8th March | The Fleece
Photos: Simon Holliday
Bristol post punk five piece Idles have smashed the music scene with their hard hitting lyrics from the NHS to Mary Berry – these guys are brutally honest, relevant and do not hold back. They have strong support from the likes of Lauren Laverne and Huw Stephens, and have won over the press, the media and the public with their groundbreaking sound.
Back in their hometown of Bristol they make their homecoming return at The Fleece to promote their debut album Brutalism. Not only did they sell out their show in advance, the venue was jam-packed at early doors - squeezing to get to the bar at 8pm, if that’s not a good sign I don’t know what is. Support came from JOHN and Scarlet Rascal who were both incredible live, got the crowd raring to go and couldn’t have been better bands to open for Idles.
Brutalism is an album about loss; written after the loss of lead singer Joe Talbot’s mother and tonight marks the anniversary of her passing. Joe is a the epitome of what a frontman should be - fearless, ferocious and funny. Interacting with the crowd, turning the night into a show making jibes left right and centre, claiming the venue was haunted from the mic’s feedback.
The energy here is unreal - Idles are are pulling out all of the stops and the crowd are taking the bait as they start the set with Chris De Burg’s ‘The Lady in Red’. Bodies are being thrown around everywhere and I mean everywhere, this is not a crowd surf this is a crowd tidal wave. Talbot joins in followed by guitarist Mark Bowen who then plays the rest of the track in the midst of the crowd, hardcore bassline combined with Talbot’s chilling vocals encouraged the crowd into an absolute riot.
Obvious crowd pleasers were ‘Mother’ and ‘Well Done’ which pretty much blew the roof off with the killer twin guitar riffs matched with aggressive vocals which admittedly sometimes felt like Talbot was an inch away from being done for assault. Jon Beavis had his Moby Dick moment and absolutely smashed it with his drum solo at the end of the set, a perfect end to a fantastic evening.
Outside of selling out shows and recording in the studio, these guys have normal jobs and normal lives - one of them is a dentist - i’ll let you guess which one. It’s that element of empathy in their shows is what makes them so likeable and relatable.
I’ve had the pleasure to follow Idles on their incredible journey, I went into this show perhaps half assuming i knew what to expect when I could not have been wrong. The band have evolved into being our musical champions in the age of social collapse; tackling issues from politics to our self-destruction - a voice that our society needs. I watched this show with fresh eyes and it was truly incredible.
Check out the video for ‘Mother’ below.