The first band of the night that performed at White Oak Music Hall on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 23rd was the Side Eyes, a high-energy four-piece that has released music through Burger Records as well as other labels. I would be lying if I said I had ever heard of this band prior to their set, but I wish I had. The band came out, one member at a time, each with more momentum than the next until finally the lead singer made her way to the stage and playing their opener “I Hate Dates.” I would not say that the band is comprised of technical musicians who have spent hours honing their craft, but they do have the raw adrenaline and pure excitement factor that reminds one of why they enjoy live music in the first place. The highly politicized nature of the group’s music was best embodied by their performance of “Cat Call,” one of the group’s more popular tunes that sticks a finger in the eye of the misogynistic gaze. Other songs played included “Dead End Boy,” “Get Lost,” and “Get Me Out.” I don’t think I recommend this band to anyone that enjoys tame, concentrated song-writing, but I’d definitely point anyone who enjoys a raucous live show in the direction of the Side Eyes.
The Canadian band that is Dilly Dally, not to be confused with Dilly Dilly of Bud Light fame, is quickly becoming
one of my favorite new bands thanks to guitarist/lead vocalist Katie Monks’ unique voice that is excruciatingly arresting, in the best way possible. Yet another band on the bill Tuesday night that I had never heard of, I was immediately drawn in as soon as the opening chords of “I Feel Free” were unleashed on the crowd. Easily the most tame act of the night, Dilly Dally was by no means a boring show though, playing songs like “Sober Motel,” “Doom” and “Sorry Ur Mad,” the band evoked the post-punk stylings of the Wire coupled with the scratchy vocals of Wanda Jackson. Closing with “Heaven,” the titular track from their latest album, the song was the last moment of “calm,” or as calm as a FIDLAR show can be before the headlining band made their way to the stage. Although I had never even heard of the band prior to seeing their set, I found the set extremely compelling, and expect great things from the Toronto band as they navigate their nascent beginnings.
If you know me, you know I’m a Fidiot. Some of my favorite live shows have been FIDLAR shows, especially the one’s back in the day downstairs at Fitzgerald’s. This includes the show where my then-girlfriend got her earring ripped out, proceeding to pass out, which led me to getting her out of the crowd, but not before Iing on the stage to do a stage dive before tending to my unconscious girlfriend. Yeah, I know, I was a bad boyfriend, but I was sixteen, please understand. That being said, this was not a typical FIDLAR show; an unbelievably violent experience where limbs, beer cans, and blood is flying around the crowd like it’s normal.
This show was tame. The band has gone through quite the journey since the days that I was first introduced to them through their D.I.Y.U.I. EP, which was pure adolescent adrenaline. They’ve become huge, getting airplay in Shameless, playing Coachella, as well as a slew of late-night shows. Opening with “Alcohol,” the lead single from the band’s forthcoming album, the crowd was already at a fever-pitch, throwing their bodies around with reckless abandon. Then, the band went into arguably their biggest hit, “No Waves,” from their self-titled debut album, before running through some golden oldies “White on White” and “Stoked and Broke.” A trio of songs from the band’s second album, the aptly titled Too followed, including then-lead single “40 Oz. On Repeat,” which has an amazingly nostalgic D.I.Y.
video that is required viewing for any Fidiot. “40 Oz.” was followed by “Drone,” which featured prominently in a number of video games, and was succeeded by “Leave Me Alone.” Throughout the set the band played with the focus and precision of grizzled surgeons, as vocal duties were passed between lead vocalist, Zac Carper, guitarist Elvis Kuehn, and Brandon Schwartzel, as drummer Max Kuehn banged out the beats behind them. As expected, a large amount of the set was dedicated to playing songs from their yet unreleased album, including “Too Real,” “Are You High?,” “Can’t You See,” “Flake,” and “:(.” As a longtime fan I really wanted to see tracks like “Max Can’t Surf,” a song about their drummer’s chronic clumsiness, or “No Ass,” a deep cut by most people’s standards. Late in the set, the band turned it up a notch, playing “Wait for the Man,” and one of the most aggressive odes to alcoholism ever, “Cheap Beer.”
After the song, the band left the stage, presumably to catch their breath before returning to perform three more songs. Of those songs performed were “Awkward,” the closest thing to a love song in FIDLAR’s repertoire, which was in stark contrast to the following two songs used to close out the set, “Blackout Stout,” and “Cocaine,” another amazing and crucial music video for Fidiots, which features Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation fame. After thanking the audience, the sound guys, merch man, and the bouncers, Carper asked the audience to take a minute to “chill-out,” asking them to sit on the ground for the beginning of the nearly seven-minute song, before causing mass chaos when the song got really rowdy. Ultimately, I’m happy to see where FIDLAR has gone, not necessarily in an artistic direction, but in terms of success. It’s bittersweet remembering how authentic and raw their shows felt, but there are certain things that will never change, one of those things being this simple fact: FIDLAR puts on one helluva show.