Live Review: IDLES at Dublin Button Factory – 22nd October 2018

By on Thursday, 8th November 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Words by Gareth O’Malley

IDLES didn’t make it over here last time they were touring an album, which is why tonight’s set feels like an overdue celebration of last year as much as it does for their breakthrough record ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’. The floodgates open not long after support act Heavy Lungs leave the stage. By the time IDLES arrive on the scene just after 9 PM and open their set with ‘Colossus’, anticipation has reached a fever pitch. The song’s first act is delivered at a pace that seems funereal compared to its recorded counterpart. Then, frontman Joe Talbot counts the five-piece back in for part two and the room finally ignites, the first few rows of the crowd on the floor seeming to move as one. It’s the sort of energetic release the band excel at, setting the bar for what is to come.

‘Colossus’ and ‘Never Fight a Man With a Perm’ are the opening salvo of a 19-song set, quickly followed by the politically-charged ‘Mother’ and ‘Faith in the City’ from ‘Brutalism’. Stage banter is kept to a minimum until the band are sure they have everyone in the room on side. “Are there any scumbags in the audience?” Talbot asks cheekily. A resounding cheer goes up by way of answer before he dedicates the next song to them. It is, of course, ‘I’m Scum’, and by the sounds of things, there are plenty of people here who are “lefty, soft, minimum wage job” as the song puts it. ‘Danny Nedelko’ is dedicated by Talbot to “those people here who are not from here, those immigrants that make the world a better place” before the band tear through the song and are almost drowned out by the crowd in the process. Five mics on stage struggle to compete with a thousand-strong crowd roaring back a song that has seemingly come to mean a lot to people in a very short time.

Everyone in the room seems to have brought their best selves to tonight’s show, with Ireland praised for its selection of ‘really good Dairy Milk’ by Talbot before powerhouse drummer Jon Beavis introduces the deliberately overblown ‘Gram Rock’, a song memorably described as being about “two hedge fund managers doing coke at a funeral”. The motorik grooves and punishing walls of sound of ‘Heel/Heal’, meanwhile, are dedicated to local band Fontaines D.C., with Talbot effusive in his praise of whom he calls ‘the best fucking band in the world’. Evidently, some people were listening, as their own show here next month has since sold out. [It has been announced this week that Fontaines D.C. will be joining IDLES on their North American headline tour next May. – Ed.]

The show rolls along at a clip, with fans as open to the band’s message as they are the musical content. ‘Samaritans’ is introduced as “a song that wants to encourage men to talk about their feelings” before Talbot extends gratitude toward the heaving crowd: “Thank you for allowing us to share our message with you.” The song itself is delivered at a pace significantly slower than the album version, but still goes down a storm.

‘Television’ receives one of the best responses of the night, picking things back up as we head into the closing moments of the set. Things get slightly out of hand on ‘Exeter’, with Talbot all but derailed midway through the song by the sheer amount of bodies on stage. He runs with it, though, and the stage invasion generates enough energy to get through the rest of the set. One stage invader gifts Talbot a scarf (“for those cold Irish nights”, he says, though it’s probably serving him well in Europe) and is then surfed back on to the stage no less than three separate times during their cover of Solomon Burke’s ‘Cry to Me’.

The room is treated to a brief a capella cover of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ before the set is brought to a close with a frantic rendition of ‘Well Done’ and their traditional set closer ‘Rottweiler’ (“It’s about the horrific right-wing press in the UK … Don’t read the Sun, it’ll give you cancer”). Before they bring the curtain down on their debut Irish headline show in authoritative fashion, Talbot reveals that they’re planning a return visit to these shores sometime in the new year.

No encores, of course – ‘we don’t do them because it’s weird’ – but considering how much of themselves they leave on the stage, they can close shows however they see fit. This might have been somewhat overdue, but it turns out to be well worth the wait. The scramble for tickets for that forthcoming show is going to be brutal.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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