IDLES. Project House, Leeds. 22.02.2024.

Announced just two days before the event this outstore album launch event for IDLES latest long player ‘TANGK’ sold out so quickly that they decided to do two shows just a couple of hours apart.  Project House, a former tile warehouse, has a capacity of just 1000. Having now reached the stage of headlining some big festivals and a sell out Autumn tour at the end of the year in venues much bigger than this it’s unlikely fans will ever get to see a band of this stature in such a small place again.

With time limited IDLES walk on stage at bang on 6.30 and the LED digital countdown from 60:00 begins. With just an hour this was always going to be intense and those 60 minutes saw a band deliver a searing set showcasing new material as well as dips into their back catalogue.

Naturally the focus was on TANGK, an album that has seen the band show off a softer, more accessible side. Opening with ‘IDEA 01’, it’s a subdued, beautifully melancholic start. ‘Gift Horse’ amps up the crowd, perfect dance beats exploding into it’s riotous punk chorus and it’s closing chant of “Fuck The King”. Eight of the sets thirteen songs are from TANGK. ‘Pop Pop Pop’ is all psychedelic, dreamy soundscapes, ‘Roy’ is slow, dark, menacing and the perfect prelude to the explosive ‘Hall & Oates’ and the pummelling beat of ‘Gratitude’ that sees the pit explode with bodies bouncing around, fists aloft. These new songs slot brilliantly into what IDLES do tonight, creating that atmosphere where you never quite know what to expect, that sense of being permanently on edge. Will it be a time for thought, introspection or will it be time to release every ounce of pent up frustration and anger.

There’s time for the old favourites and a thrashing moshpit. ‘Car Crash’ drills deep into your very being, ‘Mr Motivator’ holds the entire place in a vice like grip of power. ‘Mother’, a slicing, furious, anti-Tory rallying call and ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ see the whole place leaping about, drinks flying .

Live IDLES don’t disappoint. Joe Talbot makes clear his love of Yorkshire and Leeds, bedecked in a t-shirt stating “Don’t Mess With Yorkshire”,  strolls around the stage full of menace, growling lyrics packed with venom. Guitarists Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen hurl themselves around, hair and facial expressions all over the place. It’s all held together by the driving beats of Jon Beavis on drums and the throbbing bass of Adam Devonshire.

Well known for their views on British politics it’s not until the hour is almost up that we see it tonight. “This is a protest song dedicated to those in parliament…. All those c**ts who voted against the ceasefire today” introduces ‘Rottweiler’ and for the final five minutes of a glorious hour it’s as though nothing else matters. Sweat drips, voices shout back from the writhing mass as Talbot joins Beavis on drums to hammer out an incredible rolling beat that seems to last forever. 

The countdown hits 00:00, just sixty minutes, but an hour that shows a band absolutely at the top of their game and why they’ve reached the heights they have.

Photos & words: Steve White


Steve White

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