This FIDLAR article was written by Lorna Gray, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
Following several UK festival appearances, including Reading, Leeds and Download, as well as the long awaited release of the band’s second album, ‘Too,’ a UK tour from L.A surf-punks FIDLAR was long overdue. Their fans have a reputation for being absolutely nuts and as the Ritz in Manchester filled up in anticipation for a night of shouted lyrics about getting fucked up, accompanied by crazy surf-style guitar hooks, the predominately teenaged audience struggled to contain their excitement, and crowd-surfing and moshing were difficult to avoid even before the band were present.
Nashville female fronted four-piece Bully take the main support slot and enthuses the sizeable crowd with their gritty, grungy sound. Singer Alicia gives a passionate performance, her husky yet screeching, powerful voice filling up the space of the venue, demanding attention and proving that a woman’s voice can be just as puissant as a man’s in what is a very male-dominated industry. The band seemed to enjoy every second spent on stage, and the audience seemed to reciprocate the feeling as the roar that erupted and emitted from them as the punk-y set of guitar-riffs and raw vocals came to a close was enough for a headline act.
The stage is decorated with doodled portraits of each band member and as the lights dim, UV lights reveal added detail – the sort of quirky thing that’s to be expected from these party punks – lead singer Zac’s portrait revealing the word “shred” on his forehead, a homage to a homemade tattoo he once woke up with etched onto his body after a heavy night.
Beginning their set with ‘Stoked’ and ‘Broke’ from the self-titled debut, the crowd swelled and energy surged throughout both the teen-filled mosh pit and the stage for the headliners everyone had been waiting for. Complicated garage puck guitar riffs dominate over simple chords and driving drumbeats, that causes the youthful spectators’ feet to leave the sticky alcohol-covered ground repetitively. The majority lose control of their inhibitions and body parts as the temperature rose, and the concept of personal space became entirely obsolete.
Continuing the set by ripping through tracks from both their new album as well as their self-titled debut, FIDLAR don’t lack in stage presence or enthusiasm, nor talent, as their heavy tracks are played so flawlessly with ease that their performance seems to be just as much fun for them as it is for their audience.
“You want to get fucking weird?” lead singer Zac asked, which was received with an enthusiastic cheer. “Every one of you sit on the floor”, he instructed, everybody complied while the intro to the self-titled album finisher ‘Cocaine’ played on a loop, teasing the crowd of what is bound to be an explosive and insanity-inducing finale. Gradually increasing in volume and intensity, the riff built up, “you know when to stand up”, Zac continued, as everybody crouched and waited for the inevitable climax.
As pins and needles and cramp spread across lower limbs, and just as knees felt as if they were about to give in; the caterwaul of noise in the heavy crash of drums, the thrash of guitars and the aggressively shouted vocals compelled everybody to jump up and go crazy to the sound of L.A punks playing a song about being fucked on class A drugs.
Despite being completely battered and bruised from the crowds’ antics, they wanted more, and as FIDLAR left the stage their name was chanted over and over in hope for their return. An entirely worthy waste of breath as an encore wasn’t on the cards and security ushered the hyped teens out of the venue, but FIDLAR know how to put on an absolutely badass show.