LA Skater-surf punk DIY band, FIDLAR (whose acronym stands for “Fuck It Dawg Life’s A Risk”) held their release show for their 3rd album, Almost Free, at the Echo in Los Angeles. The Echo was home to the band’s release show for their self titled album back in 2012. Just like their previous release show, FIDLAR sold out the venue moments after it was announced on their Instagram New Years Day, being sold for “almost free” $5. $5 to experience FIDLAR for the 5th time? Sign me up!
Entering the venue, white poster board spray painted with “Almost Free FIDLAR” across it, reminded everyone of the DIY aspect that started the band and welcomed the fans to what would be a night to remember. Attendees were flooding the bar for the $5 "Almost Free Beer” special for the release show. Nothing is better than cheap beer. Tropa Magica, a cumbria tropidelic/discodelic band that was once known as Thee Commons, opened the show and stirred up some energy for the headliner. Nothing compared to the energy during FIDLAR’s set. The intimate venue sprang alive as the band’s ragtag team of musicians took stage. Brandon Schwartzel sporting his iconic bucket hat, overalls and bass, Zac Carper’s black scrub, skateboard peddle board and Spiderweb Costco guitar, Elvis rocking a leather jacket, slicked back hair and Fender Jaguar guitar, and Max Kuehn staying true to a t-shirt behind the drum kit. The boys started off with “Alcohol”, a tune that starts off with similar a build up as the bands previous song “Cocaine”. Energy erupted as soon as the first note hit, people rushing in the front to start the pit. After the song, the energy of the crowd and the pit felt like waking up in a whole other country.
The set traveled through their discography, going back to “West Coast”, “Punks”, “Why Generation”, “Drone”, and 40 Oz. On Repeat from their sophomore album Too, “No Waves” from their self-title, and even playing their cover of the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage” which made an appearance on the internet and their live performances in 2016. Talk about a blast from the past. The singles put out by the band leading up to the release of Almost Free hit the stage. “By Myself” created a dance party kind of vibe, with the crowd bouncing so much, fear of everyone falling through to the Echoplex was on my mind. Everyone belting the lyrics “Why does getting sober make you feel like a loner?” brought back similar vibes as to “Sober” from their last album. “Flake” and “Cant You See” also played that night, with Elvis taking the reins of vocals. “Too Real” punched the crowd even harder than the studio version when blasted in the car, definitely made people really think if this show was “too fucking real”.
It would not be a FIDLAR performance if crazy antics didn’t happen during the set. Midway through their performance of “West Coast”, Carper halted the set due to two attendees fighting in the crowd. “If you are going to fight anybody, fight me,” challenged Carper “otherwise, either go to the back of the venue or get out, don’t ruin the show for everyone else.” The angst and beer induced crowd yelled at the patrons to the leave because the band would not continue until the two fighters left, which they did. Max counted the band back in and continued to shred through the song as if nothing happened. In the middle of the performance of “Flake” an attendee decided to climb his way to the top of one of the pillars in the venue and after coming down from hanging like a koala in the forest, security began to escort him out. “Security, Security!” exclaimed Elvis, trying to get his attention mid song as the band trekked on, “Let him stay, he did nothing wrong” Security listened and let the climber stay as the he ran back into the pit, being bombarded by high fives from his friends. Noticed from youtube videos I’ve seen of the bands sets last year, FIDLAR had a new element to their shows. “Separate down the center” commanded Carper, attempting to part the sea of moshing fans. The crowd parted, leaving a gap through the venue in front of the singer. As the crowd prepared for themselves for what they thought was a wall of death, Carper said, “Now, I want an all girls mosh pit for this one! Keep the dick out of the pit.” Girls now filled the once empty aisle and as the band began running through “5 to 9” from their self-title, the crowd went insane with the all girls pit in the center and small mosh pits on the sides.
The night ended with the four playing “Cheap Beer” as everyone’s “Almost Free Beer” was starting to settle in. Everyone released whatever drunk filled angst they had left (some going into overdrive mode) into one last 2 minute madness of moshing, lyric belting, and stage diving. You were lucky to leave with your vocal cords still intact or at least one bruise but everyone still had a ball. The recordings of the album may be different than what the band has released up to date, but the crazy and unpredictable live show that we have come to know of FIDLAR still remains.
FIDLAR had a show the next day at the Teragram Ballroom quoted “Almost Free Too” which brought along bands The Side Eyes and No Parents to open up.
The band continues their tour for Almost Free in London the next few weeks as we await for them to return to the U.S.
OPENERS: Tropa Magica
GALLERY 2: FIDLAR
OPENER: No Parents
JANUARY 25th, 2019
LOS ANGELES, CA
JANUARY 26th, 2019
LOS ANGELES, CA
PHOTOS BY: Drew Silva
*CREDIT THE PHOTOGRAPHER IF IMAGES USED, PLEASE! NO EDITING/REMOVAL OF WATERMARK(S)*