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Concert Review: FIDLAR at The Howard Theater

FIDLAR, SWMRS and The Frights gave politically charged performances

Concert Review: FIDLAR at The Howard Theater

L.A. skate punk band FIDLAR played a lively, action-packed set at The Howard Theater Nov. 10. The performance, which occurred a day after the election, gave fans an opportunity to forget politics and release their energy.

FIDLAR consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Zac Carper, bassist and backing vocalist Brandon Schwartzel, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Elvis Kuehn and drummer Max Kuehn.

The Howard Theater, a space that usually hosts jazz and soul artists, was an interesting venue choice for the band, as FIDLAR’s main demographic is infamous for moshing at shows. Security guards at the event seemed taken aback when the first stage divers of the night made their appearances.  

San Diego garage punk band The Frights was the first opener at the show. The band played both older songs and songs off of its most recent album “You Are Going to Hate This”. Even though it was early in the night and the venue was less than halfway full, fans moshed, jumped and screamed.

Band members expressed their disappointment in the results of the election and encouraged the crowd to let go of politics for the next few hours. The most popular songs from the set included title track “You Are Going to Hate This” and “Tungs,” another song from that same album.

Next on the lineup was Oakland punk rock band, SWMRS. The first member of the band to enter the stage was vocalist and guitarist Cole Becker. Fans roared in support when they saw the words “F--- Trump” scribbled on his shirt. Being the most politically active of the three bands, SWMRS led the audience in “F--- Trump” chants throughout their set.

SWMRS also encouraged stage diving and moshing. At one point in the set, band members even instructed the crowd to split down the middle, (creating what they called “the wall of death,”), then charge toward the opposite side when the band started playing. Fans were wild with fun energy and aggression.

Crowd favorites were “Figuring It Out,” “Miley,” “Harry Dean” and “Turn Up”. During the final song, “Drive North,” Cole Becker replaced some of the lyrics with “I hate misogyny, I hate racism, I hate Donald Trump,” which was met with wild cheer.

FIDLAR entered the stage to the national anthem. Though this received got mixed reception from the crowd, the band had the audience bouncing and yelling with joy shortly after. The crowd was wild with spirit and dozens of fans stage-dived during each song. Lead vocalist and guitarist Zac Carper chirped “thank you!” in a comical, high-pitched voiced between songs. He also expressed his frustration at the recent presidential election and led the crowd in more anti-Trump chants.

The band played several fan favorites, including  “40oz. On Repeat,” “No Waves,” “Cheap Beer,” “West Coast,” “Cocaine,” “Wake Bake Skate” and “Sober”.

FIDLAR’s set in D.C. was a perfect display of the qualities that make them unique and so well-loved by fans across the globe. The band’s simple, raw lyrics depict both complicated and mundane universal experiences. FIDLAR screams about frustrating life occurrences and its music serves as a healthy outlet for listeners going through the same situations. All three bands played fantastic sets and gave D.C. residents a much needed stress reliever.

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