Immediately after walking down SWX’s fateful stairs, I knew the gig would be an experience apart from the norm.
Idles had pulled in a bizarre audience to sell out the show, including (but not exclusive to):
> Men who looked like they’d come straight from the office,
> The odd ‘traditional’ punk rock fan will mohawk intact,
> Middle aged women,
> Bunches of giggling teenagers.
As the 9:30 start time edged nearer, the crowd grew more rowdy, although I’m not sure if this was with anticipation or because of all the beers being sunk. Then it all kicked off. As a stand alone punk rock show, Idles didn’t disappoint - band members crowd surfed (whilst still playing their guitars), and pushing SWX’s heavy sound system to its absolute limits.
But, Idles did more than just put on a wild show. The front man Joe Talbot was cautious to explain the meanings of songs during the brief intervals - whilst the other band members slurped beers or, less punk rock and more eat-pray-love, bottled water.
These interludes covered topics including a [large] appreciation for our beloved NHS, respect for this country’s immigrants and a message to the lead singer’s daughter about self-care.
It was the contrast between their eardrum bursting songs and these warm messages, which created a hugely unexpected atmosphere (for me anyway) of respect between the band and the crowd...Whether that be the moshing crowd or the more restrained observers.
Who’d have thought SWX could be so transformed by a band who’s most famous single is called “I’m Scum”...