Shaky Knees Presents:

Fidlar

With Twin Peaks, Ron Gallo

Thursday, May 11
7:00PM doors / 8:00PM show
18 and Over
  • Price$26.00 - $29.00
TICKETS

Fidlar

FIDLAR - A biography FIDLAR, Too Change is scary to a kid. For most young people, the subject of growth is just an opportunity for a bad dick joke, and lessons in evolution are protested not only by the religious right but also by an entire generation of eye-rolling, bulletproof adolescents. But as we all find out eventually, nothing stays the same - not even in punk rock. The music has moved from the garage to glam to the gutter and back, across Generations Blank and X and 182 and beyond. A record enters the world having captured a moment in time, three lightning chords in a bottle, and then a band worth its salt soldiers on, ready for the next step. Some try to cling to a moment forever, but the true artists move forward, keeping close their heart and signature soul while expanding everything around them with a head full of steam. Often, the wastoid wakes up and the slacker un-shirks as the Roman numeral I gives way to II - or, as is the case with FIDLAR, to the almighty Too. "The second record is always the fucking scary record, I don't care what band you're in," says singer/guitarist Zac Carper. "We kind of pigeonholed ourselves in one style for a while, this 'garage punk.' Everyone says, 'Don't sell out, don't make a slick record,' but to me, selling out would be making the same first record and just cashing in on that scene. I want to expand and get better at writing more interesting songs, and change, you know? I didn't want us to be labeled a 'punk rock group.'" "As a band all you can really hope for is that you just keep progressing and moving forward," says guitarist/singer Elvis Kuehn. "We didn't have any specific goal with this record other than to just keep progressing as a band, getting better and exposing the music to as many people as we can." Carper, Elvis Kuehn, Brandon Schwartzel (bass), and Max Kuehn (drums) ripped modern punk rock a new one on their 2013 self-titled debut. They paired life-risking antics and attitudes with their full-shred anthems about skating, partying, and honest l-i-v-i-n to put their sound on the map, and world tours with Pixies, The Hives, Black Lips, Wavves, and more opened the gates even wider. On the second time around FIDLAR are pushing their world forward. The band's sophomore album reveals them embracing other sides of their brains and exploring additional musical avenues. But while Too finds FIDLAR diving deeper into their bag of tricks - working for the first time with a producer and outside of LA, incorporating some bona fide studio polish - it's not like they've changed the meaning of the "F" in their name to "fiddlesticks." The "fuck it" ethos still looms large; they've just added more ammo to the arsenal and fuel to the tireless fire. "It's weird when we get labeled these skater-partier-slacker punk kids," says Carper. "We skated, we partied a lot, but we also worked our asses off. A lot of kids don't realize we don't just get drunk and hit record; it's me locking myself inside my room or studio for six months and writing and recording and not having much of a life other than that. It's my therapy a little bit." Following the success of the debut record, and amidst five years straight of life on the road (which, for a band like FIDLAR, is a little more toll-taking than for most) since forming in 2009, they decided to pause for a bit in order to iron out some kinks and get their heads clear. They came back after a spell to a friend's studio with nearly 40 Carper-penned songs, set to once again record it all themselves, but hit a wall. "About 30 songs in, it wasn't really sounding right, it was too stock," says Carper. "I realized I needed to write songs and not think about FIDLAR. I was writing for the band but that's not how the band started - it started with songs that I wrote and we just put them together. So I thought I needed to get out of town for awhile and write." Carper tossed a surfboard and single mattress into the back of his Volvo and drove up the California coast, writing songs on an acoustic guitar while revisiting the music he first loved as a kid: Green Day, Sublime, Elliott Smith, Blink. His fresh perspective did the trick, and in the summer of 2014 the band took the resulting songs from those sessions to record with the producer Jay Joyce in his Nashville studio. Building largely on the vocal melodies and lyrics from Carper's road-trip acoustic demos and scratch tracks, as well as songs written by Elvis Kuehn and Schwartzel, they completed the entire album in two weeks, recording a song each day and mostly using live takes. Like on their debut, the band perfected and recorded their own parts with direction from Carper, but unlike before, Carper - an experienced engineer in his own right - was able himself to lean on the wisdom of an outside production guru. "I told Jay from the get-go to do his thing," says Carper. "You have to admit that you don't know everything to learn how to do something, and let people teach you and observe. You have to let somebody drive. He would ask about what music I was into, and got all this weird editing and electronic-y elements out of it, which I loved. It made the songs sound as chaotic as they did in my head." Meanwhile, the honesty and self-analysis in the lyrics and storytelling on Too show an introspective personal depth that has evolved right long with the music. Songs like "Sober," "Overdose," "Drone," and "Stupid Decisions" show a deeper side to FIDLAR, who, as Carper says, made this album wholly for themselves. "Anything I do, any song I'm writing, it's for me, 100 percent, it's a way I cope with life. On the first record, even on this record, it's all true stories. That's how I write, on actual experiences. Recording vocals on this record was a fucking emotional roller coaster. Our music's not complicated; it's three chords, four chords, max. I want people to hear my lyrics and understand them, not to have to decipher. I'm not trying to win a fucking poet contest. I like straightforward music, lyrically at least. I'm a sucker for hooks." The finished product is a complete package, another unique moment from a unique group - three chords of lightning in a bottle; four chords, max. (In fact, that pretty much sums up the FIDLAR boys: "Three chords; Max.") The twelve songs here take those ingredients we've come to love and add just the right mix of something extra, touching on elements of pop, rock, scuzz, punk, synth, and more. "40 oz. On Repeat" kicks off with power chords and kick- stomp drums, a triumphant confidence to the pace where before was the frenetic thrash of joyful naivete?. "West Coast" has all the sunshine of an AM radio single delivered through Carper's darkly charming lyrics: "Woke up, you caught me with a smile/passed out on your bathroom tile." And Elvis Kuehn's "Why Generation" is a ready-made anthem, replete with a hook-laden sing-along chorus. There's something for everyone here, but it all sounds distinctly FIDLAR. ("You can take influence, but it should always sound like FIDLAR," says Elvis.) "The new record sounds pretty chaotic, especially with the production value," says Carper. "To me, it's a very weird sounding record, a very unique sound. The producer dragged that out of us. We're ecstatic about it. It's everything we wanted it to be and more. I was so scared about making another stock, garage rock record. We needed it to be different." Change, as we know, can be scary. But as the four members of FIDLAR are proving, it's essential to our growth: as rock and roll musicians, as friends, as brothers, as human beings. The kids will come around. "It's true what they say about chemistry in a band," says Carper. "You get four people together who can write music or play a show, and when it clicks, it clicks - and we click. The performance is getting a lot more professional. Instead of all of us getting blacked out drunk onstage, we're actually learning to perform. We can still take the piss out of everybody, though. It's kind of like sticking your tongue out and saying, 'Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.' That actually explains us to a T, 'Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.' But we have a lot more focus now. That point comes for every band. Even 15-year-olds grow up."

Twin Peaks

Give Twin Peaks an inch and they'll take a stretch of the road. Having careened across America and beyond, sharing their staggering energy, the band made their third album the best way they know how: by themselves. The same group that pro-duced the scuzzy squalor of their debut "Sunken," had legions of fans screaming along to their anthemic sophomore effort, "Wild Onion," now swings and serenades with "Down In Heaven" (out on Grand Jury on May 13th). Co-produced by the band and longtime collaborator R. Andrew Humphrey, and mixed by new confidant John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth), the rec-ord is by turns raw, polished and wise beyond its years. The diverse new songs beg the listener to sway slowly, bang their head wildly and question what they were do-ing wasting emotional time on anything less. It is a marked, and some may say ma-ture, development for a band that doesn't know how to play it safe. They aren't here to tell you what youth is like or what being a little older now means, though; they want to join you in a conversation about why we hurt, love and tug at each other. While Twin Peaks is a bit older, they're not necessarily calmer; their restlessness endures. Born of Chicago's league-leading DIY scene and with several of them re-maining friends since elementary school, Cadien Lake James, Clay Frankel, Connor Brodner, Jack Dolan, and most recent addition Colin Croom share an enthusiasm, authenticity and passion their audiences have found contagious. In the three years since dropping out of college to support their debut album "Sunken," the band has covered a lot of ground. They've played to ever-increasing crowds, bigger and row-dier each time they come barreling into a city; they were anointed "Best New Band" by NME and countless other blogs, and they have performed for (and partied with) more than hospitable masses at festivals in the states and Europe, including Pitch-fork, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, and Roskilde. In between all this action, the group set up camp in the summer of 2015 amidst the solitude of a murky lake in Western Massachusetts, where they could experiment and record on their own terms in the warm living room of a good friend's house. Recording on reel-to-reel with the band learning studio tricks on the fly, Twin Peaks set out to a make an LP that reflects how far they've come and how much of life is left, trusting themselves to make a record they'd want to hear. James explains, "I've been particularly drawn to records that have a more personal feel, not necessarily lyrically, but in sonic aesthetic, like The Kinks Village Green Society, Beatles White Album, and Rolling Stones Beggar's Banquet. We wanted to make a record that em-ployed the restraints of our favorite artists from yesteryear. It was about trying to simplify and hone in on the things that are important to our music and ethos." In considering the development of the band's sound from "Sunken" to "Wild Onion" and now to "Down in Heaven," Frankel adds, "The bands we admire are the ones who change drastically over the course of their span, like The Velvet Underground, where no two records of theirs sound the same." Whether sneering or pleading, aggressive or impatient, the thirteen tracks of "Down In Heaven" are a continuation of the bands path and an eschewing of previous com-parisons. It is a record all about feel: heartbreak, forgiveness, anger, jubilation, re-invention, growth. Album opener "Walk To The One You Love," written by James about letting someone close to you go is immediately followed by Frankel's song "Wanted You," with lyrics about not getting the one that you yearn for. With "Stain," perhaps the biggest departure for the band on the record, Frankel says, "I didn't want another love song, so after a while I got what it is, how you suffer for your art but you put up with it because you don't wanna do anything else. It's a song about the love of music." Even though four of the five members contribute lyrics, there are obvious connections both thematically and musically across the record and the band's voice rises unified. "Down in Heaven" will bring old fans and new Twin Peaks most complex record to date, encompassing elements only teased on their previous efforts. Frankel says, "I don't know yet what kind of band we are, since we keep changing with every year. I guess we are a band unafraid of new influences and changes." Put simply, "Down In Heaven" makes it increasingly hard to call their sound "classic." It's rock new and old, it's a little bit of country, it's a whole lot of punk attitude, and it's something to get excited about. Twin Peaks is here to stay, and they aren't going to get pinned down.

Ron Gallo

What is Ron Gallo? When you are at a Ron Gallo show leaning against the bar whining to your roommate about last night you will probably get called out and like it, you might get accidentally whacked by a guitar headstock or your phone punted, you might find yourself succumbing to the internal animalistic feelings you've been suppressing all week and you might even leave a slightly better person. It is a confrontational show with good intention, like a final punch before everything goes to shit. If you say hello afterwards, you might be shocked to be greeted by a genuinely friendly and grateful person that 5 minutes ago looked like a terrifying spastic red-faced maniac. Formerly the frontman of Philadelphia based rock and roll band, Toy Soldiers, Gallo has gone through the return of Saturn and the wringer of life over the last couple of years and has come observational jokester hang out. Like some big-haired spiritual punk raised in the 90s, Gallo is well-informed of the 20th century roots of American music and obsessed with the NOW in a time where people are drugged by distraction, bullshit and mediocrity. On Gallo's second solo record, HEAVY META(out early 2017), he candidly tackles the heavier topics and dark experiences he lived through during these transformative years. From his personal ideology on refraining from drug and alcohol use, self-empowerment, domestication, dead love, not knowing someone or yourself, having a stalker, the "struggle" of being an "artist" in 2016, to the disastrous cycle created by terrible parenting, mental illness and post-apocalyptic tales of a world where "all the freaks have gone to bed," this record reflects its subject matter drenched in aggression, fuzz, and walls of Gallo's unconventionally primal approach to the guitar. It is a lyrically driven album laid upon a bed of electricity attempting to wake you up with each listen. Gallo does not enjoy sitting still so has spent a good portion of the last few years and will spend the foreseeable future on the road backed by Joe Bisirri on bass and Dylan Sevey on drums: Coming to a hole in the wall, night club, backyard, theater, basement, Hardee's, Sleepy's Mattress Store, or arena near you. Gallo has appeared at Bonnaroo, SXSW, CMJ, Audiotree, Daytrotter and has received praise from renowned publications such as The FADER, Under the Radar, BrooklynVegan, PASTE among others. "HEAVY META" will be released at some point in early 2017, but the "RG3 EP" is currently available on American Diamond Recordings, a record label run by Gallo out of his room in the Bordeaux neighborhood of Nashville, TN as of new years day 2016. The mission statement of American Diamond (as well as Gallo himself) is, "ROCK AND ROLL ISN'T DEAD... YOU ARE."