IDLES and Gustaf
The Riv // Chicago, IL // October 8,  2021

IDLES are the idyllic British rock band: Angry for all the right reasons and ready to fight for it.

There are very few bands that can pull off funny lyrics alongside serious ones, but IDLES can. “Let’s seize the day/all hold hands, chase the pricks away/You can do it!” Out of context, these words might seem silly; add Joe Talbot’s guttural vocals, Jon Beavis’ explosive drums, and some sick guitars and bass, and it becomes incredibly powerful. The British-based band have amassed fans across the globe for one very good reason: their anthems about the working class, anti-elitism, and anxiety are relatable.

Photo by Kate Scott

IDLES are arguably one of the best live bands right now, so it’s hard to imagine that any opening band would even come close to their energy. However, New York art punk kids Gustaf put on an impressive set and really held their own. Their first full-length album, Audio Drag for Ego Slobs, was released just a week before their Chicago show. The band feels like a combination of Bikini Kill and Talking Heads. Lead singer Lydia Gammill played their songs with a theatrical scowl on her face. Halfway during the third song, she ripped off her mod black clothes to reveal a colorful 70s-style outfit that fit right in with the rest of the band. As the band gains notoriety on this tour as well as with the release of their new album, it’s not hard to imagine they’ll be selling out their own shows very soon.

Photo by Kate Scott

By the time IDLES took the stage, the crowd was already sweaty and ready to mosh. 15 minutes in, and not only were audience members moshing, but several band members had already crowd-surfed. Bassist Adam Devonshire celebrated his birthday with the crowd as Talbot lead everyone in a joyful round of “Happy Birthday”. IDLES played some of the biggest hits, such as “Grounds” and “Never Fight a Man With a Perm”, and they also played “Kill Them With Kindness” for the first time on the tour. They ended the night with “Rottweiler”, and Gustaf joined them onstage. The show was fast-paced, aggressive, and powerful, but it was mostly fun. At the end of the day, IDLES are a fun fucking band.

Photo by Kate Scott

IDLES’ newest album, Crawler, will be released on November 12th. If it’s anything like their three previous studio albums, fans will not be disappointed. We can only hope we’re about to get more songs to mosh, scream, and dance to.

IDLES’ tour with Gustaf wraps up on the West Coast next week, then they’ll be heading home to the UK. For tour dates and tickets, click HERE.