• Callum McWilliams

IDLES at the LCR 28/03/2019

Only saw one man with a perm. Nobody fought him. Success.

I had such massive expectations for this night for months on end, but before we get into IDLES, should mention their north London support, Crows. I’ve seen some pretty bad support lately but Crows were a lot of fun. Their long-awaited debut album Silver Tongues came out last week on Balley Records, IDLES own label. Lovely bit of cyclical support. I think they were probably helped by the mass of punk dads that got to LCR early to get in prime position for the main act, but they made the most of it with their dark psych intensity, and they did exactly what any great support should do and took the energy in the room up a few levels ready for the IDLES boys to come out.

When they did eventually come out, they were met with a good meaty roar from a sold out LCR crowd, started us off with album opener & big hitter ‘Colossus’ and it was all good from there. There was a healthy mix of Joy as an act of Resistance and Brutalism throughout the set. Also thrown in was a magical surprise singalong rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, a perfect March soundtrack to get everyone involved. Throughout the night, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan waded into the deepest depths of the LCR. And everybody’s favourite frontman Joe Talbot was having a great time with the crowd, it all came together for a truly immersive and unforgettable night. Even the awful Alan Partridge banter.

IDLES are harnessing the volatility and uncertainty in British political air, and so far, they’ve used it to forge two hugely honest and acclaimed albums. Their live show was exactly as good as we were all hoping it would be. There wasn’t a single track that didn’t land, the tracks from Joy maybe got a little bit of a stronger reaction but that was to be expected with all the success it’s had since coming out last August. Everyone in the room was screaming out ‘Danny Nedelko’ at the top of their lungs. ‘Great’ was another one that nearly ripped my vocal chords in half. And even when they jumped back to tracks like ‘Mother’ or ‘Faith in the City’ their raw vibrancy shone through in another dimension from seeing Talbot’s fury live in the flesh.

There were definitely times in the gig when it did really feel like we were watching the Mark Bowen show, the room was his playground. Foraying into the pit half naked, mad moves. His surreal screaming riff at the end led me to tell a middle-aged woman at the bar afterwards that I’d ‘ascended’ after seeing him close the gig. Don’t get me wrong all 5 of the band are massively talented but he might just be one of the most captivating performers I’ve ever seen grace that stage.

9.5/10, might have been the best LCR gig I’ve been to in my 3 years at UEA. It would’ve been a full 10/10 if I’d managed to grab every single one of their sweaty backs but I only managed to get my mitts on Bowen.

All Is Love.

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