Fidlar Rocks Orlando
I was expecting an aggressive, noisy and powerful night of high energy punk at The Social last night, and I was not disappointed.
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Arriving just before Metz took the stage, my eyes soaked in the scene. I noticed that every single person in the packed house seemed to either have a PBR clenched in their fist, or they sported a bold “X” sharpied onto the back of their hand signifying they were too young to imbibe. As I was a bit older than 99% of the crowd, I slipped over to the bar for my own PBR, hoping I’d blend in a bit – perhaps the bargain-priced crap beer that everyone else was swilling would help me fit in?
With the tall boy in my hand, I slipped over to the stage to snap a few photos of the band from Toronto that I knew precious little about.
Metz is a trio whose music is characterized as “noise rock” by Wikipedia, the only bio I came across as I quickly perused the vast internet. I’m more of a melodic rock fan, but am always open to rock of any genre, as long as it’s played with passion, and on this night, the passion literally poured out of this trio.
Metz had the crowd amped up, led by vocalist Alex Edkins’ vicious howls and head slamming guitar riffs. But, drummer Hayden Menzies stole the show, he was a non-stop maniac delivering freight train drums that had the pit at the Social in a constant state of motion. They delivered a twelve song thirty minute set that left all three band members soaked and the fans happily exhausted.
As the crew set-up for Fidlar, I drifted outside for some fresh air, anxious to see the headliners for the first time. I had heard a bit of their prior music releases, an edgy blend of California skate/surf punk, and had heard they were excellent live. With a name pulled from their mantra “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk,” I suspected I was in for a memorable show.
Unfortunately for me, they jumped into their set a full fifteen minutes early, and by the time I got back near the stage, the floor was a frenzied mass of flesh, and I was relegated to a spot deep in the back of the club. Hence the absence of quality photos for this show.
From the first notes of “Stoked And Broke,” the entire floor was immediately transformed into a buzzing mosh pit. The young crowd was instantly 100% bought into their music.
Front man Zac Carper, decked out in a Hawaiian shirt and cut-off board shorts epitomizes the surf/skate culture that Fidlar caters to. He’s the focal point, but the entire band is tight and cohesive and sound like they are in their element playing their hard-edged stuff. Carper shares vocal duties with guitarist Elvis Kuehn, and the distinctive dual vocals added a nice dynamic to their sound.
By the time they slipped into their second song, “Max Can’t Surf,” they had won over the entire club. Their fans were dancing everywhere, bouncing around, singing along and smiling incessantly. The pit area at The Social was transformed into one surging, writhing organism, pulsating and shifting as one as the fans careened across the floor in a constant state of harmonious chaos. It was impressive watching so many fans slamming into each other, but in a clearly pleasant, caring way – I’m sure I’m doing a horrible job describing it, but this was not your typical most pit.
Fidlar churned through another dozen songs and interacted with the appreciative crowd throughout. When one fan got out of hand, Kuehm ushered security over to help out, it was one of those rare nights. Carper was dynamic and fun; at times, he played amidst the crowd, dropped to his knees for emphasis and waxed eloquently to the fans, sharing his seemingly random thoughts on the use of “Fuck You” for instance, flashing back to rehab experiences, and randomly sliding into a verse of “The Lime And The Coconut.” All unexpected treats from a band that continues to grow their passionate fan base.
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