IDLES Scream Liberation at 2 Sold-out Bay Area Shows

Fox Theater, Oakland/Warfield
May 10, 2024/ May 11, 2024

Photos by Nicole Baptista

“Ceasefire Now! Ceasefire Now! Ceasefire Now!” screamed IDLES guitarist Mark Bowen as the crowd passed him around, propping him up by his legs.

The rally cry bounced off the walls of the Fox Theater in Oakland, as thousands of people screamed in unison. If you listen closely, most IDLES songs are a call for liberation—whether that be from oneself or the powers at-be. Welsh frontman Joe Talbot survived decades of alcohol and drug addiction with a sense of purpose. And with that experience came a calling to share love. He oozes love. He is love. 

Talbot also shared stories of losing his own mother to alcoholism when he was just 16 years old. He spoke of her with such admiration, telling the crowd that because of her and his brothers on stage, his life’s work is now dedicated to building community, creating meaningful art, and being of service to people who need compassion.

Dedicating “Mother” to his own, he sang a song of pride for a woman who “worked seventeen hours seven days a week.” People sang along, repeating each lyric with the same sense of honor.

And that’s why IDLES are a must-see. The British punk band played two sold-out shows—the first at The Fox in Oakland and the second at The Warfield in San Francisco the following night. Kicking off both with “Idea 01,” the band graced the stage backed in darkness and subtle white light. Talbot leaned over his knee and sang softly. Delicate keys danced around the thump, thump, thump. 

Before you knew it, songs like “Colossus” and “Gift Horse” had Talbot swinging a mic overheard. Guitarist Lee Kiernan flailed; his body jerked and swayed like someone stuffed him in a blender, flipped the top, and let him free. Watching him was exciting—his long hair swirled in the air, his face filled with expression, his body counteracted every sound from his guitar. 

Drummer Jon Beavis wailed on his kit as bassist Adam Devonshire grooved along with a big fat smile on his face. He even greeted fans after the show at the merch table. 

The band formed in Bristol in 2009 and have released 5 studio albums: Brutalism (2017), Joy as an Act of Resistance (2018), Ultra Mono (2020), Crawler (2020), and newest release, Tangk (2024). With each release came more fans, more acclaim, but most importantly, more room to share the message. In my opinion, sober punks like Talbot help so many of us stay alive.

Whatever your reason for loving them, IDLES reminds us all to be present, celebrate the gift of life, and fight for what’s right. Anti-fascist, anti-war, and all human connection. People went nuts to “Benzocaine,” “Crawl!,” “Never Fight a Man With a Perm,” and “Danny Nedelko.” Bodies surfed across the crowd, jumped from the stage, and rode the wave to the back of the theater. Guitarists Kiernan and Bowen played in the pit surrounded by rowdy, dancing, sweaty fans.

The energy was infectious. There was space for everyone. They even played a ballad or two—like the beautiful “The Beachland Ballroom” and a little rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”


If you’re not really paying attention, you’d think IDLES were just a great punk band who put on a killer show. But they’re so much more than that. They’re spiritual, serious, and silly all at the same time. They make musical anthems of redemption, honestly, and forgiveness. And in a time of so much suffering—from Gaza to the streets of San Francisco—they’re a band I believe in. 

Closing with “Rottweiler,” the crowd went ballistic. People ran from the bar to squeeze onto the overflowing floor. Others leaned over the balcony railings and headbanged. Even a little girl, propped on her dad’s shoulders, threw her arms in the air as they rushed toward the stage one last time.


Setlist (Fox Theater): Idea 01 / Colossus / Gift Horse / Mr. Motivator / Mother / Car Crash / I’m Scum / 1049 Gotho / The Wheel / Jungle / War / Wizz / When the Lights Come On / Benzocaine / Gratitude / Divide and Conquer / POP POP POP / Television / Crawl! / The Beachland Ballroom / Never Fight a Man With a Perm / Dancer / Danny Nedelko / All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah Carey cover) / Rottweiler

Setlist (The Warfield): Idea 01 / Colossus / Gift Horse / Mr. Motivator / Mother / Car Crash /  I’m Scum / 1049 Gotho / The Wheel / Jungle / War / Wizz / Benzocaine / Grounds / Gratitude / Divide and Conquer / POP POP POP / Samaritans / Crawl! / The Beachland Ballroom / Never Fight a Man With a Perm / Dancer /  Danny Nedelko / Rottweiler