When tickets for this Idles gig went on general sale months ago it sold out within two hours so this was definitely the hottest ticket in town this week. With a strong sense of musical occasion this gig felt Big and the audience seemed a veritable who’s who of the Norwich music-loving community.
Support came from London’s Crows, however I and some friends spent ages and much of their set stuck in the traditional, interminable wait at the LCR bar but they did impress me, even more so when I managed to secure a vantage point.
The UEA LCR felt absolutely ram-packed and the expectation and excitement was quite palpable as 9:15 came and went, so when the lights dimmed and Bristol’s Idles came on fifteen minutes later a great roar went up from the floor. The band started but the opening bars of Colossus were extended as Joe Talbot delayed the lines to build up the tension and energy even further.
The crowd went absolutely bonkers, a heaving mass of limbs as most of the floor was one frenzied mosh-pit. A bit too frenzied at one point for Talbot who several times had to tell some the livelier in the crowd to respect those around them who may only be head-nodders like himself. Not that he’s a head nodder onstage, the energy the band put into the set is phenomenal and guitarist Mark Bowen was certainly dressed for a workout in 70s/80s Superstars-era sports shorts, socks and trainers went on several walkabout in – and on – the audience. So why did I feel like I was watching some kind of parody and was looking around to see if others were witnessing the Emperor’s New Clothes?
I have some admiration for Idles but would certainly not class myself as one of their keener fans, mainly just listening to them in short bursts on the occasions when I try to like them and invariably fail. I get what they are about and have several friends who are massive, harcore fans who think I should be too but something just isn’t clicking between me and them. The gig did not elevate me into that category of fan as I’d hoped. Not remotely actually as I left early (along with hoardes of others, it must be pointed out) but it was an experience to witness the love and energy, for the majority one which bordered on spiritual. The message, and just how much they and their songs mean to so many people who utterly adore them, singing along with every lyric of every song is obvious and powerful. I watched the crowd (congregation?) celebrate the occasion in such a passionate and connected way with each other (for the most part) and the band. Unity. Idles are not for me though and I soon tired of them. I guess I was one of the minority who’d had enough about twenty minutes in and left early but I was far from alone in doing so. A couple of people doing similar mentioned that the name of the band on my t-shirt were far superior to Idles. Fontaines DC.
An interesting night, with very strong support from the excellent Crows who rescued my least favourite gig in ages. The LCR has never felt so full and there was a tremendous atmosphere but this only alienated me further from the headliners.
Thursday 28th March 2019
The Nick Rayns LCR, UEA
After a wrapping up sell-out UK and US tours, IDLES have confirmed a 2019 world tour, headlining their biggest venues yet. The run will include two London headliners at The Electric Ballroom and their first ever run of dates in Australia. Tickets go on public sale this Friday Nov 9th at 9 am local time, with tickets available at www.idlesband.com, full routing below.
IDLES’ new record ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ debuted at no.5 in the UK charts, breaking Rough Trade’s all-time record for most pre-orders and sales in day. It is currently the no.1 best reviewed record of 2018 (average rating of 88 across 25 reviews) at Album Of The Year and in the Top 10 on Metacritic. The band saw not only singles but the album itself A-listed at 6 Music and earned major features, amongst others, with the likes of Q, Mojo, The Guardian and covers with DIY, Loud & Quiet, So Young and NME. They’ve arrived internationally too with only last week NPR Music declaring “I am an IDLES addict. It’s like mainlining an uplifting and unifying assault on nationalism, racism, intolerance, and class inequality.”
The band won Best Breakthrough at the Q Awards last month following their Jools Holland debut which NME called “history in the making…incomparably brilliant,” likening it to Arctic Monkeys and Kanye West’s first appearances on the show. Watch here. La Blogothèque also just filmed the band performing a couple ‘Joy’ standouts, watch them do stripped down versions of “I’m Scum” and “Gram Rock”.
Norwich: Music City, UK. A Norwich playlist of well over 30 hours of local music on Spotify: