IDLES @ South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
I would be lying if I said I didn't have this date circled since it was announced back in December 2023. The truth is, I was looking forward to this show way before its announcement. June 11th, 2023 to be exact. That was when IDLES was touring the States as part of the Re:SET Concert Series and they finally made their stop in North Texas. But unfortunately, a massive and equally-entertaining thunderstorm took over the Texas Trust CU Theatre Grounds in Grand Prairie, only three songs into IDLES' set, cancelling the remainder of the day's events. I was crushed. The first real punk/rock act of the three-day series, and it's cut short by Mother Nature (and Joe Talbot's calling to the rain gods). As a photographer, I could not complain as I got three songs worth of shots in daylight of a band that's notoriously known for their one-color or flashing lighting. As a fan of the band, absolutely gutted.

In between my last taste of a live IDLES show and this one at the South Side Ballroom, the lads from Bristol released fifth studio album, Tangk. A departure from their latter efforts, the dance, love-inspired album from Nigel Godrich made way for a different sound for the punk band, showcasing an evolution into textures and arrangements. While I was still waiting for the IDLES I knew and loved live, I couldn't wait to see and hear their new songs as well.

The Love is the Fing Tour made its way to the south of Dallas, smack dab in the middle of the Gilley's complex, at the largest space in the building: the South Side Ballroom. The room was packed to the gills, awaiting the onslaught to commence. Having seen the band once and three songs, I had a good idea of what to expect. That expectation is loud, pure brilliance. Opening with "IDEA 01", the first song on Tangk, is a bit of a slow burner but gave to our first glimpse of the layers not normally heard at an IDLES show. But that is followed by "Colossus", a classic IDLES song, that builds and builds until it finally bursts, but only when Talbot wants it to. Splitting the crowd into two sides, he finally let's the meet with a Viva Palestina!! But as much as Talbot can control the stage and hold the crowd hostage, it was his stomach holding him hostage this night. I'm guessing the toll of a headlining tour and the many local delicatessen he enjoyed finally paid its price. Except for a mention of Peptol Bismol, the show went on.

While the band was touring off of Tangk, the album wasn't necessarily doing the heavy lifting of the setlist, sharing the most songs with CRAWLER at six, but Brutalism and Joy as an Act of Resistance followed with five each. So it was a good mix of their entire catalog, which was pleasing for most of the audience who have followed their punk roots. Fan favorites "Mother", "I'm Scum", and "Never Fight a Man with a Perm" paved the way for moshing within the crowd, while newer songs such as "Dancer" made them move in a less chaotic manner. As with any IDLES show, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan made visits to the crowd, playing on top of them as they're riding the wave of fans, or screaming at the top of their lungs as they spell out the final verse of "Danny Nedelko." "Nedelko" provides the best singalong of night, as it's catchy chorus gives the Dallas crowd the chance to yell out in unison. While the band ends with the fantastic closer "Rottweiler", Talbot finally succumbed to his gastrointestinal distress and ran off stage. Even without Talbot, the extended ending with opening band Ganser still made for a triumphant end to the show. 

Photos of the show are below:

IDLES @ South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX IDLES @ South Side Ballroom, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on May 27, 2024 Rating: 5
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