David Jackson reviews Idles at the Craufurd Arms, Wolverton
Let's cut straight to the chase - Idles might just be one of the most exhilarating, exciting and best bands this country has to offer.
Following the groundwork of recent tours and bolstered by their relentless debut LP Brutalism, there’s been a huge amount of hype surrounding Idles.
When their headline gig at the Craufurd Arms was announced it sold out in hours.
Did they deliver? Is the buzz justified? Absolutely - and then some.
Sandwiched somewhere between punk, post punk and alternative rock, Idles are an absolute blast to see live. They're every bit as brutal as their debut’s title suggests but with a prowling, almost sinister and urgent edge.
An air of angry controlled chaos swirled around the Craufurd Arms throughout their headline set on Friday night.
Arriving on stage following a solid set by Lice (the first signing to Idles’ record label) the band opened with Heal / Heal.
From that point on it was virtually 100 per cent at 100mph all night.
Fans surged forwards at regular intervals, spilling onto monitors and occasionally onto the stage, while guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan flung them themselves around, with Bowen frequently on his hands and knees screaming or wandering around the crowd with a trailing guitar lead.
Dressed and white jeans and a white t-shirt frontman Joe Talbot glared out from the stage all night, occasionally pausing to ensure a very rowdy crowd was taking care of each other.
Most of the band’s set was taken from their debut LP with a handful of other tracks thrown in.
Former single Mother was an early highlight while Divide & Conquer’s slower, brooding, pace briefly slowed the intensity.
There was a brief impromptu singalong of a festive song before Talbot introduced Well Done as the song he jokingly hoped would secure him a house on the Cayman islands.
By the end of set closer Rottweiler, Talbot left his band members to bring the set to a crescendo of noise before they departed leaving a stage littered with instruments and microphone stands.
Idles are a band you can, and should, believe in and they're busy carving out an enviable reputation.
How long a band can maintain this momentum is anyone's guess, but on their current form, Idles are unstoppable.
Two footnotes. Firstly, No Fake Encores. Other bands – take note. (The Lovely Eggs have a statement about this which is reading: http://www.thelovelyeggs.co.uk/no-fake-encores)
Secondly, there’s been a degree of post-gig chatter online from some fans who thought things inside the Craufurd Arms got a little too rowdy thanks to a small minority.
Everyone attending gigs has the right to attend any venue and feel safe. The band paused at points on Friday to reiterate this.
Things were chaotic at times, but the thought of a couple of hundred people foot-tapping, head-nodding and politely clapping is almost as undesirable!
The Idles Chant
Faith in the City
I Am Scum
Divide & Conquer