IDLES Prove Live Why They Are a Must See Band!
I slowly make my way through the sea of people; the place is packed, yet the atmosphere is weirdly calm. My eyes still haven’t adjusted to the extreme contrast in darkness within the venue, compared to the daytime sunshine from outside; and with blurry eyes I’m beginning to wonder if a matinee show at half one in the afternoon, where people are clutching coffee cups, will in any way live up to the energy produced from your typical, alcohol-fuelled evening gig. But then I remember who I’m about to see.
This is an Idles gig, and I’m surrounded by fellow Idles fans, or ‘AF gang’ members, who in my eyes, are some of the most dedicated music fans out there at the moment….who cares what time of day it is – this is going to be amazing!
This statement was quickly confirmed in the time it took Idles frontman Joe Talbot to finally make his way onto the stage to join his fellow band members, who had already been blasting the intro to ‘Colossus’ (the first track off their new album) for a little too long. Well, just enough time for us all to really appreciate the rumbling guitars, while simultaneously being tortured by a painful suspense.
This is it.
Talbot takes his place and ‘Colossus’ continues in all its glory, eventually ending in the first mosh pit of the day. The inevitable energy has officially been created and it is here to stay; flailing limbs, sweat, spilt alcohol (and coffee) are all continued into the next massive tune from Joy as An Act of Resistance. Already a favourite with fans, ‘Never Fight a Man with a Perm’ thunders throughout Record Junkee; with people screaming ‘CONCREETE AND LEATHEER’ until they’ll all be needing a much smaller packet of Tunes; but these ones for soothing their poor (but never bored) throats (other sore throat lozenges are available).
As people recover from what has just occurred, the scene of the next 45 minutes or so is set when Talbot announces that this will be a request show. A beautiful, light-hearted energy diffuses throughout the crowd as Talbot appears to channel his inner Cilla Black, greeting various members of the crowd and retrieving their favourite Idles songs. Even though one of my faves – ‘Date Night’, was never played, I guess we got to experience bit of Blind Date instead – “What’s yer name, and where’dyer come from?” echoed numerous times throughout the venue, accompanied by Talbot’s comedic style; “Do you know any Idles songs?”
Fans from all over; Rotherham, Nottingham, Selby, and even Edinburgh, got their chance to request their favourite tracks – ‘1049 Gotho’, ‘Television’ and ‘I’m Scum’ were the first to shape this very special and intimate gig, followed by an ambitious yet ‘stunning’ rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is You’, because why the hell not?
Talbot made his way into the bouncing crowd to round off Brutalism’s ‘White Privilege’ perfectly, with some audience participation; AKA taking it in turns to shout “YEAHH!” down the mic. “How many optimists does it take to change a lightbulb?” was never more apt when a light fixture was later accidently ripped from the roof during a mad crowd surf (with no butler in sight to change it.)
The explosive throwback ‘Queens’ from their 2015 Meat EP was just as explosive as the next request ‘Mother’ where Idles once again mingled with the crowd. While face to face with guitarist Lee Kiernan as he manically played off-stage, it was at that moment I realised how lucky we all were to experience this unique and unforgettable gig. Idles are a band who care about their fans, there is a mutual level of appreciation.
Another stand out moment was during the break down of ‘Exeter’, when guitarists BoBo and Lee summoned the crowd that circled them to crouch on floor; we obliged, everyone mesmerised by their performance. Boundaries were blurred between the fans and the band, we were all in it together. ‘Samaritans’, the penultimate request, was met with adoration, then everyone began to wonder who Talbot would pick to request the final song.
But after selecting someone who claimed to only know one Idles song, Talbot asked if it had already been played – ‘ohhh yes’, meant that the pressure was placed onto some other lucky person. ‘What would you like us to play?” Talbot enquired for the last time. It just had to be ‘Danny Nedelko’.
“He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love
He’s made of you, he’s made of me
Never had I attended a gig and left feeling such a sense of unity and optimism, until now.
What lovely guys, what a lovely day.
Words By Meg Wood