St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Sydney 7th February 2016
To anyone and everyone that believes real rock shows are dead and gone, for the love of everything good in this world… go to a FIDLAR show.
I don’t know if over the past year or so I just wasn’t paying proper attention, but these garage/skater punk rockers were as great a surprise as I could’ve imagined. Founded in L.A. by singer, Zac and guitarist, Elvis, while working as engineers in a recording studio, FIDLAR have been performing together since 2009, although it would seem like it’s been an eternity.
Walking out to a rapturous applause, the boys kicked off the show almost immediately with their party thrasher, Stoked and Broke. A two-minute glorification of getting hammered on the daily, FIDLAR ticked off the drugs and alcohol sector of rocking out without breaking a sweat. It wouldn’t take a genius to work out that the boys from L.A. know how to get rowdy fast. “There’s nothing wrong with living like this, all my friends are pieces of shit”, is a personal favourite line of mine, I can promise you that I was barking it just as loud as Zac.
After playing a few more tracks off their first, self-titled album, including, Waves, a song inspired by Zac’s former struggle with drug addiction, they arrived at my personal favourite FIDLAR song, Cheap Beer. An anthem for getting wasted however possible, never in my entire life have I wanted more to buy a slab of Hammer and Tongs and sink tins with the boys. “I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! F***! You!” chants were echoing Laneway’s garden stage – essentially a big park full of people going nuts.
I can’t stress enough just how talented musicians these guys are. Zac has an incredible voice, and drummer, Max (brother of Elvis) played absolutely phenomenally. Their songs wouldn’t nearly have had the same impact without him. You could tell that they loved being up there too, something about creating a bit of anarchy just appeals to these boys, and the crazier the crowd became, the more passionately they played. Playing live, their music just works and makes for an amazing show. If you could imagine early Blink-182, drunk, high and furiously pissed off, you’re getting close to FIDLAR.
Next on the agenda the Californian rockers broke out some of their new material, including their most popular song, 40oz on Repeat. This definitely pleased the audience with most people in the crowd knowing all the words due to the airplay it received on Triple J. I don’t know exactly what it is, but seeing a park full of people singing along to, “Everybody’s got more money, they’ve got more money than me”, just warms your heartstrings. Carrying on from this, FIDLAR kept the roll going with two more fan favourites off their latest album, Why Generation, and, West Coast. Hooks to both tracks can be sung along easily with basic, “aaaaahhhhh’s”, in tune, and the fun yet utterly thrashy nature of these songs kept the whole audience locked in and enthralled.
Before their last track of the set, the boys brought out their good friends and Sydney based fellow skater rockers, Dune Rats. Elvis actually donned a Dune Rats singlet throughout the entire set, and as far as I’m concerned, showing love for the locals never hurt a performance. Zac requested of the audience that before they start the next song (Cocaine), he wanted everyone in attendance to sit down, and we’d all know when the time would be to jump up together in unison. With even the band members starting off sitting down, he clearly wasn’t kidding. As soon as the guitar, drums and Zac’s thunderous vocals blasted in, thousands of people were on their feet in a flash, if for nothing else just to instinctively survive the potential trampling. Everyone bounced to the very end, and as far as I could tell, loved every second.
I went in to this set without actually having invested much thought prior, I had no idea what to expect. Let me tell you, after experiencing what FIDLAR has to offer, they can now call me a present and future lifelong devotee. These boys completely restored my faith in punk rock, and now I can go to sleep at night knowing that all is not lost and all is not dead; FIDLAR is still kicking.
Until next time boys, F*** It Dog, Life’s A Risk.
Josh Di Matteo
see more photos here