Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre wrote Albert Camus, and nothing about this night was mediocre. Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom was the venue for this powerful, raucous, brutal and uplifting performance from Idles. This was the last regular date of their US tour and it was a night that overflowed with positivity and a sense of community from the very beginning. In the foyer, the band manned their own Merch table, as is their common practice, and chatted away with the crowd as they filed into this sell out show. The bars thronged with a friendly crowd who eschewed the usual too cool L.A. attitude and were buzzing with excitement.
After support band Bambara had finished their riotous and formidable set, Idles took to the stage one by one. Drummer Jon Beavis and bassist Adam Devonshire, clad only in his underwear led the ominous thundering sound of Colossus. Guitarists Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen entered the stage and the sonic fray. Bowen clearly getting the pants only memo. By the time frontman Joe Talbot reached the first chorus, the crowd in front of the stage was a tumultuous sea of hands, drinks and bodies thrown into the air.
After a powerful performance of Never Fight a Man with a Perm and Mother, Talbot chatted affably with the crowd and with his band mates. His warm and relaxed manner seeming incongruous with the furious energy of his performance. The passion, the positivity and the chemistry of Idles are irresistibly contagious. Hands and voices raised together in unison, all the way to the back of the room for Danny Ndeleko and Great. Together with an impromptu accapella version of All I Want For Christmas Is You between Joe Talbot and Mark Bowen that erupted into an audience sing-along.
As the crowd stage dived, the band thought why not? Spending increasing amounts of time either in the crowd or surfing its crest. I’m not sure if it was an invite or spontaneity, but soon there were so many members of the audience on stage, I expected the ghost of Norris McWhirter to declare a new world record. Joe Talbot told us what we all know, but few people take heed of. “We don’t do encores, they’re weird,” he declared. Thanking the crowd before launching into Rottweiler as Idles one by one, left the stage drenched in feedback and love.
Idles are a band who’s music stands them apart, a band who’s performance sets them apart. But more than that, it’s the camaraderie of Idles between each other and with their audience that make their performances such a joyous, inimitable and unforgettable experience.
You can still catch Idles before they leave the US at Desert Daze. Tickets are available here.