FIDLAR are a certain kind of punk band — the kind that wants to have fun and thumb its nose at everyone else while doing so.
Fans of the band already knew this dating back to FIDLAR’s self-titled 2013 debut album, which captured a very big slice of California living in terms of sun, fun and girls. But mostly on the fun — consisting of cocaine, cheap beer, etc. — and what a pain in the ass it is to have to wait around, or worse yet work, while waiting for fun to happen.
Well, fun is happening on the FIDLAR tour in support of their second album, Too, released only a month ago, and the band lit up a lot of smiling faces who came to thrash along at the Black Cat in DC on Monday night.
They played some well-received songs from their first album, such as “Max Can’t Surf,” which is apparently about their drummer Max Kuehn. Max likes to sleep and play video games, according to the song, and presumably he does not like to surf, which is too bad as there is plenty of California coastline ripe for surfing.
The rhythm section shines during the song as you would imagine as Max and bassist Brandon Schwartzel add some spark to the twang of the band’s guitars.
Watch FIDLAR perform “Max Can’t Surf” at SXSW 2013:
Early in the set, FILDAR surprises with a terrific cover of Weezer’s Undone — The Sweater Song. It caught me completely by surprise and proved a charmer for the audience. It’s a fairly staid cover, all said, and the band totally brandishes its slacker soul while strumming through it. Still, it was unexpected and diverting.
Soon FIDLAR play “Leave Me Alone,” one of many songs from Too, an album whose title surely translates as “More of the Same” in follow-up to that first album.
The song is one of many odes the band has to denying responsibility and being free — free to do nothing mostly.
FIDLAR love to sing about their home turf as much as they love to sing about drugs and booze. They leap into their song “West Coast” from the new album, nominally toasting the notion of partying in Seattle and Portland in the Northwest, but mostly celebrating the idea of partying too hard anywhere — well, anywhere that isn’t a boring suburban community. Like many of their punk forebears, if there’s one thing that FIDLAR cannot tolerate, it’s mindless conformity such as that found in the suburbs.
The band plays the song fast and loose and harmonize in a way that conveys a perfectly adolescent attitude. Lead vocalist and guitarist Zac Carper is always on the move, striking his instrument like lightning one moment, and then slowing down into a whining punk lament the next moment.
Watch FIDLAR perform “West Coast” on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Zac has fittingly written “Hi, Mom” on his cheek, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015:
Toward the end of the show, FIDLAR dive into “Awkward,” which is a hit in our very crowded room. The early single, which doesn’t appear on either of the two full-lengths from the band, is a favorite with the audience, who dance up a storm to the droning shout-along chorus of “I’m really good at making you feel awkward.” People loved it! The tone of the song reminds me of Philadelphia’s Dead Milkmen, but the triumphant slackerdom observed in the song belongs 100% to FIDLAR.
FIDLAR continue their tour Friday night in Atlanta, and then spend the month of October hopping across the country to conclude their US tour with a Halloween show in Los Angeles. You will find your best friends at any one of their tour stops if you too would rather drink beer, do coke, and worry about barfing in inappropriate places than go to work, or y’know, just generally be a polite member of society.