Riding high off the back of the US leg of their tour, charting at number 5 with second album ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ last month, and sharing the accolade of ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ at this year’s Q Awards, the Manchester instalment of IDLES’ recent UK tour felt like a much deserved victory celebration for the Bristolian quintet.
A 90 minute set akin to a large scale rally encapsulated the true sense of unity amongst the surprisingly diverse crowd. IDLES’ brand of self-love, acceptance, and ability to call out many modern societal demons, seemed to resonate completely with the sold-out crowd.
The gig kicked off with album opener ‘Colossus’. With a thundering bass which could only be described as ‘subterranean’, the band built up the atmosphere as each member introduced their instruments, leading to the delayed and deafening climax towards the end. Propelling the crowd to scream along with lyrics such as “I’m like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins!”, frontman Joe Talbot was in command as he enacted the IDLES mission statement in full force from the outset.
In a set featuring an array of highlights, each song flew by with the same righteous energy, helping to paint the band as one of the best live acts the UK has to offer right now. The song ‘Exeter’ found the crowd in a chaotic flurry as the band invited one and all up on stage to join in the outro, leading to what must have been 20+ audience members finding their way up before security had had enough. This was of course followed by a charming acapella rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’, showing that the band still had time for some humour.
Being front and centre is perhaps where best to enjoy this band live. Despite an address from frontman Joe to claim that “We are not a punk band”, if you’re ready for a full out thrash for the best part of 90 minutes, complete with flying bodies drifting above you from both crowd and band, then IDLES will happily accommodate.
Having seen them perform in Coventry Central Library back in April, to what was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, Manchester cemented the fact that they are the real deal.
IDLES’s new album ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ is out now on Partisan