Tuesday, February 23, 2021

IDLES ‘Carcinogenic’ – Live and socially-distant for Independent Venue Week

With this year’s Independent Venue Week taking place in lockdown, IDLES pay a socially-distant tribute to the venues that made them into a powerhouse that they are today. Scattered around the beloved Bristolian haunts – The Louisiana, Exchange, The Mother’s Ruin, The Old Duke, and Trinity Centre – the members of the band perform individually, eventually forming the track ‘Carcinogenic’ off their newest album ‘Ultra Mono’.

IDLES are phenomenal live performers. Their gigs are full of that frantic, deliriously euphoric energy that is the Platonic ideal of gig-going, as the exuberant pulsation of the crowd is commanded by Joe Talbot’s gruff vocals and the band’s onstage antics, while the whole thing crescendo in an ecstatic howl. Hence, it is strangely unsettling to see the band apart, in empty venues, playing for an exclusively online audience. Somehow, they pull it off, and the infectious riotousness of their performance is palpable off screen.


Despite their physical distance from one another, we are still able to gain a taste of the banter between the bandmates as well as a sense of their individual personalities. Jon Beavis, the phenomenal yet often unjustly neglected drummer, now gets to take his place centre stage, unobstructed by Lee Kiernan’s and Mark Bowen’s usual silliness. Speaking of Bowen, although his isolated performance doesn’t lack the vaudeville quality of his onstage romp, it is disconcerting to see him with so many clothes on, prompting fans to declare the usurpation of rockstar-Bowen by dentist-Bowen. Adam Devonshire on base seems to be the most organic of the lot, serenely in his element and solidly supportive, whereas Talbot’s isolation intensifies his caged-fighter demeanour, the space both constricting his body and simultaneously making it appear colossal.


As Talbot howls “love what you can”, the precariousness of these venues, and the whole experience of live music in general, becomes painfully apparent. With the past year seeing the closure of many beloved institutions and the curtailing of innumerable careers, livelihoods and experiences, the future has never looked so bleak, and equally, so precious. The video ends with a statement from the band  “Thank you to all the houses and communities that built our band and helped us become what we are. All our love” – which aptly reminds us, that behind these independent venues, there are communities that nourish and maintain them, as well as each other.


By acknowledging, appreciating and supporting these communities, we too become a part of them, and a part of a larger drive towards creativity and self-expression that are so vital in times of great stress and uncertainty. IDLES remind us of the responsibility towards the things we love, and their tribute is a touching and defiant statement of their intent to fight for their values. We, as their fans and fellow music lovers are invited along on a quest to protect and preserve the experiences that we value, whether they be in the past, the present, or, most importantly, in the future.

Liza Kupreeve



No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;