IDLES at The Fillmore, by William Wayland
IDLES (photo: William Wayland)
Words by Elaine Blakely

I’m front and center, pushing against the barrier protecting myself as waves of bodies collide behind me. Why am I doing this again? At any moment, I can ask the bouncer to pull me out, but I don’t want to­. I want to keep being a part of all of this. I want to give every ounce of my strength because, after all, IDLES are clearly giving every ounce of theirs.

On Thursday, October 10, IDLES headlined the historic Fillmore. IDLES have been touring the world with minimal breaks since 2017, playing numerous festivals like Glastonbury and practically every continent from South America to Asia. From Bristol, England, IDLES began 10 years ago with lead singer, Joe Talbot, and bassist, Adam Devonshire. There are two guitarists, Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, who are practically “one guitar” according to Kiernan — more about that later — and the mighty drummer, Jon Beavis, who keeps it at full throttle for the hour-and-a-half set.

Opening with their hit, "Colossus," and ending with "Rottweiler," IDLES know how to hold, hit, and part the audience like the Red Sea. Talbot commands “Part!” and with a wave of his hand, the audience split in two, creating a center aisle for Bowen to parade around inside the crowd, which was a departure from the guitarist’s usual crowd-surfing, taking turns surfing song to song.

IDLES have a message, and that message has doubled their fan base in a year’s time. Talbot loves to talk between each song championing human rights, immigrants’ rights, self-love, and addiction recovery. Lee Kiernan, one of the guitarists spoke with KEXP this past May, sharing about his seven-year sobriety. Kiernan explains, “You don’t need to be messed up to be creative. Since I’ve become sober, I’ve learned so much more about music, about composition, about frequency usage, and where things belong in relation to each other. The fact that [Mark] Bowen and I are two guitarists in a band — we’re not batting against each other, we’re not enemies — we’re brothers, we are like one guitarist.”

That is why we love IDLES so terribly. They are honest, they promote love, and it’s contagious.

Either I’m a prude or because I don’t know Beyoncé's music very well, I had to look up the meaning of Surfbort, the opening punk band for IDLES. A foursome of three men and one woman (vocalist Dani Miller) from Brooklyn, NY, the more I listen and learn about this band, the more the hits keep coming. Their LP Friendship Music was released on Julian Casablancas’ label Cult Records in 2018 after a famed-dinner between Miller and Casablancas. The band tackles Trump, climate change, and mental health in two-minute ’80s-style punk numbers.

Miller has a screaming, strong voice and with stage presence that compliments IDLES nicely with a jester-like attitude, prancing about and grinning. Another fun fact: Surfbort have a dedicated fan base all over North America, Australia, Europe, and the UK, including the designer of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, who fell in love with Surfbort and asked them to model for his Fall 2019 collection. However you find Surfbort, whether at home in the bath or in the latest fashion mag, they will fill you up with love, friendship, and happy mayhem.

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