IDLES and Fontaines D.C. lit up Brooklyn Steel (review, pics, setlist)
2018 was an incredibly successful year for IDLES, thanks to their latest LP Joy As An Act of Resistance, an album that combined fierce, rebellious energy and incredibly catchy hooks with lyrics that pushed back against many issues that currently plague the post-Trump and Brexit world, including body shaming, toxic masculinity, xenophobia, and others. The band brought these messages of positivity and unity to a sold-out crowd at Brooklyn Steel on Friday (5/10) as part of their North American tour, which was among one of the rowdiest audiences I've seen in a while, although vocalist Joe Talbot made sure to warn the crowd to be respectful near the beginning of their set.
The band kicked things off with a series of tracks off Joy, starting with album opener "Colossus," whose hypnotic intro section was the calm before the eventual storm, as the entire audience converged into a giant mosh pit once the song's pummeling second half began. The crowd loudly chanted the lyrics to other favorites like "I'm Scum" and "Never Fight A Man With A Perm," and during the bridge of "Danny Nedelko," lead guitarist Mark Bowen was held up by the audience's hands as he stood above, with his hair completely drenched in sweat, while boldly (or maybe ironically) sporting American flag-themed shorts, before completely diving into the audience below. Bowen was perhaps the most energetic person onstage throughout the night, often leaping around the stage, and uncontrollably shouting during the band's noisier sections. That's not to say the rest of the band weren't as energetic, however; rhythm guitarist Lee Kiernan also bounced across the stage throughout the show, and wasn't afraid to let his hair fly while headbanging. Joe Talbot was also a commanding presence on the microphone, as he frequently divulged in dangerous mic swings, and staring contests with crowd members in the front row. In line with their messages of self-love and acceptance, Talbot spread these messages through his stage banter, at one point telling the crowd, "Feel free to enjoy the night as you see fit."
Aside from playing tracks from Joy, the band devoted an equal amount of time to songs off their 2017 debut LP Brutalism. Talbot's highly confrontational vocal style was perfect for crowd sing-alongs, especially during the biting "Mother," or the aggressively sinister "Divide and Conquer." The entire night was a continuous blur of shouted voices, sweat, and colliding bodies near where I stood, and the band rarely relented in their energetic attacks, with their use of strobe lights making the show appear even more chaotic. The band brought their reign of chaos to an end with the climactic "Rottweiler," which continued long after most of the band left the stage, as Bowen took over behind the drum kit to finish the track, and bassist Adam Devonshire being the only other person on stage before their set officially ended.
Before IDLES took the stage, the show was opened by their Partisan Records labelmates and likeminded shouty punks Fontaines D.C., who performed several tracks off their recent album Dogrel, which dropped last month. View photos from both sets in the gallery above, and view IDLES' setlist and fan-shot video below.
IDLES and Fontaines D.C.'s tour together continues at Washington D.C.'s Rock and Roll Hotel tonight (5/11), and runs through the end of May.
IDLES will return to NYC in October for a bigger show at Terminal 5 with openers Preoccupations.
Setlist - IDLES @ Brooklyn Steel 5/10/19
Never Fight a Man With a Perm
Divide and Conquer
Faith in the City
photos by Kate Hoos