Date: Thursday 5th December 2019
Venue: O2 Academy, Leeds
Supports: The 45s, METZ
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As arguably one of the most exciting and intense band on the rock scene currently, it was no surprise that tonight’s Idles show at the O2 Academy in Leeds had sold out within the first hour of being on sale. Bringing two very different and interesting support bands along in The 45’s and Metz guaranteed that everyone in attendance was going to get a taste of something new this evening.
Opening up tonight were The 45’s, and as they took to the stage with their punk version of ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine’ it was very much the surprise of the night. It turned out that the band delivered versions of early rock and roll track but covered in their unique punk style. It has to be said that these covers were really well done with songs having a different feel to the originals while still keeping a similar. My top highlights from the set came in the form of ‘Tutti Frutti’ and ‘Hound Dog’ which both sounded fantastic and got the singalongs started early from the crowd. It was nice to see that as the set went on the crowd grew massively as it meant that so many more people got to experience the fun of the opening set. Not to be outdone by anything previous in their set The 45s ended with a version of Lulu’s ‘Shout’ and as an extra bonus for the crowd, they brought out Idles’ bassist Dev to help with the backing vocals (Even despite him losing his voice recently). Not only did this make for a great finisher but it was also great to see the headline artists supporting their support bands. A very fun and unexpected opening for the evening and with maximum crowd involvement form the start even including the crowd crouching and jumping showed that tonight crowd were ready for a party and that things would be wild this evening.
Next to take to the stage were Canadian noise punks Metz. Having caught these guys at Leeds Festival in 2018 whilst walking around between other artists they piqued my interest enough to venture into the tent and check them out. After that brief glimpse of what the band were capable of, it was good to finally catch them again and get the full Metz experience. Changing up the style of the evening by bringing some incredible technicality to the night, weaving riffs and baselines over some incredible drum fills worked incredibly to excite the now huge crowd. They also worked to give an idea of the heavier sounds that Idles still had to come. ‘Spit You Out’ was one highlight with the crowd banging their heads along with the heavy guitars as the band threw themselves around the stage to match the energy in the room. Another deserved mention goes to ‘Eraser’ which was nothing short of a mind blower with the track rising and falling throughout with a huge extended build up and release at the end to really give it a kick. As well as the band being active and moving around the stage, the accompanying light show on stage really added to effect keeping in time perfectly with the music and following each instrument and artist individually. Final song ‘Acetate’ really showed off how impressive the mix was tonight with the crunching bass tone at its best throughout. As the song came to an end and the stage fading to black, everyone was left stood in awe. Metz were certainly an amazing support band to prepare everyone for the chaos about to unfold with Idles but managed to keep themselves memorable at the same time and I’d highly recommend them to people who are interested in the more “out-there” bands and music.
As the crowd finished piling in to the venue and filling it to its capacity it was time for tonight’s headliners Idles to take to the stage. Selling out the O2 Academy was a very impressive feat and even more so given that they were playing over in Manchester the day before. It really went to show just what a draw this band have and how much they are rising through the rock scene with their very positive yet abrasive style. Opening up the show tonight was the heavy building ‘Colossus’. As the first track I heard from this band, it was great to start the night off in such a way. With chaos from the start and the crowd constantly moving it was a definite sign of things to come. Band were on form with no-one standing still and throwing themselves all over the place. In true Idles fashion they somehow managed to play to perfection despite the constant chaos. Standout moments came throughout their set with the band exclaiming that they were what 5 feminists playing feminist sings looked like to huge applause before launching into older track ‘Mother’. Another moment came much later in the set as the band extended ‘Love Song’ to include a medley of other actual love songs while both guitarists took to the crowd with instruments to really get involved with them. This was then followed up with the anthemic ‘1049 Gotho’ which full disclaimer is my favourite track from ‘Brutalism’. As it turns out this is quite a common things as the entire crowd surged forward and the mosh grew in the middle of the floor. After a moving rendition of ‘Benzocaine’ in which vocalist Joe Talbot thanked the rest of the band for sticking with him throughout his darkest times it was time for the band to end things with a bang. Having no encore there were just two opportunities for the crowd to get involved and as the penultimate track ‘Danny Nedelko’ rang in, the crowd went suitably wild. With the chorus generating massive singalongs from the crowd it was clear that this fantastically positive song on immigration really was one of a kind and even drew love from the poppier fans that the band had. As the band and audience shouted “Don’t read The Sun, it’ll give you cancer” it was time for tonight’s final foray and what better way to end it than with the hugely chaotic ‘Rottweiler’ as the band came to the end of the song it was great to see both of tonight’s support bands take back to the stage to help end the set with one big bang!
As the chaos eventually ended and everyone left the stage it was clear that what we had witnessed here was not just an incredible performance but a performance from a band that will take their messages and genuinely have an impact on their fans. With song topics ranging from Immigration to Toxic Masculinity and Modern Beauty standards the band really do cover a whole variety of topics that not a lot of others would cope and by bringing this discussion to the forefront it can really help people engage with the content and feel that if it affects them that they are not alone. For anyone not familiar with Idles yet I would seriously recommend checking them out as their movement is far from finished growing yet. To quote Joe I don’t love Idles, but I do very much love the idea of them!”