We reviewed IDLES live in Sheffield, what happened?
“This will be a request show”, commanded Joe Talbot as the band blasted “Colossus”, a new single from their new album. The crowd is silent. All eyes are on the hypnotically uncompromising frontman, already drenched in sweat. The crowd drenched in excitement.
He continues. “I’m going to ask your name, and where you come from. And then you’ll pick an Idles song, and we’ll play it. It’s that simple, okay?” He also makes a note that if anyone is rude or interrupts whoever he passes the mic to, that song will not be played. This is a gig that demands respect. Talbot is the preacher, we the congregation.
Thundering through fan favourite songs such as Never Fight a Man with A Perm, 1049 Gotho, and Television, the audience refused to relent. A ferocious yet respectful surge of moshing and bouncing occurred in which the entire room was caught. IDLES had cast their line into the pond, and everyone burst for the bait. Each word echoed against the devout, each beat evoked a leap into the air.
Folks from Mansfield, Rotherham, Sheffield, and Hull all had their turn at choosing songs, and each song received an instantaneous delightful whoop from the crowd. This was a situation where no song was the wrong song. That was until a crowd member chose a rather vague tune from their debut EP, of which the band no longer knew the tunes, due to a slight change in personal. This resulted in a hilarious but powerful rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you”.
At this point I was soaked. Covered in the sweat of myself and the others as I immersed myself into the pleasures of seeing such an important band in such a small and intimate venue. It won’t be long until they’re playing venues ten times the size.
During points, each guitarist took their turns in touring the crowd, screaming into microphones and shredding riffs surrounded by encouragement. At one point, a girl dove onto the stage, wielded his axe and played the song for him while he swam the sea of the audience.Following a commanding execution of the song “Mother,” “Samaritans” and “Danny Nedelko”, it was hard to think of an object or a force that could slow this band down. They are thundering toward the horizon with their tongues in their cheeks and their tales dangling low. I’ve never experienced something quite as exciting or empowering than being in a room full of people screaming;
“He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood.
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love.
He’s made of you, he’s made of me. Unity!”
The show ended. We cried. Tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of longing for more. Joe Talbot had some final words, “How lovely is this? You buy our record, and we put on a show for you”. The crowd exploded. Not literally, although Talbot at one point did threaten to kill everyone in the room. “Joooooking”, he reminded us. “You northerners, you can give it, but you can’t take it!” he jeered in his best possible impression of a Yorkshire man. Turns out his favourite place outside of Bristol is Hull. How grim.