Friday night brought a couple of punk/alternative heavy hitters to the legendary First Avenue & 7th St. Entry in the form of FIDLAR & Dilly Dally. On the first date of the 25+ string of shows titled “A North American Tour In 2018,” both bands appeared to already be in mid-tour form, both providing energetic sets full of heavy riffs and angst.
Toronto-natives Dilly Dally strolled gingerly out onto the stage around 9:00 PM, picked up their instruments, and after some brief re-tuning, got straight down to business. In the short time since they released their acclaimed debut record, Sore, Dilly Dally toured the world and took the press by storm, only to nearly collapse under the weight of their own success and call it quits forever.
Rising from the ashes with more power and conviction than ever before, the Toronto rockers’ new album is, appropriately enough, titled Heaven, and it’s a fierce, fiery ode to optimism, a distortion-soaked battle cry for hope and beauty in a world of darkness and doubt.
Frontwoman Katie Monks describes the songs as coping mechanisms, and the collection does indeed form something of a survival kit for hard times, but even more than that, it’s a declaration of faith in the power of music and a burning reminder that we need not wait until the afterlife for things to get better, an ideology that she carries with her on stage in a very transparent way.
Performing for a little over forty-five minutes, Dilly Dally made their way through a generous amount of tracks from their debut album, as well as sprinkling in a few from their new record, which the crowd responded very well too.
A band of very few words, which is something that one could also attribute to the fact this was the opening night of what is likely the most substantial string of shows they’ve played to date, I appreciated the no-nonsense, let’s skip the pleasantries and play some fucking Rock N’ Roll vibe they gave off during their performance. I’m very much looking forward to checking out Dilly Dally again the next time they stroll through the Twin Cities.
After a brief changeover and an opportunity for half of the crowd to take a smoke break, it was time for Los Angeles-natives FIDLAR (Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) to take the stage. Performing in the Twin Cities for the first time since their 2016 show at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, the crowd was anxious to see one of their favorite bands again.
Formed in 2009 in Southern California, FIDLAR consists of Elvis Kuehn (guitar/vocals) and Max Kuehn (drums) the sons of Greg Kuehn, keyboardist for Long Beach punk legends, T.S.O.L.. while Zac Carper (vocals/guitar) is the son of famed surfboard designer John Carper. Zac struggled with drug addiction and spent time in rehab for it, inspiring the song “No Waves”. Bassist Brandon Schwartzel was Carper’s friend before joining the band, with the two bonding over drugs and homelessness.
In 2011, they released their debut EP, DIYDUI, and in 2012, Fidlar was named one of Stereogum’s 40 Best New Bands of 2012. After signing to Mom + Pop music, they went on to release their self-titled debut album in January of 2013. In September of 2015, the band released their sophomore offering, Too, which started to gather more mainstream attention for them, culminating with their television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! later that year.
Since then, the band has spent a lot of time touring, including the tour that last brought them to Minneapolis, as well as taking some much needed time away from the hectic music industry to write & record their upcoming album, which we are unfortunately still waiting for a release date on.
That brings us all the way to Friday night at First Avenue, the kickoff show for the “A North American Tour In 2018,” and I’ll tell you it was very much worth the wait. This band, while performing, is something truly special. They are one of those bands that just kind of, gets it, and it always ends up being a show you will always remember.
Launching straight into the lead-single from their forthcoming album, “Alcohol,” the show started with me getting covered in a water/beer mixture as the crowd collectively went absolutely apeshit upon hearing the opening notes. Immediately after the closing notes, they swiftly launched into “No Waves,” another crowd favorite which sent the energy of the room into all-out chaos.
The rest of the show essentially involved FIDLAR playing all of the incredible songs they have written over the years, while grown adults ran into each other at incredibly high speeds in the many moshpits that had opened throughout the show. At one point, Zac made a point of opening one of their songs with an “all-girl moshpit” which the crowd quickly followed along with.
Performing for roughly 75-minutes, FIDLAR hit all the high points from their career, as well as showcasing some new songs that we can expect to hear on their upcoming record. For the sake of wrapping up this already incredibly long review, I’ll just end it with this:
Go see this fucking band, they are fucking incredible and you will love it.
FIDLAR Setlist: Friday, September 7th, 2018 – First Avenue
- No Waves
- 40. Oz
- Too Real
- W-C / 5-9
- Are You
- Can’t You
- Why Generation
- Cheap Beer