What happens when you take the best of The Strokes, Clutch, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and a touch of Fugazi, mix it all—and then set it on fire? You get the makings of the most exciting band from the UK in the past decade.
IDLES blasted out of Bristol seemingly from nowhere and have answered the same call that punk rock did in the late ’70s. But instead of a fight against disco and inequalities, this time it’s about corruption and satire, all in the face of the looming disaster that is Brexit. IDLES not only provide a much-needed break from the mainstream bullshit, but they have also relit the punk torch and grown it into a bonfire.
If you’ve somehow missed the phenomenon known as IDLES you might think that they are a bit overhyped. It’s a natural response from the mainstream press building our hopes up around the next big thing, only to be let down. I can tell you for after seeing this band live in Dublin last week that IDLES is the real fucking deal. It’s not hype when the hype machine isn’t needed; it’s much more organic. The songs, the live shows, the attitude is all 100% real, and the music scene has embraced the next big thing not because they were told to do so, but because they discovered it on their own.
The show was insane. I’ve seen hundreds of punk, and metal shows and these guys are in a world of their own in terms of energy and stage presence. “Colossus,” “Well Done,” “Mother,” and “Never Fight a Man with a Perm” were the highlights for me, but even the songs I wasn’t familiar with pulled the set together to hit like a punch to the chest. If’ you’ve heard or seen Daughters from the US, they’re probably the only band on earth right now who can match these guys in terms of intensity and rage—and wouldn’t that be a hell of a double bill by the way.
While the band continually reminds us that they are not a post-punk or a punk rock band, it’s not really up to them at this point to decide. The fans have embraced their music and interpreted in a way that only makes sense to the punk rock community. And that’s not such a bad thing I would think as it’s opening up not only the genre but the spirit of punk that was lost decades ago to an entirely new audience. People you would not expect to love this band love this fucking band, and that’s a sign of something extraordinary. A movement if you will. Whether or not IDLES likes it, the pressure is on to deliver. I can’t wait to see what they do next as I’m sure it will be a giant middle finger to the industry in the nicest possible way.