Costumes, trick-or-treating, haunted houses and… moshing? This may not be the most traditional addition to Halloween festivities, but for my friend Lauren and I, concerts on Halloween have become an annual ritual. So when we zoomed up to the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles with our spooky make-up and wicked disguises, we were more than ready for the impending night of debauchery.
The spearheads for this chaotic campaign? L.A. native punks FIDLAR — four unbridled dudes in cut-off shorts, with limbs decorated in stick and pokes and energy levels that won’t ever quit. Wrapping up a turbulent tour across the U.S., including last weekend’s riotous Beach Goth set, FIDLAR went out with a bang to the hometown crowd on this beloved holiday.
Stepping into the Regent during Australian band The Dune Rat’s opening set, Lauren and I were instantly transfixed by the venue’s Halloween décor. Ghosts hanging from the ceiling, spider webs on the walls, jack-o-lanterns on stage — it was a scene out of “A Nightmare before Christmas,” with a much more aggressive soundtrack. From Lauren’s dead ballerina costume to FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper’s Chucky get-up, there was a bewitching variety of costumes on display, both on and off stage. Behind the band loomed four ominous, silly tombstones, predicting the absurd deaths of the raucous musicians, such as “RIP Max, mauled by cat,” referring to drummer Max Kuehn.
FIDLAR’s set was full of standards and even some surprises. “Cheap Beer” and “Max Can’t Surf,” off their self-titled debut, are classic fan-favorites, with other tracks off their newest album “Too” swiftly developing into hits as well. The moment the chords for “West Coast” and “Y Generation” struck, the crowd went nuts and we launched into a carefree flailing of arms and legs. Covers of The Stooges’ “Raw Power” and Elvis Presley’s “Devil in Disguise” were exciting surprises well suited for the Halloween atmosphere.
All night, I was just waiting for them to play “Punks,” the heaviest-angriest song from “Too.” When they finally did at the end of the set, I lost all inhibition to yell the lyrics and bang my head, trying to get my short hair to thrash as dramatically as possible.
Halloween is an odd time to be alive when you’re in your twenties. There’s nostalgia for traversing the neighborhood on a quest for the best candy, but there’s also content recognition of growing up and moving forward in life — what that kid in the Spiderman costume anxiously dreams of doing someday.
More than anything, FIDLAR encapsulates this dichotomy perfectly: mid-twenties guys who have their lives somewhat together and can travel the world playing hard-hitting music for angry teens. While I’m no longer an angst-ridden adolescent — and really never have been actually — I can still revel in a rapturous night of belligerence, apathy and spookiness.
And when “Cocaine” wrapped up the night, we all knew this was our last chance to blast and bruise before the lights came on, the doors opened and we all greeted the, now, November night.