with Metz, Dryspell
The Social; Orlando, FL • May 12, 2015
Over the course of my concert going years, I’ve seen drug overdoses, fainting, inappropriate groping of crowd surfers, anonymous makeouts between strangers, and countless fights and injuries all occur within the anarchic circle of the Mosh Pit. What happens in the pit, stays in the pit — except when it’s 2015 and simply being in the pit makes you susceptible to ejection from the concert by the security guards who police it. It’s a different concert world, a “safer” one (No smoking! No crowd surfing! No stage diving! No moshing!), but is that a good thing? For adults who want to leave the place with their bones intact and their lungs uncharred, sure, but for the new crop of teens looking to rebel and let loose, not so much. They might as well have their mommies chaperoning.
That’s why when a pit unites and turns their nose up at the venue, in unison, to say “what are you gonna do, kick us ALL out?” the teenager in me (who lied to go the concert and will get in worlds of trouble for coming home at 4am after) rejoices. Because, like the headliner’s acronym of a name declares, “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk.”
The Social was housing that kind of crowd for the one-two punch of FIDLAR and Metz and I could hardly contain the big ass smile smeared across my face. With every crowd surfer who climbed up to the main floor railing to push off, with every over eager mosher who fell to the floor only to be quickly and safely helped up ( I even saw a pair of glasses get saved from crushing death), with every damn-the-man stage diver who raised a middle finger to the establishment — my heart grew a little larger.
It all started with Metz… well, technically the show started with a local act called Dryspell who were — in their own words — “the band that doesn’t belong on this bill.” They weren’t bad, though their singer could surely use a healthy dose of self confidence, but it’s true, they really didn’t fit. So, in effect, Metz ignited the spark that quickly became a brushfire.
The Canadian trio bring the early years crunch and noise of Nirvana back in an unabashedly LOUD way. The vocals of Alex Edkins get buried beneath his own guitar feedback and Hayden Menzies’ animal drumming — even Chris Slorach’s bass lines get sucked into the cacophony of noise — but somehow there are discernible melodies buried deep within. Too often those melodies sounded a bit too close to Nirvana (“Rats” sounds like “Negative Creep”‘s scuzzed out cousin), but since I never got to see Nirvana, rather than judge I chose to throw my neck out and enjoy the headbang-worthy chaos along with everyone else.
While Metz may have brought me around to their sonic onslaught by the time they wrapped things up, FIDLAR needed not to woo me as I have long since been onboard. I remember it like it was yesterday, receiving a download of their single “Cheap Beer” with its rebellious shouted chorus of ” I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU!” (in all caps, because it’s sung as such). It was love at first listen. They sounded like skate/surf punks who didn’t care about much other than having a good time and making some noise. When I got a stream of their debut full length a few months later the infatuation for the single became straight up fandom for the band.
They’ve got punk rock in their blood (guitarist Elvis Kuehn and drummer Max Kuehn are the sons of T.S.O.L.’s Greg Kuehn), but their sound has got a garagey playfulness to it — sonically having a lot in common with artists like Pujol, or Ty Segall. Whatever you call their sound, they own it and they deliver it with casual ferocity. Singer/guitarist Zac Carper performs in board shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and sings with little expression yet manages to not only keep the crowd of misfits misbehaving like champs, but gets the same bunch of moshing banshees to follow his instruction when he says, “Let’s get a little weird… I want everyone in here [the pit] to sit down for a minute.” And, like kindergartners at nap time, they do… they’re up and about by the time the first note of the next song begins, but still — killer crowd control on the part of the FIDLAR man.
With just the one album, and a couple of EPs to their name (new record slated for later this year), their set hit all the right bases (“Cheap Beer,” “Wake Bake Skate,” “Awkward”) before ending with a bang and no encore. When you destroy a stage the way FIDLAR destroys a stage, no encore is necessary.