Arts, Music, Off Campus, Review

FIDLAR Rides Waves of Reckless Riffs at Paradise Rock Club

Inconspicuous consumption was the theme of the night for FIDLAR’s sold-out stop at Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Sept. 14. The Los Angeles-based surf punk band rode waves of youthful recklessness through bashers about drinking beer, snorting cocaine, and refusing to trade carefree nights for nine-to-fives.

NOBRO was first to take the stage at Paradise, bringing a chaotic garage rock rowdiness to the packed venue like the offspring of Karen O that never was. Lead singer Kathryn McCaughey spewed beer onto the moshing crowd, who she endearingly referred to as “mother f—kers” before the all-girl band’s final song.

Second opener Dilly Dally combined menacing instrumentals with indistinguishable high-pitched screaming that threatened to cause permanent hearing damage to audience members standing near the speakers, who aptly covered their ears for much of the 45-minute set. Dilly Dally debuted songs from the album it released earlier that day, during which vocalist and guitarist Katie Monks rolled around the stage.

Old box TVs and massive amps were stacked along the back of a stage that was decorated with a large white banner haphazardly displaying red letters spelling out the band’s acronym name, which stands for F—k It Dog, Life’s A Risk. The TVs turned on and displayed a looped FIDLAR graphic, which changed from dollar bills snorting cocaine into the shape of the band’s name to a hand opening a can of SPAM with “FIDLAR” carved into it to, among various other eccentric concepts throughout the night.

A fan threw an inaugural beer onto the stage as FIDLAR played the opening chords of “Alcohol,” the first single from its upcoming album, which was finished just a week ago. Crowd surfers began riding their way to the front of the stage during the first song and didn’t stop searching for the perfect wave throughout the night, despite security guards’ constant removal of rowdy patrons.

The buzzing crowd chanted the lyrics to “No Waves,” the most popular song from the band’s 2012 self-titled first album, in between the clatter of the high energy beat. Moshing ensued for “White On White,” another old favorite, while bassist Brandon Schwartzel swung his “Don’t Fear The Weird” graffitied instrument around. Schwartzel donned an all-white ensemble of overalls and a bucket hat, the latter of which he kicked back onto his head when it fell off between songs. The band finished off the FIDLAR trio with an anthemic performance of “Stoked and Broke.”

FIDLAR shredded through its rambunctious discography with songs from Too. The crowd gave an inspired a cappella performance of the chorus of “40oz. On Repeat,” screaming “I’m gonna lock myself inside my room with this 40oz. on repeat” in perfect synchrony to lead singer and guitarist Zac Carper, who wore a dusty blue scrubs set. FIDLAR followed with a bass-heavy performance of “Drone.”

An electric energy crowded the room as bustling bodies thrashed around for the middle of the strident set. The long build of “Leave Me Alone” served as a perfect precursor to the recently released “Too Real,” the chaotic second single from the band’s upcoming album. Bright white light flooded the stage as Carper screamed a sermon about the current United States political climate, charging “No you just like to fight / You’ve gone so far to the left you ended up on the right.” The song’s subject matter signals a well-received shift away from the band’s signature aloofness.

FIDLAR returned to the vigor of “West Coast” and “5 to 9” before introducing a few unreleased songs. Carper talked about the uncertainty of playing new songs before debuting them.

“Sometimes you guys are quiet, but let’s try to make it like sick,” Carper said.

The first opened with lone guitar chords, a motif of the band’s new work, before ringing in a hi-hat smashing drum beat from Max Kuehn. Carper abandoned his usual unrestrained vocals for a more refined croon while singing the chorus “Hello / Goodbye / Are you high?” Elvis Kuehn revved his guitar for the start of another new song, “Flake,” which gave off the same bustling energy of a Green Day beat.

A performance of Too’s “Punks” played on the crowd’s high energy as FIDLAR continued to bring back reprises of the spiraling heavy guitar beat, dragging out the three-minute song for twice its usual duration.

Carper introduced “Cheap Beer” as “a song about drinking beer” before shotgunning into the turbulent opening. The crowd moshed along while chanting the shattered motto “I drink cheap beer, so what? F—k you!” with the band of rugged surfers. A momentary pause broke up the regular set and encore, which was a quick performance of “Wake Bake Skate,” a final dose of the band’s defiant garage rock.

FIDLAR fiercely skated through rampant riffs and unbothered lyrics during its night at Paradise, lamenting its status as a band to watch just in time for a national tour and a highly anticipated album release.

Featured Image by Kaylie Ramirez / Heights Editor

September 15, 2018

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