GIG REVIEW: Idles at Portsmouth Guildhall

WHEN?: 12 September 2021

By Carron Stacey, A Humdrum Mum

Reminiscent of my ex-goth’s conundrum of what to wear to a Cult gig when you’re the wrong side of 40, Mr H was in a quandary as to whether to buy a merch t-shirt. Attired in the überfan Steve Lamacq’s Going Deaf for a Living shirt (Lammo famously championed Idles), Mr H decided to wear the new Idles t-shirt on top. Job done.

  • Read on for reasons including whether A Humdrum Mum rubbed shoulders with the band in their Exeter youth

Mr H is more of a fan than I am, though I do enjoy their songs. I am more excited that I’ve just found out their singer, Joe Talbot, and bassist, Adam Devonshire, met at sixth form in Exeter. I really want to find out if they ever frequented the same clubs at the same time as Mr H, myself and my editor, Mr Monstagigz himself – if you’re reading guys, did you go to the Lemmy or Timepiece? You must have…

Opening with Collosus from the Bristol ensemble’s third album, Talbot’s Jim Morrison-esque delivery reminds us why this album was shortlisted for the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize. The stage was set for an absolute belter of a gig. But not in the way I expected.

It would be easy to dismiss this so-called post-punk group’s lyrics as virtue-signalling or even left-wing box-ticking (white privilege, mental health, toxic masculinity, immigration, Tories), but what you actually feel when in the audience at one of their gigs is a feeling of inclusivity. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in the audience was lovely. I don’t think I could say that about another gig that I’ve been to, except my first experience of an Adam and the Ants gig, maybe seven years ago, with all of the old Southsea punk nobility (pun intended). 

Talbot tells us to have gratitude for that which we actually have and to be thankful that patience grew out of lockdown (I’m paraphrasing – I was too mesmerised to take proper notes!). I exited feeling uplifted (that might have been something to do with this being our first standing gig apart from a festival since pre-COVID times though). 

I said before this was not the gig I expected. A crowd-surfing guitarist, shameless renditions of All I Want For Christmas Is You, Wonderwall and Nothing Compares 2 U sandwiched into the group’s performance of Love Song and a science lesson on the fatal mixing of beer and electricity – I could go on. Aurally, it was an onslaught. For my wellbeing, however, it was a tonic. Well, actually, the gin and the tonic.

If you’re a fan and haven’t seen them live, or you’re merely aware of them, you have to see them. You know you’ve seen something special.

  • Picture by Naomi Dryden-Smith via Facebook courtesy Idles Tickets
  • Read more from Carron at her blog A Humdrum Mum.
  • Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed these interviews ? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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