ACL Live Review: Idles

UK punk rottweilers scream of reform and justice for all

Pure wholesomeness drove punk rock Idles through the intense UV rays hitting the Honda mainstage Sunday afternoon.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Opening with “Heat/Heel” off their 2017 debut LP, the Englishmen wasted no time in sending their ACL audience into a frenzy from pounding beginning to heart-thumping end. While pink-haired frontman Joe Talbot and bassist Adam Devonshire bellowed out lines, guitarist Lee Kiernan made his way into the crowd, inciting the first of myriad mosh pits in their 50-minute performance.

Through the initial five songs, dentist turned guitarist Mark Bowen strutted confidently across the stage, even attempting to accomplish his bandmate’s actions of joining their fandom. His too-short guitar cord had different ideas. Eventually, the determined axe wielder untangled a decently long guitar cable and he made his way to the barricade once more.

Audience participation controlled the vibe, but it never roiled too insane that it stopped the show.

“I didn’t even need to go in there,” remarked a security guard leaving the pit when Kiernan once again joined in the heart of the action. “They’re so respectful.”

The last half of the set gutted out “1049 Gotho” and “Divide and Conquer.” The Brits left no social issue untouched, hitting every subject from health care to immigration, with “I love you’s” sprinkled in between. If anyone disagreed with their near-socialist views, it wasn’t obvious, since every song announced continued to be met with rabid cheers. For a punk act, the Europeans proved refreshingly positive as they screamed of reform and sticking it to toxic masculinity.

After encouraging those with depression to make their voice heard with “Samaritans” and before the UK quintet closed out with the heavy-as-hell “Rottweiler,” Talbot delivered one last reminder to his energetic flock and new converts alike:

“Long live the open-minded – and look after each other.”

Set list

“Never Fight a Man With a Perm”
“I’m Scum”
“Love Song”
“1049 Gotho”
“Divide and Conquer”
“Danny Nedelko”


Sunday, Oct. 6, 2:00pm, Honda stage

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Idles, ACL Fest 2019, Joe Talbot, Adam Devonshire, Lee Kiernan, Mark Bowen

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