People were worshipped and destroyed at IDLES and Surfbort’s Observatory North Park show.

The night began with the grimy music of Surfbort: guttural yelling, overwhelming drums, and blaring guitars. Young bodies were throwing themselves at each other when something popped that wasn’t a snare – it was someone’s knee. To the man’s credit, he handled it like a champ, popping his knee back into place.

And this was only about 15 minutes in.

The result: the dirtiness of Surfbort combined with the primal energy of IDLES led to an absolute jungle of bodies thrashing through its gaping pit. And what a lovely jungle it was, complete with moments of pandemonium turned catharsis only the greatest performers can provide. From La Panda Loca making a noteworthy appearance, to tons of people rushing the stage during “Exeter” –only for guitarist Lee Kiernan to hand his guitar off to someone before heading into the crowd while the rest of the band began an impromptu chorus of “Living on a Prayer” –their set was a wild ride from start to finish.

That’s not to say there weren’t any slower, more touching moments. After the band prevented a 15-year-old kid named Staci/Stacey from being kicked out by security for crowdsurfing, frontman Joe Talbot commanded the audience to crowdsurf Staci/Stacey for the entirety of “Love Song” (they proceeded to extend the song to at least double its length after Kiernan went into the crowd). Later on, after someone the audience asked for a hug, Talbot told the “plethora of fucking beautiful people there to support [him]” by giving him hugs.

And of course, in typical IDLES fashion, Talbot introduced each song with its inspiration and timely themes, ranging from immigration, health care, to motherhood. Because of everything that happened during their show, it’s hard to categorize IDLES. The best way I could put it is that they’re the most caring, loving punk group you could have the pleasure of watching live. And if you don’t think you could handle the chaos; just stand off to the side and you’ll be fine.

Review by: Peter Swan
Photos by: Nicholas Regalado
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