On September 20, I found myself outside Brighton Music Hall for the first time in my six or so years of living in Boston, in line to see Idles, a punk band from Bristol, England that was in the midst of a tour for its sophomore album, Joy is an Act of Resistance.
When a band releases a second album, there is a high level of anxiety that it will suffer by comparison to a successful debut album and the band will fade into obscurity (and join the ranks of other one-hit wonders). This is not the case for Idles; the new album has already received high ratings from critics that are claiming the album as a fresh take on the punk genre. The album delivers social commentary on the toxicity of the punk scene as well as the right wing’s take on immigrants.
When the band started playing their set, its singer, Joe Talbot, slowly paced the stage staring down the crowd like a shark circling chum. The steady heartbeat of rim taps coming from the drummer, Jon Beavis, was the kindling to feed the fire that was yet to come. The lead guitarist, Mark Bowen, stripped down to his underwear and began strutting while delivering riff after riff. There was a sense of camaraderie and happiness among the members of the band, which was striving to deconstruct the old ideals of the punk scene. The idea was to replace the band’s anger with joy and openness towards everyone and not just focus on abusive governments and bigots.
As the set continued the crowd went into a frenzy and the band returned that energy with the singer jogging in place. At the end of the show the singer walked off the stage as the band kept performing, which degenerated into a Mexican standoff of feedback and noise between the drums, bass and guitars. If you want to know more about Idles visit their website, idlesband.com.