By Francesca Frankis, Music Editor
IDLES returned to their hometown to put on a show to remember at the Bristol Downs Festival, Francesca Frankis reviews.
Idles set at the Downs Festival was welcomed in by a wave of people chanting out their name and circling around the crowd. This soon turned into a whole sea of shouts as the band appeared from the sidelines. Frontman Joe Talbot's performance didn’t disappoint expectations with his powerful and politically charged delivery. Kicking off with ‘Heel/Heal’ the first track from their 2018 album, Brutalism, Talbot stomped around the stage as he spat out the lyrics. The set was punctuated by Talbot’s conversational tone with the audience, which included before each track explaining that the next song was ‘an anti fascist song’, and every time he did the crowd got a bit more riled up. ‘Never Fight a Man with a Perm’, one of the bands’s most celebrated songs sent those watching into some sort of frenzy. People were enamoured by Talbot’s ferocious recital, and sung along to the noisy chorus, 'Concrete to leather'. Idles pushed through the set as the crowd were chaotically clambering over one another to catch a better glimpse of their heroes.
The crowd continued to chant as they sang along to ‘Mother’, people all around screamed out ‘The best way to scare a tory is to read and get rich’. Talbot looked out with a sense of pride as the crowd focused in on him, in awe. ’Danny Nedelko’ saw the band in their best form as a track that is the archetypal example of a song that is made to be played live. Around this point, a constant wave of crowd-surfers would sweep past the front of the stage on a loop, joined by lead guitarist Mark Bowen, who was sporting the signature look of wearing just his underpants. Idles set was brought to a formidable close with a rendition of ‘Rottweiler’, the final song off their recent sophomore album Joy is An Act of Resistance.
Idles performance at the Downs festival was on offering to their hometown and origins, whilst upholding the important political messages in their music. Talbot’s execution was nothing short of spectacular and the band found perfect balance between being confident in a place they know but not coming off as arrogant.