IDLES @ Think Tank? Newcastle 22 March 2017

On a night when the best mode of transport to the venue would have been Noah’s arch, IDLES delivered post-punk salvation.

The self-confessed angry rockers might have fire in their hearts but they’ve got mischief in their eyes and filled the hour long set with their brand of infectious childishness.

Vocalist Joe Talbot is like chalk and cheese, when he spits his lines there is an intensity in his eyes that’s written across his whole body but he immediately softens when he interacts with the crowd – which included handing out swigs of Buckfast and the odd tinny.


He’s flanked by the ever joyous and superbly moustachioed and Mark Bowen on the lead guitar who is the perfect foil to Talbot and often leaves him chuckling away or bent over with mock exasperation.

The excellent 10/10 RUSHONROCK rated Brutalism is an emotionally charged album and the performance was no different, especially on Mother, which is a tribute to Talbot’s mother. It’s clear that this is a band who are incredibly close and drummer Jon Beavis leads the crowd in raising a glass to the women who means so much to his frontman.

IDLES Newcastle gig 2

Despite the playful nature of the show, there is a steely professionalism and a desire to entertain behind the antics and the rounds of chanting ‘toon, too’ lead by bassist Adam Devonshire and encouraged by Beavis – much to the faux annoyance of football hating Talbot.

Nevertheless Well Done, Stendhal Syndrome (or Arty McArtface as Bowen introduced it) 1049 Gotho and Divide & Conquer were all delivered with pin sharp accuracy and the rage that makes them so good to listen to on the album.

Think Tank? is the perfect venue for bands like IDLES who thrive off the visceral energy that places like that create. They’re definitely headed on for bigger things but the best place to see them is in these smaller venues. Go see them now, while you can.