I Went to See Idles and Here’s Why You Should Too 

The Bristol-based 2023 Grammy nominee band Idles met their fans in Istanbul, Turkey, for the first time as a part of their 2024 Europe tour. In the brief timeframe I looked into their live performance, I stumbled upon Zorlu Turkcell’s stage, the venue in question, hinting to the concert-goers that it might be unlike the usual concert decorum.

At first, I was a little reluctant about whether I would fit into the energetic audience. But who would say no to a concert? The venue states ‘what truly separates them from other rock groups is their live performance.’ at their website. After attending the event, I can assure you that they were right. 

Unleashing the Raw Energy: Idles Electrify Istanbul in Their 2024 Europe Tour

The dramatic build-up of the opening number Colossus already made me anticipate what was to come, and then- the crowd went wild. (Listen to the live recording of Colossus in Le Bataclan) After the guitarist Lee Kiernan crowd surfed in only the first 10 minutes of the concert, the crowd immediately matched the energy. It was a thrilling sight to see. People were throwing and pushing themselves around, dancing like there was enough room.

Shoes lost their way to the stage, and then the lead singer Joe Talbot dedicated the waltz soul tune ‘The Beachland Ballroom’ to those lost pairs of shoes. I started singing and dancing with people I would never see again. It felt like a violent hug. You feel one with anger, vulnerability, acceptance, assurance, trust, and the sheer joy of being alive. 

The emotionally charged concerts of Idles are a transactional event, rather than a singer soaking up the spotlight on the stage while you marvel at their existence. You can feel Idles integrating themselves into the crowd. In an interview with the Turkish online journalism platform Aposto, Joe Talbot addresses their sincerity: ‘I am not a musician on the stage, I am merely a person. The one thing that separates me from you on the stage is that I try to sing as best as possible there. If you give your all to the audience, they reciprocate in return. This is why it’s so important for us to be on stage and tour.’

Beyond Music: Idles’ Cathartic Concert Experience Transcends Traditional Performances

The Guardian accurately depicts the atmosphere: ‘This combination of violence and compassion is Idles in a nutshell: go wild, be kind. Their shows feel like being punched and hugged at the same time.’ Punching you with the facts of ordinary life and simultaneously saying, ‘I hear you, I understand you’. You feel that vulnerability as much as everyone else. And you release all the emotions and feelings that you’ve held inside. Catharsis would be the right word to describe this experience. 

The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich 

Mother, IDLES 

Where does this sense of humour, anger, vulnerability and energy come from? Their lyrics range from personal stories of grief (the album Brutalism is dedicated to the loss of Talbot’s mother, while other songs are dedicated to the loss of his child) to anthems that electrify the crowd. Idles often vocalise their anger and frustration towards the tories, and accentuate issues such as class divisions, discrimination and toxic masculinity.

Regarding their critical stance over the British government, Talbot declares: I’m lucky. I don’t go to jail because of my art. But I know many must endure this, and some must stay silent.  The Quietus writes: ‘Idles are fixated on the championing of the ugly, the normal, and the uncelebrated.’ 

My blood brother’s Freddie Mercury

A Nigerian mother of three

He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood

He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love

He’s made of you, he’s made of me

Danny Nedelko, IDLES  

The band often expressed their gratitude for being able to perform in Istanbul, Turkey, and acknowledged the Turkish Immigrants living in the UK. 

If you’re looking for a cathartic experience, then I’d say you should not miss when Idles is near your vicinity. 

Idles’ new Album TANGK was out this past February 16, 2024. 

Cover photo by Tom Ham, Crack Magazine.