L.A. Garage Punks Fidlar's Crazy New Year's Eve House Party Show

Rebecca Smeyne
Papermag photographer Rebecca Smeyne is in L.A. for the next few weeks, where she'll be covering shows, events and all the general weirdness the city has to offer for us. Below, her account of a boonanas-sounding New Year's Eve party with garage punk band Fidlar.

L.A. is a place where people tend not to stick to plans. Call it flaky or call it spontaneous; either way, an essential part of living here, it seems, is an ability to "go with the flow."  And so, on New Year's Eve, instead of attending the highly anticipated Give Up the Ghost reunion show (they're a seminal hardcore punk band whose members include include Wes Eisold of Cold Cave), I ended up at a gloriously gritty house party in Eagle Rock. The main attraction was LA-based Fidlar, whom I first discovered at Vice/Noisey's CMJ party a few months ago in New York. At that showcase, despite the presence of many buzzier bands (e.g. Caveman, Twin Shadow, Bleached, Main Attraktionz), the one that stuck with me was Fidlar, a young, as-yet unsigned garage punk act.  And thus, I was thrilled to catch them on New Year's Eve in their native setting, performing on the ground in someone's backyard, flanked by rowdy, psyched fans and an old RV. The party sprawled in every direction: a row of spectators sat atop the RV, guys peed on neighbor's fences, couples made out behind cars, people alternately sprayed and swigged from bottles of champagne, girls from the party in fur coats drunkenly conversed in a nearby ampm convenience store parking lot, the closest source for beer.

To the uninitiated, Fidlar sounds like a terrible band name, but it resonates with past and present skater kids; in that community, the word is known as an acronym, standing for "Fuck it dog, life's a risk," which basically means, "just do it." The song "Wake Bake Skate" is one of their catchiest, and also gives one an idea of the band's priorities. Their video for "Max Can't Surf" is a clever invention, featuring adorable red-headed drummer Max Kuehn (with his lone "Happy Camper" tattoo) playing every instrument in a band of his clones. The mosh pit during the show Saturday night was so intense, party-goers repeatedly knocked singer Zac Carper to the ground, while also managing to pass around a full-size bottle of Bombay Sapphire. This was a little surprising, as the party seemed like more of a Four Loko affair (the list of Fidlar's "influences" on Facebook is a tally of cheap beer and malt liquor), but after all, it was a holiday.

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