Kids these days, so damn lucky. Back in the day the only all ages shows you’d ever hear about were your friend’s shitty supernova bro-core with deathcore influences ska band that would be held at some terrible bar in the boonies or if they REALLY made it big the Wreckroom or the Big Bop. Now with the kinds of mass exposure provided by the Internet, finding out about the wealth of all ages punk shows in Toronto is practically effortless. For the rest of us that means putting up with obnoxious teens, but really we should at least acknowledge the fact that all ages shows are a great way for giving those too young to attend gigs at most venues an opportunity to experience the wonder of live performance. And boy did FIDLAR put on a damn performance.
Inaugurating Canadian Music Week at the Great Hall was a last minute all ages 2nd concert by FIDLAR. My only major complaint though is that the Great Hall has a very liberal definition of “capacity”, with about half the main area empty for the entire duration of the show. Unable to get into the main floor you end up relegated to the balconies. This also prevents you from buying drinks (for those of age) and band merch. Maybe it’s due to some sort of structural integrity issue given the age of the Great Hall, but still it totally sucks to get there after a closing shift and not be allowed to get near a band you paid to see.
Emerging to an audience chanting their name, FIDLAR’s set did not disappoint. Fully embodying the meaning of their acronym-derived name (“Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk”) FIDLAR delivered an incendiary and chaotic set, their melodic garage punk driving the audience into a complete frenzy. Starting off with a one-two punch of “Stoked and Broke” and “Max Can’t Surf” FIDLAR promised an evening of sweaty entertainment as the crowd threw selves at each other and off the stage with reckless abandon. While much of the set was dedicated to material from their 2013 self-titled album as well as various EPs, new material was hinted at and a few new songs were played, the band coyly suggesting an upcoming release.
At one point singer Zac Carper effectively announced the band’s mission statement proclaiming, “We’re here to service you, and help get all that inner rage out” and well, then things got insane. How insane? People jumping off the balconies onto the stage insane (hello, security), band members exchanging instruments with the audience insane, a larger greasy man exposing himself to everyone insane, the crowd basically storming the stage until the barriers between audience and performer were completely lost insane. By the end of “Cocaine” the last song they played, there was no “band” anymore as the entire stage became host to a giant sweaty mass losing their minds to the sounds the remaining band were able to make.
In True CMW fashion, following the end of that show we decided to check out Barrie’s stoner rock two-piece Indian Handcrafts play at the Hideout. They played a tight and ferocious set drawing on a lot of the material of their self-titled debut, but introduced some newer numbers and closed with a cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”. Somewhat hilariously, the Hideout still has a drum kit with a skin from “Canadian Music Fest” printed on it. All in all, not such a bad way to start CMW.