IDLES: Manchester Academy. 4th December 2019.


I apologise in advance for potentially how erratic and lengthy this will be. Last night’s show went beyond meaning the world to me, and although I may not be able to eloquently put into words what the show meant to me, I know that there is an incredible group of people who fully understand. That group of people are the AF Gang. Thank you.

Prior to the show last night Joe, Lee and Bobo walked past me. I stupidly (or sensibly) used my self-control to not go up to them and spurt out words of love and ask for a photo. I think part of me couldn’t believe it. Not that these real people walked past me, but because I was a couple of hours away from seeing them on stage. It hadn’t sunk in yet; the tickets were last minute (and I owe it to two complete strangers who have hearts of gold.)

Sadly, I didn’t make all the 45s set but what I could hear was truly wonderful and it sounded so energetic. But I did catch all METZ’s set. I think anyone who knows me, knows I love two bands a hell of a lot- METZ and IDLES. I saw METZ earlier this year when they played the Pink Room at YES (USA Nails supported, and again this was a dream line up.) I was blown away and I was left struggling to hear the day after. It was incredible. Second time around in a much bigger venue- they sounded the same. Full of this beautiful rowdiness that just makes you want to pick up a guitar and make a lot of noise. They are one of the best live bands around, and to see everyone else react the same was a beautiful thing too. Songs like Get Off and Acetate were sheer madness, and of course just made me fall in love with them all over again. If you ever get to see them, GO. In any capacity, just go. They’ll shake your bones and shatter your skull in the best way possible.

The main event. The bit where my heart beats faster in a good way, not from having a panic attack. The part where my life probably changes. Where it all kicks in.

IDLES take to the stage and open with Colossus. If you ever want to see a bunch of passionate, beautiful people rush to the front upon hearing the opening chords to an anthem- go to an IDLES show. This was the first time in a very long time where I was in the midst of the crowd. I normally stay back or near the side. I don’t do big venues usually. But I can safely say that I felt so fucking safe at this show. IDLES played 18 songs, and I’m pretty sure we would have begged them to stay longer and play them all again. They are a band that just make me feel so fucking happy and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. They are a band that say the things I probably can’t, and just voice out my worries and emotions better than I ever could. They are my outlet and my safety net. I have never sung (well, shouted) like this at a show before. This morning my body hurts and my throat hurts in the best way possible. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every single song is a highlight (we got QUEENS for fucks sake!!!) and I wanted to stay in the moment forever. Is this how someone feels when they see their child for the first time? I think this is probably better. From the crowd chanting IDLES prior to them coming on stage, from Bobo ending up in the crowd to Joe ending up with someone’s shoe on stage- this was truly the best gig I’ve ever, ever been to. Sorry Nick Cave, I think you’ve bene overtaken! The crowd chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the mass sing along of Wonderwall and All I Want For Christmas Is You. It was the most loving and precious atmosphere; I just wanted to be immersed in it forever.

This was my first IDLES show and it won’t be my last. There is something about seeing them for the first time that just gives you that kick up the arse that you need. Everything that this band and us fans stand for is something to treasure and to pass on. There were kids at the gigs with their parents, and if it was their first ever gig then everything else in life has a lot to live up to! I loved that during Rottweiler birthday girl, Catherine got on stage to play guitar with them. To see a fellow AF Ganger up on stage with the band and just ripping the stage apart was beautiful. That’s how you do a birthday and close a show.

Slow Savage broke my heart. This was the only moment I cried during the show. There is something about the way Joe shouts, “I’m the worst lover that you’ll ever have” that rips you apart. It’s the sheer openness and vulnerability in their songs that lures you in and wraps itself around your heart. This song is a prime example of it. But there is something else about their shows that will wrap itself around your heart- the strong feeling of unity.

Danny Nedelko is sang like a football chant on the terraces. This song means a hell of a lot to me and so many. It’s a perfect example of what makes this country great- the people who come here to better themselves. Our beautiful immigrants. We love you and you are welcome here. Always.

I feel I am missing key moments from the show, but I’ve had 5 hours sleep and a bit of a migraine brewing. I don’t care. I have never felt so alive as I did last night. The atmosphere was safe and full of love- just how it should be. We got Queens for fucks sake! I’m still delirious over that; incredible. Last night changed something in me. I’m not entirely sure what just yet, but something will emerge I’m sure. It has to. Since losing my Gran 3 months ago, I’ve not had hold of any emotion I have; everything has been a downward spiral in my head but last night I had a glimmer of stability. I have to go with that.

There is also nothing more satisfying and therapeutic than screaming along to their song Mother, and yelling “MOTHER! FUCKER!” with a few thousand people. Nothing can beat that.

Keep fucking going, and love yourself. LOVE.YOURSELF.

IDLES: Joy As An Act Of Resistance.


“If someone talked to you
The way you do to you
I’d put their teeth through
Love yourself.”


A band like Idles don’t need me or anyone really, to tell you how amazing they are. What you need to know about them is that they are the most important band in this country. If you’re looking for a band that will unleash all your rage, if you’re looking for a band that’ll expose what makes us all vulnerable- then you NEED Idles. You just need them. It’s all well and good to love a band, but when you get to the point of needing them- don’t ever let that go. Don’t be afraid of it either.

Joy As An Act Of Resistance came out on Friday, but I wanted to listen to the record a few times before I declared my love for it. I wanted to process everything about this record before I delved into this absolutely beautiful, brutal and powerful record. It’s a record everyone needs to hear and pay attention to. The lyrics need to be heard at all costs.

Idles are a band that are incapable of making songs that aren’t important or that do not need to be heard with urgency. Joy is a record that exudes everything I want from a record. You can call it Punk, you can lob this into any genre you want but first and foremost- call it honest. Every song oozes this truth that may make a listener squirm at time but the most part, you’ll see yourself in these beautifully honest songs. Take the song, June for instance. I can’t relate to it, but my god I can pick up on the pain there. That pain hits you right in the heart and just breaks you. The way Joe uses his words on this song are just…I honestly don’t feel like I have the right to touch on this song. All I can do is just admire his fragility in this song and the way he lays out his experience. I’m utterly proud of him, and the band.

There are so many important songs on this record. They all are, but we all know just how vital the song Danny Nedelko is (Danny is the lead singer of Heavy Lungs) which touches on immigration. The chants and the heavy guitar on this song just blow my mind- and I can’t get enough of how brilliant Joe is as a songwriter. He’s obviously one of the greatest frontmen of our generation. He is someone to just be in awe of with his words. I could easily write an essay on brilliant a writer he is. Maybe that’ll happen at some point.

Love Song is probably my favourite. I love the devotion in the lyrics, and how the band make it sound quite sinister. I guess if someone didn’t really know the band, they’d think they were a bunch of stalkers. But really, it’s just an excellent ode to the one you love. I love the way Joe sings, “Look at the card I bought. It says “I love you.” It’s definitely the way Joe sings this line that adds a proper comical value to it.

Before I wrap this up, I need to talk about Samaritans. The song reflects on how the notion of masculinity has become quite toxic. For far too long, men have been programmed to not cry or talk about their feelings. But what’s one of the biggest killers of men? Suicide. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. We cannot keep turning people away who need help- gender should not matter in this. We should all feel like we can talk about what is hurting us. The lyrics may be simple, but this is what makes them hit home. They don’t need to create something over the top to make a point. They do it in their way, and their way makes you bloody well listen. Cry To Me is a song that you need to play almost immediately after. Just read the lyrics, and you’ll understand why. It’s one of the best covers I’ve ever heard.

Joy is a masterpiece. It is a body of work that has songs that just need to be heard. I’m toying constantly with what song I love the most, and I should stop- I know. But I can definitely tell you that Television hits home a lot. My level of self-confidence and self belief is laughable, but this songs makes me feel alright. Just a little, and you know.. I can’t ask for more than that.

We spend far too much time pulling each other apart, this record is a form of reassurance that we aren’t alone. It’s a record that is just so vital. Play it to kids in school so they understand it’s okay to not always be okay. Play it in the workplace to use as a method to encourage people to talk. Play it to your loved ones so neither of you feel alone again. I could tell you to play it loud- but the most important thing to do, is to just listen.

I’m aware that this could have been written better or I could have touched on other things within the record, but that’s probably for others to do who do not have such a personal attachment. It’s a phenomenal record that everyone must hear. Not just because of how brilliant it is, but because of everything it represents.