IDLES Divide, Conquer and LOVE Austin’s Moody Ampitheater

We’re anti-Fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist and we’re pro-creative. -Joe Strummer (The Clash)

We all listen to music for a myriad of reasons but, for many of us, it is our source of connection to humanity. A connection that informs us that we are not alone in this world with our own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Over 7 years and 5 studio albums, Bristols IDLES have found that connection with an audience that spans generations, race, creed, and sexual identity.Their sound explores the typical musical landscape of punk/post-punk/hardcore, brash, aggressive, and thunderous while delivering poignant, timeless messaging, political and personal, softening the edges with tongue-in-cheek humor and pushing the musical confines of a genre sometimes limiting in sound.

Success requires a bit of talent for sure but as they often say, timing is everything and the timing couldnt be more right for these 5 lads from Bristol, England.

The timing couldnt have been more perfect for anyone attending the near-capacity show this past Tuesday at Austins Moody Amphitheater, a curious choice in venue at first thought, but a brilliant choice in hindsight. Seating removed as the venue became general admission for all in attendance aside from the lofty VIP section. A lofty price paid for what one might consider a lesser experience. If youve ever experienced an IDLES show, sitting in chairs is not an option, and participation is highly encouraged. Sitting on the ground midway through the set is a requirement though at the demand of Talbot and company. The band churned through a blistering 24-song set for what was their largest US audience to date. If listeners turned up because of their love for the impressive collection of songs, they quickly experienced the full force of the bands messaging for humanity, unapologetic and empathetic.

IDEA 01 felt as if it was created as an introduction to what was to unfold on stage as the band quietly took the stage and frontman Joe Talbot, as subdued as he would be for the rest of the evening, sang the trailing lyrics of the track These are the things you lost in the fire. The fire.The fire. The fire. The fire. The fire. The slow building, lyrically dark and personal, Colossusfollowing as the track, split into two parts found Talbot splitting the audience down the middle from the front of the stage to the back of the venue, during the midway break of the song. An act of division followed by the questions Are you ready to collide? and Are you ready for love?.As the band exploded into the second half of the song, unity restored in a frenzied collision of bodies and energy. To seal the arrival of what was to come, guitarist Lee Kiernan came off the stage and into the welcoming crowd, riding a wave of outstretched arms as Talbot and company pushed the intensity of the track to its furious ending sending bodies, beers, and sheer joy into motion.

Detailing the remainder of the set seems a futile attempt to describe and experience that has to be experienced to understand the potency of its existence. The band, seemingly fueled by the response and reality of the largest US audience to date, punished the audience with generous blend of selections from all of their full-length recordings. While the 2024 releaseTANGK, produced by Nigel Godrich and Kenny Beats, feels and exploration into some sonically polished material, the band never strays far from the core of their roots. New tracks like POP POP POPsandwiched between older favs Divide and Conquer and Samaritans fit together as if they all were part of a seamless musical agenda. Talbots personal struggles revealed in poetic dissonance during his first approach to song writing during Im Scum while the bands views on the global immigration crisis delicately expressed with the hammering, anthemic Danny Nedelko. In what feels an appropriate exit, the band closes with Rottweiler from the 2018releaseJoy as as Act of Resistance.No encore. No reason for one.

Keep going
Keep going
Smash it, ruin it, destroy the world
Burn the house down

Aside from boundless energy from all members of the band during the hefty set of tracks, there lies within a message, if not many messages that Talbot and company are conveying through their style of music. Messaging that contradicts what many may consider the messaging of punk rock or rock for that matter to be. Talbots opinions are formed from an experience much darker and lonelier than many of us will ever endure. Or hope to endure. His emotional response in the form of music pulls back the curtain on the harsh realities of our existence as a human mentally and in relation to our global environment. Politics, war, mental illness, poverty, immigration, toxic masculinity, and addiction are addressed in a way that feels like a punch to the face followed bya warm hug. Persistent messaging from the band between sets, encouraging audience participation in chanting along consistently reinforcing the experience and importance of engagement.

Viva Palestina!
Youre not alone
Fuck the King

Despite the bleak and seemingly dark lyrically content wrapped in an aggressive musical wonderland, positivity is the end game. The end game is simple. LOVE. Its right there in the tour title, Love Is The Fing Tour.

05-23 Dallas, TX- South Side Ballroom
06-10 Fort Lauderdale, FL- Revolution Live
06-11 Orlando, FL- House of Blues Orlando
06-13 New Orleans, LA- The Fillmore New Orleans


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