REVIEW: FIDLAR at Union Transfer
There’s something not very surprising about the fact that FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper chose sobriety to be the common theme from FIDLAR’s sophomore album, Too. Anybody who’s taken a gander at some of the lyrics from their first album knows the band has – or at least had – a fondness for drugs. There’s easily at least 15 examples I could choose from throughout the album (probably more), but the following lyrics from “No Waves” seem to sum it up best:
I feel, feel like a cokehead I feel, feel like I can’t get drunk no more Cause I’m on the floor Looking for some matches just to cook up a score I feel, feel like shooting up I feel, feel like giving up on my skateboard Cause I’m fucking bored I wanna perfect left down a sunset shore
I feel, feel like a crackhead I feel, feel like I’m not gonna make it no more Cause I’m on the floor Just pick me up and give me some more
Yeah, it sounds like somebody does too many drugs.
Fortunately, Carper found himself in rehab, got sober, and then wrote a follow-up album about being sober. “I’m not going to stay fucked up just to fit in or because that’s what people want me to be,” he said in an interview with Stereogum. “I don’t want to die when I’m fucking 28.”
And to boot, the album’s not bad.
But from the moment the band opened the show with debut-album-favorite “Stoked and Broke,” it became clear Carper didn’t need drugs to put on an energetic performance. Flailing his guitar and falling to the floor uncontrollably, the crowd responded by moshing and crowd surfing. In fact, the three-song photo policy (photographers typically have access to the photo pit for the first three songs of a band’s performance) was cut short about one and a half songs in, when the security guards needed the extra room to catch all the incoming crowd surfers, forcing me and two other reporters back into the general admission area of Union Transfer. It wasn’t too much of an inconvenience; after all, trying to take decent pictures while getting kicked in the head by crazy crowd surfing fans is no easy feat.
A few songs later, I find myself standing on the stage-right, 21-plus area of UT, giving myself an overhead view of the mosh pits happening beside me. “We’re called FIDLAR. Welcome to the show,” proclaimed Carper, taking a quick break to speak to the crowd somewhere about five songs into the set. “We’re opening up for the Pope!”
Around this time of the show, the band – who up until this point had played all old songs – played a few songs off Too. To no one’s surprise, the energy didn’t fade in the slightest. In fact, it picked up. New songs, such as “40oz on Repeat,” “Drone” and “Why Generation” garnered arguably the best response of the night, kicking to the curb the notion that when a band plays the new stuff, it’s time for a bathroom break.
Without a doubt, every song from the self-titled debut album elicited a maniacal response from the crowd as well, including “Cheap Beer,” “No Waves” and the night’s closing number “Cocaine.” The one disappointment of the night? No encore. Despite fans sticking around a few minutes after “Cocaine,” the band never eventually made it back onstage. However, one look at the sweaty packs of teenagers spilling onto Spring Garden Street after the show proves that FIDLAR had done its job. No encore necessary.