The Fonda Theatre turned into one big, roiling mosh pit Wednesday night as IDLES and Fontaines DC brought their distinct brands of punk to the city of Los Angeles. As evident by the wrapped-around-the-block line, the nights event was sold out, causing the band to add another tour date later in the year. Fans dressed in everything from traditional punk garb of Doc Martens and plaid to skin tight skirts and bad haircuts waited in hot anticipation – despite the unseasonably cold weather – for doors to open and the show to begin.
Ireland’s Fontaines DC warmed up the crowd as they played straight through a half-hour long set. Bathed in cool blue stage lighting, the five-piece group prepared the audience for the evenings headliners with their own brand of post-punk. Part spoken word, part dark dance grooves, part aggression and all original content had fans dancing, moshing and ready to take on the rest of the night by the time the group left the stage.
The band only broke from playing at the halfway mark when lead singer Grian Chatten paused to simply say, “Hello,” and paused again at the end of their performance to announce, “One more,” before they rocketed into their final song for the night.
The UK’s IDLES emerged from behind the curtains to an audience bursting with a revolutionary energy that could match only the bands specific style of music. They opened with a slowed down version of “Colossus,” the first track from their most recent album, Joy As An Act of Resistance. When slowed down, the normally syncopated beat turned into a droning tune and built tension intense enough for the audience to feel it, as they knew the breakdown was coming. Once it hit, the mosh pit didn’t stop churning for the rest of IDLES set.
The band burned through most of their catalogue, one that’s not extensive yet but delivers quality over quantity, and performed songs like “Never Fight A Man With A Perm,” “1049 Gotho,” and “Divide & Conquer,” over the course of an hour. Their songs sound completely brash but their lyrics are anything but, as vocalist Joe Talbot screams about self love, disregarding the negative opinions of others, and supporting each other through community. The lead singer spoke of the importance of immigrants before going into “Danny Nedelko,” a track that details the bleak direction xenophobia takes and how unity can help prevent it.
The band is a foreign embodiment of the American left wing, and has no problem expressing their love for the United States. Talbot described the US as a “beautiful country,” expressed gratitude at how accepting Americans have been of IDLES and then proceeded to launch into the final track from their most recent album “Rottweiler,” an anthem designed to defend the first amendment, and the freedom that is supposed to come with it.
A perfect ending to a night of fellowship, support and aggressive moshing, fans poured out onto Hollywood Boulevard drenched in each others sweat, just to wait in anticipation to do it all over again.