Live Review: FIDLAR + Dune Rats + Apes - Oxford Art Factory (31.07.13)


Splendour sideshow week continued on with Californian punks FIDLAR at the Oxford Art Factory, and judging by the crowd, this was one show that had a lot of buzz and excitement coming into it. Melbourne band Apes started things off with a solid little set. Starting off sounding like they were directly influenced by The Hives, they slowly matured to resemble Dallas Crane by sets end. The best way to describe them is very typical Melbourne pub rock. Catchy tunes, big riffs and head bobbing chorus'.

The Dune Rats were here to have a good time and have a party, despite still being hungover from Splendour. The three piece garage rock band led the crowd in sing alongs, encourage drinking and crowd surfing and even busted out a rendition of Violent Femme's 'Blister In The Sun'. The singer looks a hell of a lot like Jay from Jay & Silent Bob and even had similar mannerisms and obviously the same desire to not give a toss and having a good time. Their set was a hell of a lot of fun and got the crowd fired up for FIDLAR.

Headliners FIDLAR came with high expectations they didn't fail to deliver a chaotic and fast paced set that resembled scenes from the LA punk scene of the early 1980s. There was a surge forward from the crowd as soon as the band walked on stage and then for the next hour it was a throbbing mass of flailing bodies, crowd surfers and a endless stream of stage divers as FIDLAR ran through the tracks off their self titled debut record including a cover of The Descendents 'Suburban Home'. The crowd of young twenty something's probably had no idea who The Descendents were, but the enthusiasm and excitement they showed for FIDLAR was the real show stealer tonight. I found myself on the edges watching the chaos in the pit more than what was going on up on stage. Even security gave up trying to stop the kids and let them go for it only to check on the safety of some who hit the ground hard when dropped.

The band were electric. Lo-fi garage punk noise and songs covering simple themes of beer, skating, cocaine and surfing. The insane crowd kept up with the enthusiasm of the music and the gig ended with a free-for-all crowd rush to the stage, while everyone sang along, completely swamping the band into the mass of humanity. The lead singer would be found hanging upside down above it all. It was just the fitting way to end one of the best gigs I've seen for the year.