I saw IDLES’ this Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. And I’ve got the bruises to prove it.
IDLES isn’t your average angst-ridden punk band. While they have all the lovable aggression of punk in their music, they also promote positive ideologies like compassion, self-confidence and inclusivity.
The IDLES Brooklyn extravaganza started with an opening at Okay Gallery the Friday night before the show. Every piece in the exhibit was inspired by songs from IDLES’ newest album Joy as an Act of Resistance, with artists interpreting the the songs through sculptures, illustrations, paintings, photographs and collages.
With the band members on hand to meet fans and friends, the art show was just a sweet taste of what was to come on Saturday night. The show started off with tequila shots as NYC’s Bambara stirred up the crowd. If The Gun Club and Swans had a baby it would be Bambara. Frontman Reid Bateh practically melted into his mic while the crowd shuffling happily shoved each other and tossed around some beer.
Before their last song, Bateh expressed his love for IDLES, which IDLES’ frontman Joe Talbot reciprocated later in the night, calling Bambara his favorite band. “It’s going to be the best show you’ve seen in a fucking long time,” Bambara’s Bateh shouted before falling to his knees and howling away with sweat dripping down his face.
The crowd was not just warmed up, they were ready to rumble.
Can I be 100 percent honest really quick? When I see a band full of white dudes, I get a little annoyed. It’s frustrating being a woman in the music industry and seeing white males dominate every aspect of it. But it’s different with IDLES. They’re not tough dudes who take the stage to express their macho-ness. They truly feel like allies.
So you better believe I felt comfortable throwing myself into the huge mosh pit and crowd surfing over strangers.
Talbot shouted about being a feminist, loving immigrants and the importance of fatherly love in-between songs. During the powerful “Danny Nedelko” I convinced my friend who had never crowd surfed before to go up with me. We went flying. I landed on stage right when the song ended, which I always feel awkward about because then you’re just standing there waiting for the next song to start so you can dive off stage.
But Talbot put his arm around me, asked me my name and shouted for the crowd to make sure to have me up crowd surfing for the entirety of the next song, “Divide And Conquer.” I leapt off the stage ready for that dark and eerie guitar and drum intro to start.
Then a guitar string broke.
Have you ever crowd surfed for longer than just a few minutes? It’s exhilarating, but holy shit I had to use neck and back muscles I didn’t even know I had. Also, crowd surfing to no music is such a weird thing—all of a sudden I was extremely aware of all the strangers touching me and hoping not to drop me.
I felt people pulling down my shirt to make sure it wasn’t pulled off and making sure my hair wasn’t being yanked out—it was beautiful.
I’ve been crowd surfing since I was 12 years old, now I’m 26 and this was the first time I felt like even though it was a bunch of strangers invading my personal space, I didn’t have to worry.
The rest of the night was spent moshing with these beautiful people who made me feel so comfortable when I was above them. Jumping up and down with my arm around some random person next to me who was also smiling and singing along. It seemed like everyone was in harmony that night.
It really showed what punk rockers can achieve when we come together in the name of IDLES.