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IDLES

LIVE: IDLES @ O2 Ritz | 19.10.18

WORDS BY FREYA MCCANN

Friday 19th of October saw IDLES – dubbed as one of the UKs most exciting bands – storm the stage at the O2 Ritz in Manchester. After their debut album ‘Brutalism’ put them on the map with Joe Talbots honest, vulnerable, yet beautifully strong, empowering lyrics about grief, mental health and politics, it was understandable why their second album Joy as an Act of Resistance was highly anticipated. However, these nerves were soon put to rest and the album debuted at number 5 in the UK charts.

Before IDLES started their performance, there was an air of tense excitement in the room. Heavy Lungs were a fitting opener, especially as the single ‘Danny Nedelko’ takes its name from the frontman. I did however, get the feeling that some of the crowd were waiting in anticipation for the main act and not doing Heavy Lungs justice. After they finished a good performance, the crowd started to socialise with each other. The band preach all is loveand this was definitely taken on board by fans as the mixed crowd interacted with each other and were honestly the kindest audience at a gig I have ever experienced. Joe came out to greet fans and say hello and had a calming yet warm energy about him as the down to earth frontman was speaking, hugging and taking photos with fans.

As IDLES took the stage, the crowd were fixated on the band (after a deafening welcome) as they began with the opening track of the latest album ‘Colossus’ building the tension then after Joe, almost as a warning to the crowd, yelled “its comingburst into the rest of the song resulting in the mosh pit to end all mosh pits with pints of beer being flung around left right and centre – a continual theme for the rest of evening.

Although the crowd seemed rough there was again, the common sense of unity. Joe, before bursting into ‘Divide and Conquer’, really brought this to light as he was encouraging more women to get involved in the mosh pits and throw themselves around but be safe. Whilst mentioning and thanking the representatives from Safe Gigs for Women. A sentiment more bands need to carry. This just goes to show that IDLES arent being political for ‘the look’, they actually care about what theyre saying and what theyre doing.

However much of an outstanding front-man Joe Talbot is, the band as a whole is what makes them so special. Jons drumming is impeccable, especially in ‘Rottweiler’. He may be placed at the back of the stage but the way he plays is certainly at the forefront of the audiences experience. A real example of the band working together was during ‘Exeter’. Bobo was almost pea-cocking and winding up the crowd to then jump in and crowd-surf along with Lee, as Dev, Jon and Joe held the fort during the madness.

 

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yes you can sweat through 2 tshirts and a denim jacket

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Another stand out moment from the gig must be, after they made reference to Manchesters very own Cabbage, singing the first few lines from ‘Terrorist Sympathiserwhen they smacked the crowd with their first single from the second album, ‘Great’. The anthemic anti-Brexit song exploded, with the chorus screamed by fans. A stunning snapshot of what this band is about: unity and love.

This was in all honestly one of the strongest performances I have seen, not just from IDLES but in general, ever. All finished off by the band inviting some of the AF Gang(the bands dedicated fan-base) onstage to join them. The band are all beautiful people inside out and dont mistake their music and angry frontier as something that its not. After all, Joe did reiterate for the last time were not a fucking punk band. This band is the definition of all is loveand its something we should all embrace a little bit more often.

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ALBUM: IDLES – ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’

WORDS BY MARIA PASSINGHAM

IDLES are on the warpath. But it’s a warpath lined with glitter bombs rather than the more traditional, explosive type, and they’re marching with smiles on their faces and their arms wide open. ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ is the much anticipated second album from Bristol’s most talked about punk act, out Friday 31st August on Partisan Records and boy, is it good.

The record’s first single and opener ‘Colossus’ establishes the subsequent forty minutes as a no-shits-given parade. All at once the album protests all manner of modern politics and social views whilst still remaining overwhelmingly positive and infused with love for fellow mankind. Starting with simple clock-ticking style drumsticks and a heavy distorted repetitive chord, the opener builds and builds into an ominous noisy climax, making sure if you’re listening – you’re bloody well listening. No passive, Spotify radio-browsing, wannabes here please.

Steadily working their way through class divides, immigration, masculinity, the NHS, advertising, love, and everything in between IDLES punch holes in the status-quo. The lyrics flit between disarmingly honest and heavily ironic, but true to the album’s title and the band’s signature style, the songs are joyful anthems; simultaneously calling out established, dangerous ideas and championing those that they prefer.

From the simple, super tight ‘Television’ that confronts media-enforced ideas of beauty and instead commands you to “love yourself” to the take down alpha male ideals in ‘Samaritans’ the Bristol five-piece sugar-coat nothing, yet retain an utter sweetness and charm across the album.

“THE MASK OF MASCULINITY
IT’S A MASK THAT’S WEARING ME
I’M A REAL BOY, BOY AND I CRY”

IDLES are pros at keeping you on your toes. If you dare to drift away, a sudden change in tempo or rhythm, or a switch from sung monologues to shouted refrains will snap you back to attention. If you can’t keep up with the relentless pop culture references you’ll be left by the wayside in no time (although probably one of the IDLES guys will rush back to make sure you’re not seriously hurt – checking on the crowd’s safety and happiness is a trademark of their live shows).

‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ makes you want to fight and proclaim your love for the humans around you at the same time. It’s a battle cry for the modern man, where the battle is against the media and the politics that run through it. It’s a solid-as-a-rock second offering from what has to be the UK’s finest punk band right now. So why don’t you buy the record? Even Tarquin’s bought the record.

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