After the release of their 2018 sophomore record, 'Joy As An Act Of Resistance', IDLES have solidified themselves as one of 2019’s most promising bands.
IDLES promote a message of self-love and offer a voice combatting the dangerous flaws in toxic masculinity - a topical idiom in its own right.
The night (28 January) opened with Sydney’s City Rose; their rapturous post-punk was a fitting introduction to the night. Like some early '80s West Berlin nightclub, they shook the house with stark dissonance.
Yeah, sure, it was hard to ignore The Birthday Party similarities. But credit where credit’s due, their experimentation with sax and violin played a haunting duet with the baritone vocals. They’re a daunting presence and definitely worth checking out.
IDLES then took to the stage led by the open book that is Joe Talbot. His is a heart worn bravely on the sleeve - one need only watch a few online interviews to understand the traumatic content of his lyrics, it being based wholeheartedly in experience.Click here to view photos from IDLES Melbourne show.
The band opened with 'Colossus', which was a fitting initiation forecasting the enormity of the night. Despite Joe offering his thoughts on respecting one another’s space, the crowd grew into an ecstatic torrent as the track reached its climax: “Goes and it goes and it goes / Goes and it goes and it goes.”
I’m a little hazy as I was well in among it all, but I think it was around here that the sweat began to run. I have never been at a gig where the crowd was so drenched in sweat. You know, when you’ve been swimming in a pool too long and your hands go all grandpa-pruney style? Well, that was happening and we’d only just begun.
While the unrelenting rock in the sky (ie. the sun) has been especially boisterous of late, I prefer the energy this band stirs in its supporters. Mind-blowing sticky, but incredibly cool.
Regardless of the heat, IDLES were a force to be reckoned with.
On Joe’s flanks, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan were a duelling, thrashy dissonance. They sprung about, tearing through hits like 'Mother' and 'Samaritans' - each enthusiastic leap or flick of the hair sending an impressive plume of sweaty mist.
The rhythm section in Adam Devonshire and Jon Beavis were grounded and God-damn lethal.
Through clenched teeth and belief in every word, IDLES are a band of virtue. Despite all the punk ethos, they’re just five really happy chaps spreading the important gospel of positivity and social correction.
Between each manic song, Joe gave insights on loving one another and yourself. The contrast between their raw grit and composed, life lessons was kind of hilarious, though Joe’s passion is unshakable. It’s a lesson I hope most can take on board, an aggressive act of joy.
Upon completion of the show there were no bloodied faces or macho-pit dudes, just people hugging it out - most wringing buckets of human perspiration from their clothes.
Regardless of what your mate’s like Tarquin think, get around IDLES; their voice of compassion will only get stronger.