@ Gorilla, Manchester
Idles are a band whose name I’ve heard floating around quite a bit recently. Formed in 2012, it was their debut album ‘Brutalism’, released in 2017, that has heightened their popularity and profile. Their entire ‘Unity Tour’ is sold out, so I feel very lucky to be able to watch and review them tonight. They have a very punk attitude, much like bands such as Green Day. Influences to their songs include hot topics such as Brexit, Donald Trump’s victory and the frustration surrounding those. They were nicknamed, ‘Punks Most Savage Good Boys’, by Noisey in a recent feature.
As I get into the venue, I can already feel how excited and hyped up people are for this gig. Fans have run to the front to secure their spot by the barrier.
Lice- possibly the weirdest name I’ve heard for a band recently- are supporting tonight. A band also from Bristol who have previously opened for notorious Fat White Family, they’re equally as interesting and explosive as Idles. I swear lead singer Alastair is a duplicate of John Lydon (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd). He leans on the microphone stand, sneering, shouting lyrics crouched down at the crowd. He has the exact same mannerisms. I haven’t heard a band this heavy and bass ridden in ages. It’s literally vibrating through the walls, right up my body. Their music is that intense.
Watching Lice is like being drawn back into the 70’s British punk scene. At one point, a few fans start pogoing (an old punk dance move). Songs are being spat out, with barely and introduction, no warning when they’re going to end. ‘Teds Dead’, a very weird sounding song with and even weirder backstory, sounds like the band are just improvising onstage. It works though, even though it’s a confusing listen. I love the funk elements and swing bassline incorporated into songs Love Your Island and Human Parasite, which are done with such ease before flowing back into that nasty, raw punk.
Joe Talbot struts across the stage to a screaming audience, as though he’s assessing everyone, weighing up the crowd. They launch into first song ‘Heel/Heal’ and the crowd goes absolutely mental. It’s a dirty gig, in all the good ways. Idles are so visually interesting. They look crazy, manic, but it all fits. Their hyped-up stage presence gushes around the room, infecting everyone.
‘Look after each other, please’, says Joe, seconds before a massive mosh pit slowly starts up in Faith In The City. This is brilliant, honestly an amazing gig to witness. It’s making me so happy to hear a band produce this music, a genre I thought the industry had forgotten about. The crowd barely stops moving in every song. It music be so cool to be watching your music give fans so much enjoyment.
‘This song is for anyone who works in the NHS, thank you’, says Joe, as Idles dive into ‘Divide and Conquer’, the pounding of the drums delivered by Jon Beavis and a war-cry of ‘Divide!’. Idles aren’t here just to play their music, they’ve come with messages, with meaning. Their political thoughts shine through their songs, but they don’t go into over-kill.
‘Manchester, when we asked about your town, they weren’t lying’, a towel covering his head to catch the sweat, Joe looks out into the crowd in amazement. Guitarist Mark Bowen, dressed in just a long tartan skirt, engulfs himself in the crowd, along with bassist Adam Devonshire, as they play the bridge in ‘Exeter’. I’ve not seen a band do this in ages. Normally security immediately rush over to ruin the fun, but this just shows how much Idles love their fans involvement.
‘This is a new one, it’s called Lovesong’. Are Idles about to get all soppy on us? Well, kind of. They drench it in their own unique punk ridden way.
Finale song ‘Rottweiler’ tears Gorilla a whole new one and everyone turns into savages at the chant of ‘Go Wild!’. This entire gig has been unreal. Idles are an incredible band who are making sure punk-rock is still a powerful genre, like it was back in its birth in the 70’s.