First Avenue and The Palace Theater present The Idles
Review and photos by Kate Klaus
British punk band Idles opened their 2021 tour at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul for a packed and raucous crowd. Opening the night were New York based post punk band Gustaf, with a quirky and lively set that got the intensity building for the madness to come. Lead singer Lydia Gammill commanded the stage with her sarcastic and mischievous personality, piercing lyrics, and eccentric dance moves. Singer and percussionist Tarra Thiessen performed with a deep voice modulator, which echoed through the tight acoustics of the beautiful Palace Theater. The duo of drummer Melissa Lucciola and Tine Hill on bass solidified the tight dance rhythm of their dynamic tunes. Rounding out the band was guitarist Vram Kherlopian, whose smile and playful energy complimented the perfect balance of wittiness and authenticity that make Gustaf a band to watch as they establish a commanding presence on the punk music scene.
As Idles took the stage, the crowd erupted in screams. Opening their set with “Colossus”, dark and melancholy heavy hitter from their 2018 album Joy as an Act of Resistance, an album title that could foreshadow the mood of the evening, with wild and rambunctious crowd surfing (including by the band), moshing, a constantly moving floor crowd being captivated by lead singer Joe Talbot who fluctuated between hauntingly dark and emotive lyric deliveries to joyful and positive banter with the crowd about community, strength, and love. Jon Beavis’s intense drumming thundered through the theatre, backed by bassist Adam Devonshire’s solid base line. Guitarists Mark Bowan and Lee Kiernan brought extreme energy to the stage, and to the crowd, with Kiernan himself participating in crowd surfing early in the set. Toward the end of the set, the live debut of their passionately dark 2021 release “The Beachland Ballroom” brought the crowd to a slower and more introspective atmosphere as Talbot’s powerful and shadowy vocal delivery punctuated the room. Closing out the night with “Danke” and “Rottweiler”, Idles showed that the rough and chaotic energy of a crowd-surfing, moshing audience really can be a strengthening, positivity delivering, and love filled channel for community and healing.