Live Review: Idles - Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver 04/10/2018


We caught up with IDLES in Vancouver as part of their tour across North America, celebrating the release of their album Joy as an Act of Resistance. Supported by US noise-rockers Bambara, it was set to be a rowdy evening.

Kicking off the evening with their heavy, grainy sound, Bambara played to an unusually full venue. It’s not often that Vancouverites show up early to shows, so when they do it can only be a good thing, and these guys did not disappoint. Lead singer, Reid Bateh, seemed like the coolest and most relaxed guy in the room as he wandered around the stage flipping his hair and singing the lyrics as if they were the alphabet. Once they got into the bands most upbeat songs he livened up with the rest of the band (brother Blaze Bateh, and William Brookshire), thrashing around and throwing himself on the floor.

The relationship these two bands have is both wholesome and hilarious. Throughout Bambara’s set the guys from IDLES were dancing around and singing the lyrics, and Bateh would occasionally gesture to the guys, even climbing on the speakers to reach over to them at one point. They have clearly formed a wonderful friendship just over the two weeks they spent together on the North American leg of this tour. Both bands even scrawling their name on the bass drum of the shared drum set.

By the time it was IDLES turn to take the stage the Rickshaw was absolutely packed. From the second the music started everyone standing on the floor was moving like it was a wave pool. Although Canada isn’t quite going through the revolution (of sorts) that the UK are, it’s quite obvious that the sentiment translates. With their lyrics showcasing their pro-immigration feelings, the state of the NHS, and general male rage (among others) at the world in a such a brutally honest manner it’s hard not to be able to draw some sort of angst from it even if you aren’t directly affected by the specific topics they write about. This is quite obvious from the sheer amount of head banging from the crowd right down front, and the non stop moshing from everyone in the middle throughout the entire evening.

Despite writing about such intense and political subjects, IDLES still manage to have a sense of humour about everything. They ended up pulling the guys from Bambara back up on stage, and then forcing them to crowdsurf the entire time they sung All I Want For Christmas, despite the fact that it is currently October. Just that fact alone should be enough to convince anyone to go to one of their shows (even if you just stand in the back avoiding the terror of the mosh pit at all costs). After wrapping up the US leg of the tour, the band will be heading back to the UK and Europe from October 16th through to December with Heavy Lungs (UK) and John (Europe).

Words and Photography by Kelli Anne Lane