Words & Photos: Kieran Webber
Editorial Note: This article is referring to the 9th April show at Plymouth Hub, due to technical difficulties we were not able to hit our deadline. Apologies to the bands, readers and PR that set this up.
Plymouth is an interesting city, it’s a little rough around the edges and seems to be constantly wet and grey (as is much of the U.K). Recently the city has been having somewhat of a facelift and areas of the city are now being regenerated. This is a good thing but does come with its consequences, especially when it comes to live music. As the rich people move in, erecting their fancy apartment towers, it’s normally venues like The Hub that get bullied out of business. This is unfortunately the case.
The Hub is by no means an iconic venue and much like the surrounding areas as a certain rough charm about it. These venues don’t have a place in a city looking to attract a more affluent crowd and as such when development begins, their lifespan dwindles. It’s unfortunate as it is in these venues that most bands start out, it is in venues such as The Hub that you see one of your favorite bands before they move onto bigger venues. Also as someone whom resides in Cornwall it is one of the closest venues that books a wide variety of up and coming bands.
As I first stepped into the venue I must admit I turned my nose up to it, it had an interesting odor and the door staff looked like they’d had too much pro-plus. It wasn’t until after the show I realized how important these venues are. The Hub is a dive, but by god an important one. Bands such as LICE and IDLES excel in these environments. They are tight, sweaty and incredibly intimate.
Opening the show was LICE, whom recently signed onto Joe Talbots (IDLES Frontman) new label Balley Records. It is understandable why they have caught the attention of Joe. They blend avant garde into their punk riddled music with a slacker mentality, their not taking their craft seriosly and that is what makes it special. They’re here to make a lot of noise and express a huge amount of energy. You don’t need to stand back and analyse what you’ve seen only just that you have seen it. Their sound is ferocious and comes through like a juggernaut, especially in regards to percussion and bass. Both drummer and bassist are absolute units.
After a quick soundcheck and clear down Joe Talbot meandered on to the stage where he analysed his audience. He marched up and down the stage like a wolf stalking its prey. This preempt wasn’t just for him, it was for us. A tension was building in the venue as we all looked to Joe. What was happening? What can we expect? All of this was to be answered very soon.
After Joe had eyed up his prey for a sufficient time the rest of the band joined him onstage and without any hesitation their explosive sound came into action. Both guitarists flew into a frenzy, contorting and throwing their bodies around. Joe’s angst and anger was pulsing through him physically, with each songs delivery as personal and passionate as the last.
Their set was a mix of tracks from their debut LP ‘Brutalism’ and some off their forthcoming release. Tracks off ‘Brutalism’ carried the same punch as the recordings, if not more. They were an absolute ball of ferocious energy that was untamed. To be amongst it was a cathartic experience. As those that listen to IDLES will know IDLES music covers a range of topics, from mental health to politics. All of the rage, angst and bitter confusion riots through their live performance and as someone with similar experiences and ideology you can’t help but be lifted by their music.
Their new songs nearly fucking floored me, if you thought ‘Brutalism’ was gnarled then you have a surprise in store for you. New tracks such as ‘Samaritans’, ‘Love Song’ and ‘Rottweiler’ took their ferocity and sound to a whole new level.
I have said this before and I will say it again, IDLES are one the UK’s most important and impressive bands around. They are politically driven and full of rage but have layers of compassion. If you get the chance to experience IDLES live then I urge you to go.
By Kieran Webber