1865, Southampton

People ask “what is good music?” Good music makes you feel. Surrounded by the power of Idles; their humour, social justice, the rage, the press of the punters crammed into the 1865, you feel everything.

This gig is in support of Vinilo Records and the “Ultra Mono” album; it was arranged in September 2020, delayed multiple times and now unleashed on 700 very, very lucky people. Last weekend Idles played a hometown show to 10,000 on The Downs in Bristol; Thursday it’s 700 in this tight, thriving venue. This is very unlikely to happen again.

We wait; no support, no intros; a test that the drums are still sounding truly tribal, we wait; then we cheer as one, Idles…! I’ve waited so long to see this band and now I’ve seen them twice in 5 days. The opening song “Colossus” foretells what is to come, a grinding powerful number that whips an already expectant and excited crowd even further up, up, up. We can feel it coming. Joe splits the room down the middle for Grounds; space is made, one side checks out the other and then – crash, the wave of joy as an act of resistance as the two sides meet and the room is turned into one giant mosh pit. There are a few cameras out which is so refreshing; you don’t take a camera into this place, you experience it first hand through your whole body.

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An Idles crowd is more than a group of gig-goers – the AF Gang has over 30,000 followers and it is a family; a support network, a community, one that champions equality, fairness, rage against the system, activism against injustice, love, and respect. You can’t help yourself but be in awe of the power of what they are playing, how they are playing it, and how they engage the Gang in the room. Stories are told and shared before the gig of loss, love, mental health, and success. The drama is extended into the gig, you can feel it. This is a movement, not just a band.

We smash through the set; each song building the wave, building the mosh, Mr Motivator is followed by Anxiety and 1049 Gotho. “Samaritans” reaches into our souls and jumps out as Divide and Conquer sweeps the room. Circles are formed in the pit; the Gang wait, then crash together emblazoned with sweaty smiles. In the 1865 there is nowhere for the wave to go, it bounces around the room and comes back like a rage ricochet.

On and on we go, deeper into the rabbit hole. War and Reigns. Joe tells us about how we’ve kept them going? Well yeah, they have kept going through this pandemic; Ultra Mono was released just as it all started and has helped many, many people push on. No, Joe, you’ve kept us going!

Danny Nedelko rips the roof off the place, a heaving mass of smiles and limbs; dads keeping their daughter’s safe in the cacophony at the front, young and old mixing it up in the mosh. Everyone here buys into the fairness and equality that Idles preach to us.


Then there’s the surreal medley; nearly cabaret piece coming up halfway through Love Song, Mark Bowen (guitar) takes us through a gnarly rendition of loving feeling whilst being held aloft by the crowd as Lee Kiernan (guitar) disappears on a crowd surf towards the back of the room as far as his guitar lead will take him. As Mark is heckled by Joe that this love song isn’t really cutting it, Lee reappears on the balcony. This is one of those moments that define what being part of this AF Gang is about Joe and the crowd bay for Lee to jump. He lowers his guitar gently down. “Backwards, Lee, backwards, they’ll catch you”. Lee leans out and falls into the crowd who press forward to make sure their hero is caught, he’s safe and we all cheer. We look after each other.

We’re in the last strokes now; we know it, we’re told Idles don’t do encores; they just play hard and strong to the end, then stop. We thrash around to NFAMWAP and then Danke plays out to a baying crowd. A community fulfilled, one that has witnessed something that will probably never happen again. Idles in the 1865, all 700 and 5 of us. Wow, just wow.

Set List
Mr. Motivator
1049 Gotho
Divide and Conquer
Danny Nedelko
Love Song
(With vocal snips of; All You Need Is Love, My Heart Will Go On, Believe & All I Want For Xmas Is You)
Never Fight a Man With a Perm

Idles are
Joe Talbot (Vocals)
Adam Devonshire (Bass)
Mark Bowen (Guitars)
Lee Kiernan (Guitars)
Jon Beavis (Drums)



Article written by Ski Daddle
Videos courtsey of Hayzer’s Gigs & Chris Orr
Pictures courtesy of Mark Watts