Review: IDLES @ Forum, Melbourne, October 31st, 2022
Last night wasn’t just the spookiest night of the year, but the day that legendary punk rock band IDLES returned to the Forum.
Like many performers, IDLES haven’t hit a Melbourne stage since 2019 and the anticipation for the evening was visible in every direction. Nearly unable to move, Forum was a sea of black jackets, denim jeans and big grins.
The stage layout was reasonably simple and practical with a series of amps and instruments being the extent of it, accompanied by IDLES in big lettering as the backdrop. But it’s all they need. Anyone who has seen IDLES perform would know that as performers they are an experience to watch and could be equally captivating if you couldn’t hear a thing.
After the perfect hype build from Pitch Points, IDLES emerged from side stage in the most outrageous Halloween outfits possible. Lead singer Joe Talbot wore a pink wig, guitarist Mark Bowen in an inflatable rotisserie chicken, guitarist Lee Kiernan in a school girl outfit and drummer Jon Beavis as a shark.
The group must be very passionate about the spooky season as they pushed through the entire evening in these massive outfits. Dedicated to the gag. Respect.
IDLES open subtly, with their fan favourite ‘Colossus.’ It’s a great opener for a gig, starting with a simple baseline and vocals that build and build until it launches into the loud and epic scale that the band are so famous for.
The crowd knows what is coming, they’ve been waiting for it since 2019. The band is prepared for it as well. They split the middle of the audience leaving a big open area. “Look after each other!” orders Talbot as the swarm of bodies converge in the middle.
Check out ‘Colossus’
“Melbourne, it’s been a fucking while,” says Talbot. “It’s an honour to be back in your beautiful fucking town.”
Like every big name that has come through Melbourne this year, there is this understanding from audience and band members alike that these experiences aren’t to be taken for granted.
“We went through a lot of horrible shit… But we knew we would be coming back to touring. Coming back to your country… And the reason we felt safe and secure was because of every fucking one of you.”
Then, it was back to our regularly scheduled program. Launching into ‘War,’ the crowd was met with a storm of sporadic and highly energetic flashes of light, as they chanted the iconic lyrics back at the band.
Check out ‘War’
If the members of IDLES were never to come together, they all would have been dancers. Kiernan takes first place, as I’m not even sure he stopped moving for the entirety of the evening. Their energy is undeniably one of the band’s most admirable qualities and has a drastic effect on the outcome of the evening.
Every number was accompanied by another crowd surfer, cups being thrown through the air and a mosh that slowly moved from left to right. Not that I’m promoting littering, but it did help create the rowdy atmosphere IDLES thrives in.
Check out ‘Beachland Ballroom’
All the fans knew, they were now in the IDLES highlight reel section of the evening.
A band staple and personal favourite of mine, ‘Beachland Ballroom’ allowed the audience to catch their breath and sway through the unreal intro. The piece is quite the contrast from the rest of their numbers, but still manages to have all the passion and angst that come through in their best tracks.
Check out ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’
Here, the Bristol band indulge the audience’s urge to get unapologetically rowdy. If you have a soft spot for the monarchy, I would suggest skipping the next paragraph.
“Things are looking up now that Boris has fucked off,” says Talbot. “The Queen died… Fuck the King! And his pedophile brother… They’re all c*nts.”
As Talbot cries out the riotous lyrics of ‘I’m Scum’, the audience is instructed to get on the crowd and repetitively scream “fuck the king!” Political alignments aside, IDLES has a way of creating a sense of unity and pride with their fight the power type tracks.
Check out ‘I’m Scum’
And just like that, Bowen’s chicken suit had deflated. If anyone didn’t realise the evening was at its end, they did now.
“Leave us a review on Tripadvisor,” jokes Talbot as they leave the stage.
However, the energy remained right out the door. Even as I sat on my train ride home, I could hear their music playing as a couple rewatched their recordings in the seat opposite.
If you were unfamiliar with the music of the group, you still would’ve enjoyed the evening. Their energy and movement is infectious and it is impossible to not end up moving as well. Had I not been taking notes, I would’ve been in the mosh with the rest of the fans.
Though the brashness may be overwhelming for some, I would argue there is a flare and showmanship to them that sets IDLES apart from other rockers.
IDLES has another show at Forum this evening, November 1st. So if you’re wanting an epic time, go along!
IDLES @ Forum, Melbourne Australia
‘Divide and Conquer’
‘When The Lights Come On’
‘The Beachland Ballroom’
‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’
‘The IDLES Chant’
IDLES – AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Tuesday, November 1st
Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday, November 2nd
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday, November 3rd
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday, November 5th
The Gov, Adeliade, SA
Sunday, November 6th
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday, November 8th
Astor Theatre, Perth, WA