IDLES Lee's Palace, Toronto ON, September 17

IDLES Lee's Palace, Toronto ON, September 17
Photo: Stephen McGill
A mere six months ago, IDLES presented their incredibly potent brand of punk music for the first time at Toronto's Hard Luck Bar. On Monday night, the Bristol, UK-based quintet made their grand return to a sold-out swarm of voracious fans. Upgrading to Lee's Palace was a wise decision, as the band have only grown in popularity since dropping their brilliant sophomore record, Joy as An Act of Resistance.
Kicking off with "Colossus," JAAAOR's powerful opening number, each member joined drummer Jon Beavis on stage one at a time to thunderous responses. Frontman Joe Talbot immediately tossed his microphone stand to the side and wrapped its cord around himself as his distinctive growl filled the room.
IDLES barely stopped to catch their breath before tearing into the thunderously anthemic "Never Fight a Man with a Perm." Whether moshing in the centre of the floor or screaming along on the sidelines, the entire audience was slick with sweat and utterly captivated. Talbot didn't even have to sing some of his own lyrics; the crowd did it for him as he swayed his arms like a conductor, shaking his head in awe at the overwhelmingly positive reception.
The love that IDLES' fans share for the Brits is fully reciprocal. "We're pieces of shit, but you make us feel like magicians," Talbot declared. During "Exeter," a handful of audience members joyously clambered on stage to join the band. Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan passed their guitars off for two of them to shred on and Talbot shared his mic as the song exploded into an endearing jam session.
Performing for just over an hour, IDLES' set list was all killer and no filler. In appropriate celebration of JAAAOR's recent release, they confidently churned out new tracks like "Love Song," "I'm Scum" and "Danny Nedelko" as if they had been touring them for years rather than a few weeks. Careful not to neglect 2017's Brutalism, "1049 Gotho" and "Mother" elicited raucous responses from the crowd.
Despite the fact that Kiernan's guitar stopped working during the last couple of songs, the set ended on an exceptionally high note with "Rottweiler," JAAAOR's ferocious closer. IDLES' live show is a manifestation of their core mantra: all is love.

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