IDLES the band on stage.

IDLES @ The Union 5.17


IDLES returned to SLC with a vengeance. Their first show back in two years (previously performing at The Complex) the band brought their same high energy along with their new opener Ganser, a female-led, post-punk band who blends the sounds of bands like Bully, Lithics and Deeper. A note on Ganser: While they haven’t released anything substantial within the last two years, it was a pleasure to see them perform live, bringing incredible energy that fed well into IDLES’ set. I would heavily recommend checking out their 2020 album Just Look At That Sky

I continue to admire how unafraid IDLES are, especially within their own genre. Beyond the crowd surfing, insane drum solos and headbands, what stood out to me the most was Joe Talbot’s pro-Palestinian commentary, chanting with the crowd “Viva Viva Palestina,” “Fuck the War” and “Fuck the King” throughout the show. During a time when all eyes are pointed toward the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people, there is an incredible silence from many seemingly political bands. IDLES isn’t gutless, though, and continues to be vocal on the critical issues of our time. 

Talbot took time during the set to explain why he wrote certain songs, most notably his struggles with addiction that come up in the songs “Car Crash” and “Mother,” and his closeness with the struggles of immigrants on “Danny Nedelko.” Talbot continued to pace across the stage for much of the performance, and the rest of the band was very active with guitarist Mark Bown climbing the crowd and Lee Kiernan playing in the pit for a while as well. As a treat, the band performed an a capella rendition of “All I Want For Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey, which was phenomenal. 

Simply put, it was another incredible performance from an incredible band that has gotten the international attention they rightfully deserve. I hope that many more bands become as politically confident and join in the pro-Palestinian conversation. 

Photos by Jess Gruneisen |