I Was There: Idles – Lincoln Hall (Chicago) – 8/1/2019
Thursday night was a late one with Idles taking the stage a little after midnight. The drowsiness of a late weekday night melted away like butter on a hot pan when the the Bristol group took the stage.
Before Lincoln Hall was blessed with Idles, A Place to Bury Strangers opened. Now I have listened to this group in the past, but have never seen them perform live. The sheer volume that came from the trio was absolutely over the top and terrifying. A NASA shuttle launch was coming out of the speakers right into my ear hole.
Outside of the skull shattering noise, A Place to Bury Strangers played an awesome set. The lighting was interesting with strobe lights going into the crowd and eventually with the trio setting up shop in the middle of the floor. There was some sort of wacky blue lighting going on as they played in the middle of the venue floor. I was afraid to take a real good look as I was convinced I was going to get sucked into a wormhole.
When it comes to Idles, Frontman Joe Talbot was the star of the show. Connecting and interacting with the crowd again and again. Never afraid to speak his progressive attitudes or what was on his mind. When someone asked Joe’s thoughts on new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Talbot responded by saying that “Boris is a racist piece of shit”. Later in the show before “Mother” Talbot told that crowd that on in front of us on the stage were five feminists. Love it or hate it, there’s something special about someone who isn’t afraid to say what is on their mind and what they believe in.
Idles are really a special group. Terrific eye opening songs about issues that cut deep and mean something. There’s a reason why their album was among Sleep So Late’s Favorite Albums of 2018. Idles performed 13 songs and each one had more energy in it than the last. Highlights included “I’m Scum”, “Mother” and “Danny Nedelko”. When the group closed with “Rottweiler” it felt like the perfect ending to a perfect night.
It will be interesting to see what direction Idles will continue in. Whatever it is, we have something really unique on our hands with this group. Do yourself the service and see them play if you can.
Ordering a list of favorite albums is harder than quitting smoking -there’s just no way I could bring myself to do it. With that in mind – here are five albums that are Sleep So Late’s Favorite Albums of 2018 in no order at all.
Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
I was lucky to catch Parquet Courts at the tail end of 2017. At the show they played an unnamed new song (turned out to be “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience”) that was absolutely terrific. I remember thinking to myself, “Their next album is going to be a memorable one.” Wide Awake! is definitely memorable. The album is a nice balance of goofy guitar dance music with a blend of punk rock. I mean, Parquet Courts played on Ellen this year – what the hell!?
Some of the songs that pop on this one are: “Freebird II”, “Total Football”, “Wide Awake”, “Tenderness”, and the previously mentioned “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience”. Even though this album is more for “everyone” it doesn’t back down. Great album that will put you in a great mood – I guarantee it.
Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
Courtney’s second album isn’t as loud as Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, but it didn’t need to be. It’s isn’t as story led as her older tracks, but it didn’t need to be either.
Tell Me How You Really Feel is an album that goes into human vulnerability and emotion like Courtney Barnett has never done before. This is heard in “Hopefulessness” when Courtney sings, “You know it’s okay to have a bad day.” This sentiment is also echoed in the 7th track on the album, “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self-Confidence”. Tell Me How You Really Feel just feels like mature album from Courtney Barnett that definitely deserves your time.
Idles – Joy as an Act of Resistance
Idles quickly followed up 2017’s, Brutalism with this year’s Joy as an Act of Resistance. The album tackle’s issues like over-the-top masculinity and immigration among others. “Never Fight A Man With A Perm” dives into the issue of over masculinity with words like, “You look like a walking thyroid. You’re not a man, you’re a gland.” The ironic part is this album is an absolute gem for the gym. I feel like I’m shredding deep dish pizza pounds by just sitting on the couch and listening to it.
In England where immigration is a very large and debated subject, “Danny Nedelko” is a song about unity among everyone. Very off topic, but “Polish butcher” that is referenced in “Danny Nedelko” is also sung about in “Roland” by Interpol from their masterpiece Turn On The Bright Lights. This British punk album gets on this year’s list because of Idles’ unabashed and loud take on larger issues.
MGMT – Little Dark Age
MGMT came roaring back with their latest release, Little Dark Age. Their previous self-titled album, MGMT, was a type of too-cool-for-school album that just seemed to lack something. With Little Dark Age, they came back into the music world with an album that is very enjoyable. The album may even be their poppiest ever with tracks that make you want to get out of your seat. Songs like: “She Works Out Too Much”, “Little Dark Age”, “When You Die”, and “James” are the tunes that give the album the most punch. Stepping away from the experiment that was MGMT, MGMT is back. The Chicago Bears are back, tiny backpacks are back, and MGMT is back. Stand up and dream away with this release.
Flasher – Constant Image
Constant Image is a terrific debut from the Washington D.C. trio, Flasher. The album doesn’t sound like a debut, but a seasoned record from a seasoned band. The truth is the band has only been around for years.
It may be a stretch, but you can hear a little of The Clash on some of the tracks. This is also a great album for a long car ride – the tracks are mostly quick tempo and are perfect for that lengthy highway drive. It is going to be exciting seeing these guys grow as they are primed for a boom in popularity. Check out: “Material”, “Pressure”, and “Who’s Got Time?” and I promise that you’ll be hooked.
What just missed the list:
Interpol – Marauder
Peter Bjorn and John – Darker Days
Snail Mail – Lush
Skegss – My Own Mess
We Were Promised Jetpacks – The More I Sleep the Less I Dream
Beach Slang – Everything Matters But No One Is Listening (Quiet Slang)