What do you get when you mix an obsession with R. Kelly, a band full of Australian Jeff Spicoli’s, a crowd full of college kids, and some good music? You get a great freaking night.

There are some shows that I go to that I’m more than happy to just sit back and enjoy. I do not typically look up bands before I go see them, I’d rather just be pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised. I regret not doing some research on the bands last night. The amount of energy the crowd had was unreal. I wanted to be part of it. But I was too busy trying to figure out why I had never heard of these bands before.

The opener was The Dune Rats from Australia. They looked and acted like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I had a hard time figuring out if it was an act or if these guys were really just that stoned and drugged up. Regardless, they really were good and they had me captivated by their stage presence. They absolutely slayed a cover of Blisted in the Sun by the Violent Femmes. Between the fast surf punk sound and the constant burping into the microphone, this band had me wanting to see more even though they were on stage for over forty minutes (that’s a long time for an opener).

Fidlar’s stage set up alone triggered my interest. They had the typical banner hanging behind them but there was so much more. Each of the four members had a cut out of their face set up towards the back of the stage. The faces had light bulbs for eyes and smoke coming out of their mouths. The faces were super cool to look at and looked like they belonged in some indie art installation at some underground gallery. The best part of the stage? The fact that they had life size R. Kelly mannequins on either side of the stage. Don’t ask me what the obsession is with R. Kelly because I have no idea. The mannequins had lights outlining their hands, feet and the ties around their necks. The only time there was ever really any interaction with them was when the bassist threw his bass around the neck of one of the R. Kelly’s and continued to play an entire song with his arms wrapped around this R. Kelly mannequin.

Fidlar. They spelled it out every time they said it. F-I-D-L-A-R (standing for Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) is a skate punk/ garage punk band from California. They came on stage and instantly the crowd went crazy. When the music started, you had one option and one option only, you had to jump up and down.

The crowd never stopped. Okay, that’s a lie. There was one point towards the end of the set with Fidlar had everyone literally sit down on the ground. All they said is that we would know when to get up. I never thought it would happen but literally, everyone in the venue was sitting down on the ground (or at least crouching as low as they could go). Then all of a sudden it happen, the first note of their song “Cocaine” rang out and the room exploded. People jumped up and bodies started flying. There was constant movement, constant jumping, constant pushing, constant shoving, constant smiling.

The crowd sang, no they screamed, along to every word of every song. It didn’t matter that they were being shoved up against the thigh high stage (which leaves some gnarly bruises), nobody missed a beat. With lyrics like “I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you” what is there not to love? Their songs are short, sweet and to the point. They ended up playing 16 songs total but got them done in under an hour. As nice as it was to be home by 10:15 on a work night, I wish they would have played longer.

I had no clue what I was getting into last night and but I ended up never wanting to leave.

Line Up:

The Dune Rats


Venue: Varsity Theater

Sausage Fest Meter- 3 out of 10

Man Buns- 7

Crowd Surfers- 18

Stage Divers- 14

Spotted Flying Through The Sky- The 3 B’s- Bodies, bottles, beer

Broken Bones- None

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 1 guy who almost made it to the door before he started puking; security promptly literally kicked his out the side door

Found in the Pit- 1 phone