“This is bullshit,” laughs Zac Carper ending a brief speech that’s punctuated by giggles and a genuine struggle to find the words to explain tonight. “This has bypassed any fucking show we’ve done,” is the closest he gets to describing FIDLAR’s headline date at London’s Kentish Town Forum. But the evening isn’t about glittering occasions or wonderful snapshots: from the opening roar of ‘Stoked and Broke’ until the hammering finale of ‘Wake Bake Skate’, FIDLAR create an experience in every moment.
It’s a feat that started an hour earlier. Falling into ‘I Remember’, Bully attack their opening slot with the same gritted teeth determination that’s defined their 2015. Tonight is just another reason to fall under their spell. Tearing through a bulk of debut ‘Feels Like’, the gnarled promise and upfront confession sounds glorious face to face but live, Bully come with a wicked sense of fun. From the pogo of ‘Trying’, through ‘Picture’’s snarl until the ferocious grin of ‘Milkman’, the visiting four-piece captivate the home-team crowd. There are a handful of people not in the surging mass before the stage but even they are glued to the stage. There’s something about Bully that’s utterly compelling. Their bewitching ascent and own sense of wonder is showing no signs of losing steam just yet.
There are no stragglers for FIDLAR’s set. Starting from the moment the band take to the stage to set up their own equipment, FIDLAR are greeted with deafening cheers. The admiration that the band inspires only gets louder as the set progresses. Material from their self-titled debut is as vibrant and provoking as ever with the likes of ‘Cheap Beer’ and ‘Cocaine’ party anthems for a Saturday night. It’s ‘Too’ that gives the band the tools to play stages this big and this evening, they’re deployed with perfection. ‘40oz. On Repeat’ ramps up their pop swagger while ‘Generation Why’ give the room a voice. The beer-guzzling, reckless abandon that stands hand in hand with FIDLAR is ever-present but a cover of ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’ by Weezer highlights a whispering darkness that runs throughout.
Their music might just be “three chords and the truth,” but it’s that bullshit-free escapism that makes FIDLAR such an important band. Tonight not only feels crucial, it feels glorious.