Live Review | Idles live show + meet & greet @ Record Junkee, Sheffield – 5/9/2018


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

Album Review | Muncie Girls – ‘Fixed Ideals’

Muncie Girls Fixed Ideals

Muncie Girls Trump Debut Album with Sophomore Record ‘Fixed Ideals’

Fixed Ideals is the second album from Exeter rockers Muncie Girls, following their debut LP, From Caplan to Belsize (2016). This band is a cross between The Primatives and Transvision Vamp, alongside an air of The Suncharms; basically encapsulating all things indie pop and indie rock, but with a quirky edge thanks to their often politically-fuelled and angry lyrics that cover a range of issues. The trio consist of Lande Hekt on bass, rhythm guitar, and vocals; Dean McMullen on lead guitar; and Luke Ellis on drums.

The album starts with the impending bass riff of opening track ‘Jeremy’, immediately evoking a 90s vibe which promises either a Green Day style bubble-gum punk anthem, or an indie pop track reminiscent of The Killers (more specifically the breakdown of ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’).

Once the drums kick in, lead singer Hekt’s sweet and distinct vocals quickly come into play, with her South Western twang creeping through to bring a refreshing sense of deadpan to lyrics such as “Im so angry/ I’m gonna get a tattoo, that says ‘Fuck Jeremy Clarkson, and fuck you too!’” The chorus of this track really grows on you; becoming surprisingly catchy; paired with some great guitar work which gradually gets heavier just as the vocals become more passionate, successfully emitting the band’s more punky vibes.

The second track ‘Picture of Health’ conveys a sort of rocky sound that I think can be best described as ‘shoegaze on steroids’. The lyrics refer to, in my eyes, the importance of looking after yourself and others. These heartfelt and important themes of friendship are also apparent in the later, punchy song ‘Laugh Again’ with “You’ve been so sad for so long/ I wanna see you laughing again my friend”.

Picture of Health’ effortlessly glides into ‘High’ which is a continuation of the shoegaze vibes but with a much lighter feel, reflecting the track’s title, with airy lyrics such as “I just want to feel real”, contrasted with the harsher, more political side “we’re playing a game, we know who to blame, they tell us again and again and again ‘it’s those pesky refugees and lazy claiming families’”.

‘Clinic’ again conveys these indie vibes, achieved via a deep bass and some nice punchy applications of guitar. This is contrasted alongside Hekt’s raw and real lyrics of frustration and helplessness, regarding her battle with mental health and the importance of the NHS. Some of the most emotional tones can be heard in the melancholic ‘Falling Down’ where stripped back vocals, bursting with emotion complement lazy rolling drums, and blunt, honest lyrics “I’m gonna stop smiling, when it doesn’t feel like the right thing”.  

‘Bubble Bath’ begins with plucky guitars, almost convincing you into thinking you’re listening to a U2 track, until of course Hekt’s vocals sweetly deliver “I feel like a child with shampoo in my eyes”. As the bubbles sound effect will make you check your surroundings for a rogue fish tank, the graceful yet personal and reflective lyrics such as “I remember saying that I’m gonna give up eating animals”, contrast nicely with the lighthearted, and child-like nostalgia of this track.  

The guitars of ‘Locked Up’ and ‘Fig Tree’ are reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub, while the killer riff of ‘In Between Bands’ make this stand out as a dramatic track on the album; with all tracks conveying a sense of angst throughout Hekt’s passionate yet syrupy vocals, which definitely allude to Sinead O’Connor in places.

Another stand out track is ‘Hangovers’ where Muncie Girls’ heavy style is swapped for soft guitars, and deeper vocals to create a folky little number. It’s a nice break from the full-on intensity of the album. It’s refreshing and different; and reflects the title as it tries to be softer, through airy pianos and soft melodies.

The album’s finale ‘Family of Four’ conveys the band’s political honesty, with lyrics concerning Hekt’s upbringing and being raised by a single mother “it’s all we can afford” and “thinking that the welfare state would support someone like me”. This track gradually fades out nicely, which is a nice, calm end to a smashing album.

Overall, this album is absolutely worth a listen (or several!). It’s one that positively grows on you, and will almost definitely become one of your favourites, as the infectious sugar-coated grunge tracks get stuck in your head and allow you to appreciate the wonder that is Muchie Girls.

P.S If you’re inspired enough, you may want to try and catch them on their upcoming world tour – kicking off in Manchester on the 26th!!!


By Megan Wood