Live Review: Idles at Colchester Arts Centre 9th March 17
Debut Album “Brutalism” Out Now HERE
“Brutalism” Headline Tour Continues Throughout March and April
The crowd is a real mixture at the Arts Centre tonight; a strange conglomeration of the more mature punkier guys out with their girlfriends for a Thursday night jolly reliving their youth, and then, and most surprisingly and refreshingly, kids. Kids that, after the two excellent support bands Abode and Rad Pitt (who chose to play their set near enough in the audience), have been livened up to a state of moshed-up hysteria, colliding with themselves just as the older members of the audience would’ve done in their youth.
I’m told that Idles played a hometown gig in Bristol the previous evening that took a little out of them, and that seems apparent when Joe Talbot the singer arrives on stage by himself, prowls around to check the lie of the land, and then promptly collapses in front of the drums, psyching himself up (probably mentally & physically) for the gig to come. He then disappears backstage, only to emerge moments later with the rest of the band.
They’re at the Arts Centre to promote their new LP “Brutalism”, and I came along tonight knowing little of their material apart from the Bake Off-bashing “Well Done” and a few of their earlier tracks, where they seemed to be channelling Editors.
From the moment they plug in and the first chimes of feedback start, I already know this is going to be a ride. Joe Talbot has a menacing nonchalance about him as he stands almost statue-like mid-stage, accusingly staring Lydon-like into the crowd, barking out his vitriolic lyrics while behind him bassist Adam Devonshire & drummer Jon Beavis lock down into an almost impenetrable rhythmic assault. On his right is the sight of guitarist Lee Kiernan slashing at his Telecaster, long hair flailing madly with the music, as he struggles with a broken string, and to his left, fellow guitarist Mark Bowen who resembles Wilko Johnson’s bare-chested steam-punk nephew, electrodes attached permanently to the mains, totally wired and eyes rolling back in their sockets. He’s a man of many moves & shapes which he pulls randomly throughout each song, on two occasions leaving the stage to visit the kids moshing at the front, inviting them to play the guitar along with the band. If the kids are united, may they never be divided…
Much as they seem to be compared to fellow orators of grimy modern British culture Sleaford Mods, they also have that indefinable urgency and spirit of the best punk and post-punk bands of the 70s and 80s, and Idles harness all of that same scabrous post-Brexit kitchen sink bile within themselves to the most unrelenting of hardcore and steamroll across the border with you in tow, whether you like it or not. It’s a performance that’s at once immediate, confrontational, sometimes even violent, but also communal with its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek. They have the audience in their hands all through their set and although they leave early (probably to recover from their Bristol gig the night before), there’s a real sense of love in the room.
I really hope that more people come into contact with Idles irresistible spirit-of-76 energy but that they also delve deeper and listen to the lyrics as well; in these dying days we need more bands to really communicate and spread the message that, no, everything is not going to be alright, it’s already broken, so what are YOU going to do about it?
Watch New Video For ‘Mother’:
Debut Album “Brutalism” out now and available HERE
Full tour dates below:
Tuesday 14th – Birmingham – The Hare And Hounds
Wednesday 15th – Guildford – Boileroom
Thursday 16th – Brighton – The Prince Albert
Friday 17th – Tunbridge Wells – Forum
Saturday 18th – Bedford – Esquires
Monday 20th – Oxford – The Bullingdon
Tuesday 21st – Sheffield – The Plug
Wednesday 22nd – Newcastle Upon Tyne – Think Tank
Thursday 23rd – Aberdeen – Tunnels
Friday 24th – Dundee – Buskers
Saturday 25th – Edinburgh – Sneaky Pete’s
Monday 27th – York – The Crescent
Tuesday 28th – Hull – The Adelphi
Wednesday 29th – Nottingham – The Bodega
Thursday 30th – Liverpool – O2 Academy 2
Friday 31st – Wakefield – Unity Hall
Monday 3rd – Stoke-On-Trent – The Sugarmill
Tuesday 4th – Preston – Guildhall
Wednesday 5th – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach