I was introduced to IDLES via text from a good friend. It was the video for Danny Ndelko. On first listen I was all in. The music and the message. But I wasn’t sure if it was new music or if it was from the 70s. Maybe I’d been missing out all this time. But then I heard the same song on radio KEXP the following week. Then I knew, they were the next big punk rock thing. Exactly what I had been waiting for.
Their album Brutalism I love. And Joy as an Act of Resistance is an instant punk classic. Their videos online are powerful. The live performances at KEXP drew me in like no other. Again, the music and the message. I could feel the weight of all of it in what I was hearing through my speakers and seeing on my screens.
But no screen can compete with a dark, dank club and a couple hundred kids packed together, moving in unison.
They were my most-listened artist on Spotify last year. And watching those videos always gives me goosebumps. But nothing compares to the raw energy of their live show.
In a pit in downtown Kansas City, crushed Coors Light can in my back pocket, ramming into my crew of misfits who made the convoy down from Omaha, ramming into complete strangers, with spit and beer and sweat spraying wildly into the air, we moved to and fro, singing at the top of our lungs, our voices blending into the sound waves blasting from the stage, pummeling the crowd, making our hope real, bleeding our dreams into this reality we are now standing in together, in this short burst of life leading to exhaustion, each vocal and bass line and drum pound making it painfully obvious we made the right choice in taking 24 hours out of our busy schedules of work and family and community to drive 3 hours to a show that lasted for an hour and forty-five minutes because it just might be the closest thing to church I’d been to in decades.
And that is why you go to shows.