Photos and Review by Steven Paugh – email@example.com
Idles brought their testosterone raging sound to MegaCorp Pavilion September 12th, leading to a show that will surely be hard to top for future artists.
British punk band Idles made their stop on their Back to Normal tour in Newport Kentucky this past Monday, bringing an abundant amount of anger and love with them. The show as a whole could be called a raging war of a one sided conflict, down to the singer splitting the crowd down the middle for a wall of death mosh pit. The crowd would take every chance to mosh as hard as they could, but not once did it ever feel the least bit violent. The fan base and band may have the hard exterior of the punk genre but they still carry the scenes values of respecting each other, looking out for one another, and picking people up who fall in the pit. This mixed with the bands seamless performance made for an amazing show that I’m not sure people were expecting from a venue called MegaCorp.
From the first song till the very end the band was here to give a sweat inducing performance that left everyone with a sense of belonging. There’s not even that much I can say on the sounds of the instruments or the bands tightness as it was astounding the entire night. Even with one of their members, Mark Bowen, on paternity leave. Tina Maynard of the band Masca and friend of Idles, has been stepping in for him effortlessly, which is no small task. Mark is very essential to the atmosphere and harsher sounds of the bands music so the position definitely has its pressure. However, with an uproar of a chant of “Tina! Tina! Tina!” throughout the night from the crowd, it’s obvious that she is bringing her a-game. From the noisecore esque intro of Car Crash to the softer elements of The Beachland Ballroom, every element felt so full of heart and desire to perform. She wasn’t the only one getting in touch with the crowd though as guitarist Lee Kiernan, bassist Adam Devonshire, and even Tina herself were all at one point crowd surfing leading to them standing fully upright at the support of the crowd in the middle of the floor space, towering above everyone like deities of a rowdy belief. Even with stardom, the band has seemed to never lose its connection to its audience and its desire for fun.
Punk as a whole carries ideologies of anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, and anti-corporatism. So to see a band that holds these values so closely and unapologetically perform at a venue with the literal name MegaCorp Pavilion definitely carried a taste of irony. Especially considering the era of their career that Idles is in. Since their debut album Brutalism came out in 2017, Idles has been on the up and up in their career having a lot of success with their eclectic sounds and deeply personal messages in their songs. However, another ideology of punk is “not selling out”, and everyone has their own take on where to draw the line on what that means. To many, Idles could be the definition of selling out for any number of reasons. Whether it be playing at a venue like this or even just releasing their first official album with an actual label backing them. Either way, they’ve been under a microscope for a while now from the most critical of fans and I’m sure many of them have negative feelings towards the bands career in recent years. I personally don’t believe “selling out” is about mundane aspects like gear, venue, or style. A band can be expected to upgrade to advance their sound and creativity throughout their career once they have the financial and opportunistic means. Instead I see selling out as abandoning your beliefs and morals for profit, and as anyone at Mondays show can tell you, Idles is not shy about expressing how they really feel.
With the UK in an uproar of their queens passing, it was interesting to hear what the bands perspective of the situation was being that they’re from Bristol. Throughout the night, singer Joe Talbot would make remarks on his opinions ranging from “Fuck the queen!” to “Now we’ve got a cunt king to worry about”. Though he didn’t keep it targeted at the monarchy, but all of UK and US politics. “I am tired of old white men making decisions for people like us” he stated before one of their songs. Before their song Danny Nedelko, a song about the Ukrainian frontman of the band Heavy Lungs, Joe would go on to speak about how the importance of immigrants. Keeping in tone with the meaning of the song in which he talks about how important people like his friend Danny Nedelko are to him, and how we need to not look at immigrants the way that certain politicians try to frame them as, but instead that they are humans just like us and we should love them all the same.
The argument of bands “selling out” can be argued till the end of days and it most likely will. Though, for a lot of the arguments, they aren’t based on a desire to see bands be genuine people but instead just wanting to see them as scene imagery. I implore people to put the gatekeepers like this aside. Bands like Idles are going to perform at places that aren’t pubs or venues like Bogarts when they get the opportunity. They’re going to have better equipment and lights than when they first started. They are going to evolve in their sound over time and have more variety in their music catalog. It’s all part of growing as an artist. With shows like the one I went to I don’t see the point in arguing over petty aspects of music when they’re giving amazing performances with flawless sound and great atmosphere. Hopefully negative people will one day wake up and just start enjoying shows like these because if not they’re sorely missing out on a great time and great people.