If you’ve not heard of them, then sod off and give them a listen as a lot of what I’m about to write won’t make much sense if you haven’t heard their music and ideologies.
Done? OK good.
When you tell people you are off to a gig at the weekend, people always ask you to describe the band, ‘what are they like?’ they ask.It’s almost always something I answer with a series of comparisons; they are bit like x with a hint of Y and the attitude of Z. That kind of thing…
Yet the best description I can come up with to describe Idles isn’t based on comparing them to anyone as that would be selling them short. The simple description is that they produce ‘angry caring punk rock’ (I’d say their closest bedfellows at the moment are the Sleaford Mods) and ever since hearing Divide & Conquer from their first album earlier this year, they’ve slowly creeped further and further up my playlist. So, with a second album out and a tour announced that was stopping in Glasgow, I quite happily double booked myself and missed out on Superorganism (I’ll catch them again I hope) to head to the QMU for a night of loud, thumping, powerful music. Expectations were high.
From the punk rock side, Idles are a full-on, thrashing guitars, mosh-pit inducing force of nature, with so much energy coming from the stage that you can’t help but get carried along with everyone else – literally in many cases, as I’ve not seen that much crowd surfing for a long time – and get sucked in to the moment time and time again. It’s probably telling that there was very little chatting going on less you miss a second of the visual and sonic explosions that were continually fired from the stage. This band is TIGHT as well, and with a growling, punching, wound up singer up front, backed by two crowd surfing guitarists and a rhythm section that was on it from the second the stepped on stage, it’s safe to say that these geezers work damn hard to deliver.
Lyrically, Idles explore all topics with deep passion, ranging from anger at the dismantling of the NHS and the way immigrants are treated in this country, through to mourning for the loss of loved ones, the depressed, the stillborn and more. Yet it’s the passion and love that comes through at all times. Railing against the establishment is not new, but the confirmation of the strength of ‘us’, of how much better life would be if there was more compassion in the world is what comes across in droves.
At times we are right to be angry, and Idles encourage that anger, that rebellion against the big money that drives our world. The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich, they say, to a packed audience in a vocal student union venue, and with a united roar we all responded, and little by little, faith in the future of humanity was restored.
Expectations met, and then some.