Idles review – snot, silly walks and compassionate aggro

Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
With snatches of Enrique Iglesias and Mariah Carey, the Bristol punks give a Christmas party feel to their strident, socially conscious stage-dive anthems

Chaotic, exhausting, emotionally overwhelming: no band seems more emblematic of our malfunctioning times than Idles. The Bristol-based rabble-rousers have attracted a fiercely loyal fanbase, and a Mercury nomination for their 2018 second album Joy as an Act of Resistance, thanks to scuzzy but scythe-sharp songs that fuse aggression with compassion. The five-piece may unashamedly wear their hearts on their sleeves but their songs give the sense the band would instantly roll them up to batter anyone threatening the NHS.

This short winter tour is nominally in support of A Beautiful Thing, their live album recorded at Le Bataclan in Paris last year. But it also seems like an opportunity for a communal, cathartic release after a punishing year. “Is everyone registered to vote?” shouts singer Joe Talbot, and the response is the sort of bloodcurdling chorus of avid yowls you might expect at an Iron Maiden gig.

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Idles review – snot, silly walks and compassionate aggro