Idles review: As a live act the band are explosive
PUBLISHED: 16:25 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:25 29 March 2019
Idles seem to be the perfect band for our time.
With an arsenal of proto-protest punk songs taking on everything from Brexit to toxic masculinity there are moments during the band’s LCR show when frontman Joe Talbot takes on a role more akin to a preacher.
And in front of a devoted sell-out Norwich crowd he is very much preaching to the converted.
The show opens with the brooding bassline of Colossus – with Talbot stalking the stage as the song builds and builds before reaching its frenzied finale.
From then the gig never really lets up, the double punch assault of Never Fight A Man With A Perm and I’m Scum follows sparking wild mosh pits on the floor – seemingly to the annoyance of Talbot who later commands the crowd to only move in unison (so no one gets hurt).
As a live act the band are explosive but it is guitarist Mark Bowen who remains their secret weapon.
Wearing only short shorts and sideburns he spends just as much time in and on top of the crowd as he does on the stage in front of them.
He is an insanely entertaining performer as he dances along to every song with complete abandon – providing the perfect foil for Talbot’s angry intensity. There are times when the frontman’s repeated scolding of rowdy men in the pit seems out of place – the music which Idles play seems specifically designed for young guys to get overexcited and run into each other.
What did he expect to happen?
However, such a conclusion would miss the point - for all their snarl and bite Idles are far more loving than you might imagine.
They are a band for everyone.
So, if a few need to be scolded for the many to enjoy themselves then so be it.
As Talbot explains to the crowd before set highlight Danny Nedelko – “We are all about unity.”
The song itself, an ode to immigration, perfectly encapsulates this message - superficially angry and intimidating with a message of love.
As the show draws to a close the band manage to sneak in an unlikely cover of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You before the final assault of Rottweiler descends into a sea of screeching guitars and spinning disco balls.
It’s all about balance.