FIDLAR Brings Posi Vibes and Punk Rage to the Metro

By Justice Petersen – Photos by Riley James

“Girls only pit, let’s go!” singer Zac Carper shouted to the masses. All of a sudden, girls who had stood against the walls for the entire show suddenly screamed in excitement as they set down their plastic cups to frantically grab the wrists of their best friends to drag them into the rounds. Women from all around the floor rushed to the center of the Metro where a giant space, one big enough to cause patrons standing by the entryway to take a couple of steps back, had formed.

If you see any dudes in there, fuck them up!” Carper threatened with a smile.

This beautiful, feminist, surfer punk-fueled chaos had occurred at FIDLAR’s sold-out concert in Chicago on May 4. Bringing positive energy and tortured lyrics that can make listeners feel a sense of belonging from their misery, the intensity of a FIDLAR show is a flame that burns strong throughout their entire set.

Hailing from Los Angeles, FIDLAR (whose name comes from a phrase in skate culture meaning “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) is a surf punk band whose music can always make you feel better despite the lyrics about drugs (usually the cheap ones), alcohol (also the cheap stuff) and depression. With catchy and buzzy riffs, great energy, and raw vocals, FIDLAR’s music comes with an optimistic intensity as burning as the California sun. With their positive attitudes and devil-may-care vibes, FIDLAR writes bangers that are drenched in Pacific waves and undoubtedly cheap beer.

FIDLAR’s show in Chicago was incredibly fun, especially in its familiar unpredictability. It didn’t seem like there was one mosh pit in the center of the room. Rather, it seemed like everyone on the floor was jumping up and down, spilling drinks on one another as the entire crowd was packed together like sardines. Right as the band opened with “Wake Bake Skate”, hands, drinks, and shoes were thrown into the air and bodies began to slam into one another.

FIDLAR is a band deeply rooted in both past and present punk scenes. They’ve been around for some time, releasing their debut EP “DIYDUI” in 2011 and coming out with numerous singles, LPs, and side projects over the following years. Also, members and brothers Max (drums) and Elvis (former guitarist) are the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist for punk icons T.S.O.L. Recently, FIDLAR released an EP back in March called “That’s Life”.

Nearly ten years later they continue to make waves within the scene. A few months ago Chicago Music Guide interviewed Lake Erie surf punk band The Rosies (, and vocalist/guitarist Jon Cropper said that they’re heavily inspired by West Coast bands like FIDLAR and Together Pangea (whose current FIDLAR members Max Kuehn and bassist Brandon Schwartzel formed the band Los Bolos with) as well as garage rock bands like The Hives, who FIDLAR toured with at the beginning of their career. FIDLAR comes with an extensive history, and if you ever want to catch up on the band then Ouija Beach on YouTube does a great job of covering it:

FIDLAR played a diverse set, featuring tracks from all of their albums. A FIDLAR show brings people together in the most positive way possible. They make music that makes you feel better when you break your skateboard or wake up on somebody’s floor.

Opening up for FIDLAR was Minneapolis-based indie punk trio Vial. Giving a killer performance, Vial features Taylor Kraemer (bass/keytar), KT Branscom (guitar), and Katie Fischer (drums). Their music is fast and rage-fueled, but they perform with friendly charisma and peppiness. You may think it’s safe but be warned – just like how every rose comes with thorns, Vial’s music comes with teeth that bite.

Despite a strict 10 pm curfew from the venue, FIDLAR’s performance didn’t give the impression of being cut short, and it had everything a FIDLAR fan would desire. They played their more happy and upbeat songs like “Max Can’t Surf” and “Sand on the Beach” and balanced them out with angrier tracks like “FSU” and “Cheap Beer”.

If FIDLAR slams into your town, just know that standing near the back of the room won’t save you from their infectious energy and brutal assault. So be warned – and bring plenty of beer.


Wake Bake Skate
Stoked and Broke
Max Can’t Surf
Sand on the Beach
40oz. On Repeat
On Drugs
No Waves
By Myself
I Just Wanna Die
Leave Me Alone
West Coast
5 to 9
Cheap Cocaine
Are You High
Bad Habits
Cheap Beer

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