‘Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk’ is the perfect acronym for Los Angeles rockers FIDLAR even if the ‘risks’ are starting to slow down and decrease. After much anticipation from the fans fondly known as “Fidiots” album number three Almost Free was released on the 25th of January which was celebrated by a noisy and chaotic return to the iconic London venue Heaven, three and a half years after a 2015 appearance by the band at the very same venue. FIDLAR has always been iconically known as a skater punk rock band making music about drugs and alcohol and bad habits so Almost Free was received with mixed responses because this album is starting to break away from this mould of cycles of drug overdoses and binge drinking and is starting to show more of a sense of self awareness and a realisation that perhaps it’s time to change and as with any band who has a change of sound or content, fans have been protesting but as instructed by singer Zac Carper – “if you love the old shit then listen to the old shit.”
Three piece Runcorn based band SPILT were an excellent choice of support bringing about energy and movement coming from both themselves and the crowd from the get go. Their sound is similar to Shame with the same gritty bass and grunge vocals but they had the same ballsy attitude and stage presence of FIDLAR. The announcement of a new song created much excitement showcasing heavy guitar with a good beat speeding up, perfect for getting the crowd riled up. SPILT were great for getting the audience involved and enthusiastic getting everyone ready and excited for the arrival of FIDLAR. A couple of chants back and forth of “fuck shit up” between the band and the crowd brought about a feeling of anticipation for the chaos that was about to ensue.
After the sweaty start of the night from SPILT’s set there was only a short break of silence before chants of “FIDLAR FIDLAR” started to happen intermittently. The second FIDLAR came on stage with their new song Alcohol, mosh pits immediately began again. The presence of nine security guards lining the front of the stage meant that unlike their show at heaven in 2015 there was no stage invading but that did not stop the crowd from going wild non stop for the entire show with lots of sweaty crowd surfing and bloody noses and bruised ribs. Third on the setlist was crowd favourite By Myself which according to Zac was “made for England”. This song is one of the best examples on the album of FIDLAR’s move away from previous themes of unhealthy lifestyles, By Myself instead shows a reluctant admittance of the presence of mental health problems and addiction, talking about redemption and the struggles of the road to recovery with lyrics such as “Everybody says that I need professional help” and “I didn’t know it felt good to cry”. Despite the slightly sad content the song is upbeat and easy to sing along to, provoking just as many mosh pits as other songs.
A highlight of the set was the performance of 5-9 where Zac told the crowd to clear the middle of the floor and then told us that girls and only girls could be part of the mosh pit for the following song and if any males were to enter the pit they were to be punched in the face. The phrase “no dicks on the dance floor” was repeated a couple of times, and despite the risk of injury it still felt good to have a band respecting women enough to allow them to do what they like without to stand in a corner with the worry of gender related safety.
Towards the end, Zac made another request from the crowd. He told everyone to take their right shoes off, and despite it being a cold snowy night their Fidiots immediately obeyed. He then instructed everyone to throw their shoes at the balcony and without hesitation shoes began flying left right and centre. Shoes were not just being thrown at the balcony, they were also being catapulted towards the stage and with great agility the band were managing to dodge them while still playing Wake Bake Skate. The set was ended with Zac collecting as many shoes as he could from the stage and running off with the joy of a gleeful child. This show was a night of disorderly mayhem in the best way possible. FIDLAR are a band that show brutal honesty in their songs and relentless energy in their live performances, being themselves whilst not giving a fuck. The phrase “fuck it dog, life’s a risk” may not be as applicable to their new music as it is to their old but regardless this band is one for the ages and not to be missed.
Photography by Flo McCarthy