Preview: IDLES at House of Blues on 10/12

by James Morse

IDLES are coming to Boston, and you should care. That’s because IDLES are a band with a singularly excellent energy; the kind of indescribable attitude that makes you try to use absurd metaphors. ‘Like a washing machine that’s rocking itself across the room, smashing through drywall – but inside the washing machine is an oversized stuffed bear.’ Or something like that. However you might try to describe them, IDLES distill to an aggressive bombast mixed with a sincere compassion. It’s that mix that makes IDLES make you feel so good, make you feel like you don’t just want, you need to start moving around. 

In fact, it feels incomprehensible to consider that there’s ever been an IDLES concert where the crowd and the band hasn’t been moving and dancing and just absolutely shimmering in energy. Even in their early days in 2009 when they self-professedly “didn’t know what the fuck [they] were doing at all”, you still get the impression that they were putting on incredible shows. It’s hard to imagine any of their members as anything but the unbridled cavalcades of joy and anger that they are today. Even when fans hushedly mention mythology about the band, like how the guitarist used to be a dentist, it only adds to the intrigue.  But note how the guitarist, Mark Bowen used to be a dentist. That’s because IDLES have made it big, in the world of both critics and fans. After their first few EP’s in 2012 and 2014, their debut album Brutalism was released in 2017 to much notice for their thoughtful lyrics mixed with propulsive rhythm. Followed by the acclaimed Joy as an Act of Resistance in 2018, and Ultra Mono in 2020, the band has established themselves as a leading band in the world of punk, even if the band doesn’t consider themselves to be a punk band. Joe Talbot; the frontman, has yelled out in the past “for the last time, we’re not a fucking punk band”. After all, their upcoming album; Crawler, (to be released November 12th) is produced by Kenny Beats, who is known for working with Vince Staples and Denzel Curry. So, if you go to see IDLES October 12th at the House of Blues, don’t expect punk music, but do expect the bristling aggression interlaced with compassion that is IDLES. And expect a good show.

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