IDLES: Southsea – Live Review ‘a maelstrom art-post-punk attack for the 2010s; ‘
Live at Record Store Day
Southsea 22 April 2017
In the heart of Southsea’s most hip street and home of the esteemed Pie and Vinyl record store, Castle Road on Record Store Day is lined with stalls aplenty selling the weird and wonderful and a stage heading the cordoned-off road for an afternoon of live music of various genres whilst rows of browsers form meandering queues into the packed Pie and Vinyl.
A large cluster of people soon grows and with it, emerges a heady buzz about the crowd in anticipation of Bristol’s Idles. Though they’ve never played Portsmouth previously, those ‘in the know’ know they’re in for a treat. From the outset, the quintet spring onto the stage scouring the crowd with a force to knock you out with and leaving you wondering what just hit you. Lead vocalist Joe Talbot stands centre-stage, bottle of wine in 1 hand, brash and in-yer-face with a mocking stare and bold jaunty swagge. Lyrics are spat out, in places reminiscent of a Sleaford Mods rap over the fierce guitar riffs and ferocious energy of tracks such ‘Well Done’ as which slates Middle England’s popular culture, Tories and most notably TV’s Mary Berry! (‘Even Tarquin likes reggae…!’ I’d rather cut my nose off to spite my face!’). But then just as you’re drawn in; hypnotised by Talbot’s malevolent intensity of pure rage, suddenly he switches and laughs a roaring laugh and pogoes about with the unbridled enjoyment of playing live and the mood switches to joy and delight.
Together then, Idles are a maelstrom art-post-punk attack for the 2010s; a whirlwind of fury and passion, whilst simultaneously launching a humorous attack on your senses; here there are wickedly comic gestures and engaging the crowd in their world by weaving their way into the throng and embracing you tight – particularly flamboyant bare-chested lead guitarist Mark Bowen, as could be vouched for by one flummoxed, yet delighted girl near the front, who found herself with a guitar thrust into her arms by a stampeding Mark. And in true punk rock style, guitars are attacked in frenzy, drums bashed so hard you fear a drumstick will break in drummer Jon Beavis’s bare hands amidst an outpouring of sardonically-spoken vitriol towards the current political-economical state in Brexit-era UK. The band have been together longer than you may think with 2 previous acclaimed EPs ‘Welcome’ from back in 2012 and 2015’s ‘Meat’. This set also draw heavily from debut LP, the aptly-named ‘Brutalism’. All too soon, the set is over and you’re left gasping for more. Idles concur that they are ‘an angry band’ and go ‘batshit live’. That’s certainly true if this small outdoor lazy-sunny-afternoon gig is anything to go by.
Check them out here: www.idlesband.com and don’t miss them live! Debut album ‘Brutalism’ is out now on Balley Records.