IDLES – Festival Hall
IDLES – Festival Hall
Written by Zennieshia Butts
Photos by Mitch Lowe
Last night, Festival Hall in Melbourne was gifted with the raw energy and powerful performance of IDLES. The band delivered an unforgettable night of unapologetic passion and relentless intensity.
Opening with the thunderous “Colossus,” IDLES set the tone for the evening with their signature blend of droning and piercing guitars amongst primal drum beats.
The band’s frontman, Joe Talbot, proved to be an enigmatic force on stage, commanding the crowd’s attention with every word he spoke. During “I’m Scum,” he orchestrated a powerful moment, rallying the audience to get low to the ground while creating the chant “Fuck the King” before the last verse, creating an atmosphere of defiance and unity amongst Festival Hall and its packed out crowd.
IDLES didn’t shy away from addressing serious issues during the concert. Tracks like “Mother” and “Divide and Conquer” resonated deeply, speaking about the complexities of societal norms and the need for change. The band’s message of empowerment and solidarity was evident as they tore through songs like “War” and “A Hymn.” While Talbot also opens up about his 4 months of sobriety and the sometimes hidden struggles of addiction and depression. Talbot himself mentions along his last visit to Australia he thought he was happy, but he wasn’t in retrospect. It was a real eye opener and I hope the people that needed to hear this took it all in. As Talbot said, “I’m not a drug addict, I’m a singer in a band.” The most important sentence of the entire night as it shows he is well on the path to overcoming addiction and the importance of breaking addiction as an identity for people who have or are battling with any form of addiction.
Throughout the night, IDLES maintained a strong connection with their fans, engaging us all in every moment. Bassist Adam Devonshire and both guitarists Mark Bowen’s and Lee Kiernan’s infectious enthusiasm had the crowd moshing in unity. While drummer Jon Beavis kept the heartbeat of the show pounding with precision. This is without mentioning the multiple times both guitarists climb off stage to climb into the crowd or crowd surf over the top of the heaving mosh. The crowd really felt connected directly with the band as a whole.
Talbot mentions at one point throughout the night while discussing his gratitude for the support from Australia’s fans that it “feels good to be carried and I hope we carry you in some way”. It is safe to say that there was a lot of carrying taking place with the constant barrage of crowd surfing throughout the night.
The setlist covered a range of IDLES’ most beloved songs, including the relentless “1049 Gotho” and the heart-wrenching “A Hymn.”
The medley of covers during “Love Song” was a delightful surprise for fans, showcasing IDLES’ ability to seamlessly blend their influences into their own unique sound while again creating a sense of connection, climbing into the crowd and singing face to face along the security barrier.
“The Beachland Ballroom” created a beautiful moment with thousands of fans singing together as one.
As the night reached its climax, Drummer Jon Beavis pulled off a “shoey” (without alcohol) during “Never Fight a Man With a Perm,” adding a quirky twist to the performance and the crowd erupted into a frenzy during “Danny Nedelko.”. The seated sections along the edges of the packed venue became elevated waves of people standing as no seat could keep anyone down with such high energy pumping through Festival Hall.
It’s safe to say that IDLES reputation as one of the most electrifying live acts today is well-earned and undisputed. If you ever have the chance to see them live, don’t hesitate – it’s an experience like no other.