Live Review: Idles | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Live Review: Idles

Megan Gibson attends a raucous gig from Idles

‘It’s beautiful to play in front of you all. It’s been like a bottle of pop that’s waiting there, angry for an hour‘ – Adam Devonshire, Bassist

Joe Talbot (vocals), Mark Bowen (lead guitar and backing vocal), Lee Kiernan (rhythm guitar), Adam Devonshire (bass and backing vocals) and Jon Beavis (drums) make up Idles, a ‘visceral’ post-punk band from Bristol. Although, I’ve heard Bowen travels down from London to rehearse after working in a dentistry practise on the side. After seeing Idles perform live @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, I do wonder if his patients realise that by night he is part of a self-proclaimed ‘angry band’ and if they saw him live, whether they would let him go near their teeth...

Building their fan base through establishing a club night in Bristol and further releasing their first debut EP, Welcome, in 2012, they have received positively enthusiastic music press, and now perform to dedicated fans on their recent and largely sold out UK tour for their debut album, Brutalism.

Hare and Hounds is not a big venue and a sold out gig is fairly comfortable, playing an advantage for Idles who gave a very intimate and personal show - mentioning UB40 as their favourite band, dedicating their song ‘Lover’ to them as to please the local Brummies. Majority of the audience were aged 40+, which was surprising, but shows how committed to the punk genre Idles really are. If you have the original guys who lived through the punk era at your gig, you gotta be doing it right.

The melodies and rhythm are so super tight it is phenomenal how they keep it up for the whole set
Idles songs and lyrics typically associate with sarcastic tongue and cheek messages about British politics and the British culture. The song ‘Mother’ for example, states, ‘the best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich’ and the song named ‘White Privilege’- well that just says it all. This anger for corrupt right-wing politics is demonstrated on stage in an enraged and raw performance. The melodies and rhythm are so super tight it is phenomenal how they keep it up for the whole set. Beavis on drums is crazy, and at one point had one drum stick in his mouth and just smashed the kit with one hand, and Dev, bald with a massive ginger beard on bass just stares into the audience, miming the lyrics as if it’s a walk in the park to play such severe bass lines. This band would not work without any one member. It’s not lead singer plus band, they each have their own character, they each have their own role and together they dedicate their energy to providing the best for their audience.

But they are just ordinary men. Like I said, Bowen is a dentist, originally from Ireland, and Joe has a 4-year-old son as mentioned in ‘Stendhal Syndrome’. Unfortunately, in 2015, Joe’s mother passed away, but this fuels the album, and the passion can be seen through every song on stage. The album cover for Brutalism shows a monochrome picture of Joe’s mother that is also in the background of music video to their single, ‘Mother’. The video shows the pure, raw emotion as demonstrated on stage, as Joe smashes a table of china onto the floor whilst singing.

The atmosphere felt very humble and sincere - there was nothing fake about the performance, about the lyrics or about the band individually
The lust for this genre of music was transferred to the audience who were amazingly receptive throughout the entire set, of which Idles were incredibly appreciative. At the end, Joe sends ‘peace and love’ and his thanks to the audience and casually walks off stage, admires the band who remain playing, and makes his way through the crowd to the dressing room. The atmosphere felt very humble and sincere - there was nothing fake about the performance, about the lyrics or about the band individually.

After the sweat and spit and passionate mosh pits, I left the gig smelling the stale stench of aftershave, feeling empowered to write political rants, but also growing a sense of who Idles really are - fucking amazing.

Third year English Language student. (@meganrosegibson)



Published

19th April 2017 at 10:00 am

Last Updated

19th April 2017 at 4:50 am



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