him. He started the last song, “Cocaine,” and told everyone that they would know when to get up. They did, sitting poised to jump back up when the lyrics started; the quiet intro exploded into one of the band’s most wild songs. Even though it forewent the encore after, most of the audience was satisfied, shuffling tiredly and hard-of-hearing out of a truly energetic concert.

 

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