Live Review: Fidlar @ The Bowery Ballroom

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story + pics / Adeline Tan


A couple of chill dudes from Los Angeles, California embracing their philosophy of life and mantra “Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk” which is abbreviated into FIDLAR. Everything about these four rambunctious twenty-something year olds screamed West Coast skaters/punk rockers with not a care in the world. Hanging loose and causing mayhem on the stage with their committed skate punk songs that inspire even the most straitlaced and uptight individual to unbutton that collar and move their body to the beat. Having met the band before their concert for an interview in their dressing room, all I can say is that they know how to throw you curveballs and are hilarious. Sarcasm at its finest, told from the mouths of these laid back, devil may care skater/garage punk rockers, think Lords Of Dogtown if they were in a LA punk band and didn’t have long blonde hair. Untroubled, easygoing and gave lots of tongue-in-cheek remarks, which I found very refreshing. The seeming clincher on their slackerdom is the band’s name (of which all the members have stick and poke tattoos), an acronym for “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk,” which appears to be an even more of a shrugged-off hesitant whatever than YOLO.

FIDLAR is a skate punk/garage punk band from Los Angeles, California. Signed to Mom + Pop Music. Three years after recording some of their first songs they stepped on stage with The Black Lips and went on tour with The Hives. Zac Carper (vocals/guitar) is the son of famed surfboard designer John Carper, Elvis Kuehn (guitar/vocals) and Max Kuehn (drums) are brothers and sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist of Long Beach punk legends T.S.O.L. along with bassist Brandon Schwartzel. They whizzed into recognition with the assistance of social media and embracing their love for homemade videos on YouTube and indulging in Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

Once the two opening bands (Shocked Minds & The Orwells) gave their very notable performances, the crowd was invigorated and ready to take it to the next level! The energy in the Bowery Ballroom that Thursday night was infectious. They’re the perfect live band: loud, fast, and undoubtedly sing-along-able. The first song they played was “Cheap Beer” off their self-titled LP (released this year). The crowd collapsed into a mosh pit as soon as lead singer Zac Carper yelled, “Me and my friends in a hundred-dollar Volvo.” When the chorus, “I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you” entered, someone in the mosh pit with a bottle of beer started to spray it into the air. Not only did FIDLAR play a great show; they were one of the most welcoming bands I’ve seen.

It’s easy to assume otherwise when the first track on their first record is called “Cheap Beer” and the second, “Stoked and Broke,” is a paean to getting wasted and skateboarding, with the main lyric, shouted in frontman Carper’s accustomed gravelly yowl, “there’s nothing wrong with living like this, all my friends are pieces of shit.” The show started off on an insanely chaotic and energy crazed note with beer cans exploding onto the stage, spraying both the band and the crowd. Right off the bat, Carper was all over the floor on his back shredding his guitar, and all the boys were jumping all over the place even one guy next to me in his late 40s was getting really into it and said to me, “Isn’t this a ball? I feel like I’m in my 20s again!” Truly with lyrics about snorting, smoking, partying and drinking, how could you not have a blast!

FIDLAR delivers vivacious slice of smart, sparse, moshpit-ready punk that earworms its way into your head within seconds of the concert, with a driving rhythm section supporting interlaced guitars. Their lyrics that scope from shouted mantras for you to fist-pump along to in the dream show in your mind to inside jokes about certain band members’ debatable surfing capabilities (“Max Can’t Surf”). “Wake! Bake! Skate!” a succinct, anthemic fist-pumper, Carper sings about wishing he can stay alive long enough to keep getting fucked up with his buddies. And during the show he yelled, “Fuck you. Don’t tell me what to play. You don’t know me. Fuck you.” Anyone without basic knowledge of FIDLAR, might sense distress a brewing, but the above-mentioned line is delivered with a smile and no small amount of charm by Carper, that it just wheels up the responsiveness that was already filling the room.

FIDLAR will make you want to pound a case of the shoddiest beer you can find with these fellas, it’ll make you want to wind the music up as loud as it will go in a car and drive through your town with the windows down, hair wildly flowing in the wind. During one of the last songs, Carper jumped into the crowd and proceeded to scream the lyrics. It was utter pandemonium, Carper even said at one point, “I want to see someone take their clothes off and get naked!” which set the stage ablaze with dudes stripping down to their skivvies and lunging into the audience.

For every overdriven electric guitar, there are multiple laptops and electronic driven music. A lot of people think that punk is dead. However, that Thursday night there were girls flashing on stage, the band embracing the hysteria, wild stage diving and crowd surfing: what you would expect at a punk rock concert and more! New York ate it up and for one night – Punk wasn’t by any means Dead! FIDLAR proved it with a head banging, mind blowing celebration the crowd absolutely cherished.

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