Photos By: Jessy Parr
If Saturday night at the Observatory in North Park was any indication, the youth is going to be alright. Rock ‘n’ roll was alive and well as Los Angeles band FIDLAR, Australian mates Dune Rats and local boys The Frights played to a packed, all ages crowd.
One window and a long will call line made loads of people miss The Frights set (myself included) but I was lucky enough to catch their last few songs, including a perfect cover of Violent Femmes “Add It Up” and popular tracks “Crust Bucket” and “Beach Porn“. The kids were going absolutely mental, mosh pitting and crowd surfing to the tracks of their local heroes.
Up next was Dune Rats, a ratchet surf rock band from Brisbane, Australia. They took stage to Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)“, but unfortunately I don’t think many of the teens got the joke, considering they were born in fucking 2000. They launched right into head bangin’ and screamin’ and spitting high up into the air and catching the spit back into their mouths (that part was only the lead singer). Despite the crazy high energy, the crowd mellowed to save stamina for FIDLAR. Rats played some covers as well, orginally opting for “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, changing their mind to Smash Mouth’s “Allstar” and finally setting on playing “Blister In The Sun”, another Violent Femmes song. It’s obviously so many of these garage punk bands draw influencer from 90’s grunge.
Which was displayed evidently in the crowd as well. Like a hodge podge of all different counter cultures, kids were dressed goth, surf, skate, punk, grunge, hippie, preppy, you name it. I guess that’s the power of the internet. Trying to experience and be a part of cultures long gone but there’s way too many options of which one to chose.
The giant FIDLAR lettering backdroped the stage, along with two hooded figures being unmasked on both sides of the stage as large wax black men, slightly resembling R.Kelly. There was also statues of each band member’s head, with eyes that lit up and mouths that breathed smoke. The Los Angeles foursome took stage and launched straight into stoner surf anthems off their 2013 self-titled debut album like “Stoked and Broke“, “Max Can’t Surf” and “No Waves“. The crowd lost their shit, as the entire pit of the Observatory turned into a moshing sea. I’ve never seen such a rowdy crowd in San Diego before.
Lead singer Zachary Carper commented how it sure was a lot bigger than the Che Cafe, the only other San Diego show they’ve played since 2013. They played a few songs off their latest 2015 album Too, with tracks like “Leave Me Alone” and “Awkward” as more introspective, “West Coast” as a happy party track and songs “Punks” and “40oz on Repeat” as heavier, angrier head-bangers.
Right before their last song, they asked the crowd if they “wanted to get weird”, responding with a giant cheer. Zac asked everyone to take a seat, reassuring them “you’ll know when to stand up.” The started to play the heavy intro to “Cocaine” and when the vocals hit, everyone immediately stood up, with a bunch of kids undoubtedly got trampled. Someone also got ahold of a full trashcan, launching it into the crowd with mostly empty water bottles flying everywhere. Poor kid whoever was on the receiving end of that trashcan.
Without a lot of other stage antics or frills, FIDLAR played their hearts out and the crowd was feelin’ it. No encore, no bullshit. Fuck it dawg.