IDLES perform a wildly frenetic and unforgettable show in Orlando

Live Review - Orlando, FL

Joe Talbot of IDLES. Photo by Chyrisse

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Review: IDLES ‘Love Is a Fing’ Tour w/Ekko Astral – House of Blues, Orlando, Florida – June 11, 2024

Joe Talbot of IDLES. Photo by Chyrisse

Rock At Night has followed IDLES since we first heard “Model Village” in 2020.  Although the band formed in 2010 they didn’t hit the American scene until SXSW 2017.  As always, America is late on the bandwagon regarding hot British bands. IDLES have been touring in the North but have never visited the South until June 11th, when the band brought their Love is a Fing Tour to Orlando, Florida. For those of you who don’t know, the word “fing” is a play on the word “thing” since many Brits have trouble pronouncing the ‘th’ digraph. It’s the same reason Keith Richards’ nickname is “Keef.”

I have been listening to their latest album TANGK for weeks to get into IDLES mode. I really can’t get enough of it. Friends have been asking me, “What kind of music do they play?” One cannot pinpoint the genre since their music defies labeling. Some may call it “punk,” but it is not. Others may say the music is art rock or post-hardcore. Possibly, the best description I can conjecture is “angry spoken word with aggressive guitars, synths, heavy bass slapping, and socio-political themes.”

Ekko Astral. Photo by Chyrisse.

On the evening of June 11th, in Disney territory, the queue going into the House of Blues zig-zagged and appeared endless. People were pushing forward inside the venue, which seemed too small to hold an event like this. The sold-out concert was, indeed, popular, and the band could have easily held a two-night event.

When Rock At Night arrived, the support band was already in full force. Washington DC-based punk band Ekko Astral  was performing “Baethoven.” Dressed in a tichel and long dress, lead singer Jael Holzman noted the band’s song “Holocaust Remembrance Day” is available through Bandcamp. All the proceeds will be donated to “families fleeing an onslaught of Israeli military violence.”

Kid crowd surfing at IDLES. Photo by Chyrisse.

The stage was filled with thick smoke, and red lights shone as each IDLES musician took their position. Lead singer Joe Talbot jogged in place as if preparing to enter a boxing ring. The band began the concert with a mellow song, “IDEA 01,” before taking up a notch with “Colossus” and then the very popular “Gift Horse.” By the third song, the band was heated and in the zone. The audience was animated, dancing, and fist-pumping. Many were mouthing the lyrics to the songs.

Joe Talbot of IDLES. Photo by Chyrisse.

Talbot spoke of his mother working long hours and often sought solace in the liquor bottle. He launched into “Mother,” which features the infectious chorus, “The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich.” Before singing “I’m Scum,” he invited a kid to the stage, who said he was 10 years old. Talbot asked if he would like to crowd surf. A security person lifted him onto the hands of the crowd while Talbot led the chant, “Fuck the King! Fuck the King!” It was a surreal moment as people began circling, dancing, and moshing into a frenzy. Mark Bowen, dressed in a pink frock, moved about the stage frenetically. Lee Kiernan flung his hair wildly in whiplash fashion and jumped off the stage and into the crowd. The punters carried him while he continued playing the guitar, dragging the amp-connected cord behind him. People considerately raised it so as not to get tangled. As far as the other band members, Adam Devonshire (bass) and Jon Beavis (drums) were out of my vantage point.

Mark Bowen of IDLES. Photo by Chyrisse.

There is no way to describe the sheer joy of watching the band and the crowd. Previously, I’ve only seen this kind of spiritedness and crowd reaction at the Hives and Gogol Bordello concerts. You get the picture. Unbridled, vibrant energy that leaves one high. Song highlights included “Gratitude,” “Crawl!” and “Dancer.” It was a work night and unfortunately missed the “All I Want for Christmas Is You” singalong, which has become an IDLES tradition.

If you are lucky enough to have IDLES perform in your hometown, get on the computer and order tickets. You will have the time of your life.  I am already praying to the goddess for their swift return.

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Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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