FIDLAR @ Academy 2, Oxford 26.02.13

With news of sinkholes coming out of the East Coast of America last week, the West Coast punk rockers FIDLAR were inspiring an incredibly boisterous crowd to create their own hole through the upstairs floor of the Oxford 02 Academy.

Feb 26th, 2013 at Academy 2, Oxford / By Dave Reynolds
FIDLAR @ Academy 2, Oxford 26.02.13 FIDLAR like to write songs about beer, weed, surfing, so it only seemed appropriate while at a venue charging £4.00 for a drink to open up with what many of us were dreaming of, ‘Cheap Beer’. While on record the track sounds like it’s travelling at 100mph, the brutality of noise when played live may have broken the sound barrier. There’s such a ferocious volley of noise, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the spirit of the band. So, understandably, it’s not long before bodies go flying overhead and flailing fans disappear on the other side of the crash barrier, only to be overhead again thirty seconds later.

Wearing a Union Jack shirt might have helped FIDLAR win people over of course, but lead singer Zac Carper wasn’t trying to execute an anarchy in the UK kind of move. In fact, between several tracks, FIDLAR were trying to act as role models to inspire everyone in the room to start their own band, because “It’s the best thing in the world.” And then, to add to the fun of it all, Carper would lead into a track saying something like: “This song is about when you smoke too much weed and do your homework.”

With most tracks on their self-titled debut LP lasting less than three minutes, the show doesn’t offer much respite. ‘Wake Bake Skate’ has a perfect sing-a-long chorus and surprises with its melodic hooks scurrying from the speakers. ‘Max Can’t Surf’ slowed the pace down a little, evoking an idea of what The Beach Boys may have sounded like if they were a little rougher around the edges.
‘Whore’ was a standout moment. It starts off deceptively with strobe lighting and a stretched-out monotone guitar riff before urgently firing itself up. There are little change-ups in speed before each lyric in the chorus that adds to the thunderous noise. ‘Blackout Stout’ plays a neat trick of sounding grander and bolder than the setlist that surrounds it, and yet it still sounds ragged in the best way possible. FIDLAR may sing about trivial things, but they make such great sounds that you can’t help but want to go home and get that recorder out of the attic.