Photography by Alice Baxley

George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

Pop-punk legends FIDLAR bring their throwback party tunes to Bristol’s SWX for a relentless trip through their discography

15-year-old me would have been so excited for my plans last Thursday. FIDLAR had made their way all the way from LA to Bristol, the first stop on their 2023 UK tour. In fact, 23-year-old me was just as excited.

The energy in SWX was manic while the crowd waited for the band to appear. A huge banner hung from the backdrop screaming the name of FIDLAR. There was very little time to breathe from the second they appeared to the second they walked off.

Kicking off with three solid FIDLAR classics from their debut album, ‘Cheap Beer’, ‘Stoked and Broke’ and ‘Max Can’t Surf’, they clearly knew their crowd. So many people there will have grown up on these tunes and, while there was clearly an appreciation of newer material, it was nostalgia that fueled the mosh pit that night.

With the majority of the setlist coming from the self-titled album and, my personal favourite, ‘Too’, they satisfied every fan in SWX. Throwing myself into the pit when I heard the first notes of ’40oz. On Repeat’ and ‘No Waves’, this was a truly special experience. Having never seen FIDLAR live before, hearing these bangers come to life for the first time was a highlight of the year.

The crowd was one of the most relentless of the year too. Incredibly aggressive but always friendly, the pit spread far and wide, with more crowd surfers than you could possibly imagine. After ‘Bad Habits’ and ‘Wake Bake Skate’ closed off the night, you could tell how much energy had been expelled and, helping my friend whose glasses were smashed at an undetermined point of the set, I couldn’t stop smiling.

Let us know what you think!