Sweat, water, blood – and probably tears – flood the floor of Heaven. FIDLAR have been in town and they’ve utterly laid waste to the place – as if that needed pointing out. Violent moshing; gung-ho crowd surfing; airborne pints of lager; iPhones sent flying; kamikaze stage diving; it’s complete and utter, unadulterated carnage.
It’s not often you see a mass of bodies walking wearily towards you, minus shirts and covered in sweat and blood that most likely isn’t entirely their own, and think “Oh, you’ve had a good time”, but such outcomes aren’t usually down to no-fucks-given California punk rock. The bruised limbs and the shoes that come back to their owners in fewer pieces than they left their feet are not regrets, but rather souvenirs of a stormer of a night.
The unashamedly raucous chanting of “I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! Fuck! You!” serves as something of a battle cry from band and fans alike, the latter taking advantage of Heaven’s come and go as you please admission policy to circumnavigate the inevitably extortionate London bar prices. ‘Stoked And Broke’ couldn’t ring any more true either. Stoked pre-gig, broke after it, and broken during it, this one sends the sweaty revellers crashing into each other cataclysmically, as indeed does every single song on the setlist.
Alert to the youthful crowd’s rampant enthusiasm, the band do their bit to crank things up a notch.
If the boisterous contents of their album were expected to cause such widespread chaos, one old FIDLAR favourite does more damage than many would perhaps have anticipated. Listen to ‘West Coast’ through your headphones and it’s as chill as anything; try to chill when it unfolds live, however, and you’re putting yourself in a perilous position. It initiates one of the biggest crowd surges of the night, as more and more plucky young fans edge ever closer to the stage-side steps, getting themselves in position for the ultimate adrenaline rush of a stage dive into the sweltering cauldron of perspiration in a song or two’s time.
Alert to the youthful crowd’s rampant enthusiasm, the band do their bit to crank things up a notch. As they prepare to unleash set closer ‘Cocaine’, singer Zac Carper requests that everyone take a seat on the floor. It provides welcome respite, but more importantly it’s the precursor to the final round of pandemonium. Right on cue, as the intro – subdued by FIDLAR’s standards – explodes into the destructive main body of the song, everyone shoots up, bouncing around and clattering into their comrades. Oh, and security have finally given up on holding back the deluge. It’s been going on all night, but now you actually have permission to stage dive – do it!
As if ‘Cocaine’ wasn’t enough to render ears – and whole bodies – redundant for the next day or seven, FIDLAR return for the briefest but rowdiest of encores. ‘Wake Bake Skate’ is always a riot, and even though the crowd drop Zac as he steps into the aforementioned cauldron, both parties are having a blast. Life’s been a risk tonight, but everyone’s just thought “Fuck it”, and we’re the (wet) dogs.
Buy: Fidlar – Too