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BABYSTEP MAGAZINE Est. 2017 

IDLES Are Still Fucking Brilliant

December 24, 2019

 

“Luke, Dan and I are currently sat in old bar utterly exhausted. Luke tells me he’s bruised his arms. Dan is coughing like he’s got bronchitis and my hands are shaking so much I can barely type. It was one hell of a gig. IDLES are a non-stop riot. Their punk songs are intercut with messages of love and affection for our fellow man. Joe Talbot is like an angry Ringo. A message of ‘Peace and love’ is on the agenda- and you’d better fucking accept that.”

 

Those were the words I wrote, whilst pumped with adrenaline and hardly being able to walk after the battering that gig gave me. Two weeks later, and my bruises have just about healed, and I’ve swapped the bustling Leeds nightlife for Christmas with the family down in quiet old Devon. As such, I can now take a step back and analyse the gig without being under the influence of adrenaline and lager. I’ve thought long and hard about the impact the gig had on me and if my thoughts have changed now that I’ve distanced myself from the event. My conclusion is this:

 

IDLES are still fucking brilliant.

 

 

Dan, Luke and I arrived at the O2 on the 5th December as the support act completed their final few songs. They seemed decent and the crowd were bobbing up and down, but we used the time to grab a few pints. By the time the support left (sorry that I can’t remember your name), we’d managed to nab a great spot at the centre front. We were pumped. Tickets for the gig had sold out in less than half an hour, so everyone there had to be a dedicated fan.

 

The band came on to the raucous opener ‘Colossus’, the opening track to their Mercury Prize winning album ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’. The pace built up and up and suddenly we were thrown into the mosh pit. I was in defence mode, crashing between guys who are twice my size and throwing myself into the crowd of people in front of me. This was only the beginning with songs like ‘Never fight a man with a perm’, ‘I’m Scum’, ‘Mother’ and ‘Television’ working to sustain the excitement and leaving the room full of very sweaty people. Dan, Luke and I flew off in opposite directions, before reuniting through the flow of the crowd. Luke told me he’d dropped his glasses twice. My shoelaces came undone in the middle of the mosh as well, and the 20 seconds I spent bent down tying them up again were the most terrifying of my life; I got up just in time for the next song. The band were electrifying, every song had a sense of urgency which spilled into the crowd.

 

 

From my current description, the gig seemed quite dangerous, yet the mood in the room was different. You could sense this in the air; the crowd weren’t fuelled by hate but by hope. This idea of love and hope was perpetuated by Joe Talbot. Between their angry songs, he’d talk about his admiration for his fans, and that they should stop chanting ‘IDLES’ and start chanting ‘Yorkshire’ – in honour of our great county. During ‘Benzocaine’, Joe got someone from the crowd and announced that “this song is about holding people up when they’re down” and proceeded to explain that the person he’d plucked from the crowd had to be held up by us for the whole song. (As a side note, I’ve never seen somebody crowd surf as much as Mark Bowen- he was in the crowd more than he was on stage and that was brilliant). It was a great feeling and really worked to instil a thoughtful atmosphere instead of one which I assumed would be aggressive. This community spirit was also highlighted by individuals in the crowd. I was chatting to a guy before the gig and showed me his ‘I’m Scum’ tattoo he’d got done just a week before the gig- he was so excited to see the band. The people at the O2 made the gig feel special and were as much a part of the show than anyone holding an instrument. As the band made clear, all you’ve got to do is ‘Love yourself’.

 

 I cannot recommend IDLES enough. They’re relevant, exciting and definitely know how to get a crowd going. They’re sure to be doing the festival circuit again next summer- so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check them out.

 

Long Live IDLES

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