Live Review: Idles

QMU, 20/10/18

“They’re uglier than I expected” would be an insult if for any other band. If it weren’t integral to the hypermasculine; gruff, hairy, and UGLY, punk tradition. A Trojan horse for the insecure. Between the mutton chops, goatees, and scruffy beards, their fashion department might have borrowed from the set of Gangs of New York.

A harsh look for a harsh sound, with distorted riffs and heavy bassy atmosphere bouncing on jungle inspired drumming. The sugar sweet power chords bring warmth and hope to a sludge of influence, forging a near perfect live punk sound.

They are a mean presence of hardcore and post-punk, a la Dead Kennedys without the snark. Instead there’s hope, there’s community, there’s love amongst darkness. There’s tradition amongst progression, a better vision of the near future than the nationalists could ever see. A bangers and mash sound served on a plate of progressive songwriting and politics.

The BriWi-esque cuts from dirge to arena anthem in Colossus caused a crowd surge. So few of the mob missed a lyric that, through showboating, Joe probably sung the least in the room. Making sure nobody doubted their dedication, Idles were tight. Tight enough for Mark to give his guitar to an audience member yet still flawlessly cut jagged riffs through the songs’ pulse.

Propulsive songs led to a propulsive crowd, with wave after wave of shirtless fans floating over the pit on an adrenaline wave. The security were the guardian angels, catching the fallen and passing out fresh water for the pit dwellers.

By the end of the night, the self professed scum had shown themselves as something more heavenly, ascending their material to ungodly urgency. Ugly as the scene is, Idles made something beautiful at the QMU.

[Tim Dawson – @theblutit]

[Image credit: pahudson/Flickr.com]

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