All Points East, Victoria Park, East London, 19th August 2022 – It really can’t be lost on anyone, what with The Clash connections headlining over on the other stage as part of Gorillaz, it can’t be lost on anyone just how significant Idles were in the middle of East London’s Victoria Park tearing it up in such a joyously united way last night. 44 years on from that legendary Anti Nazi League concert and probably the finest moments of both The Clash and the whole idea of Punk Rock as something more than just a fifteen minute fashion statement, it surely can’t be lost on anyone? By the time they kick in with the positive energy powered by those opening lines of Danny Nedelko and seemingly the whole of the crowd join in with My blood brother is an immigrant. A beautiful immigrant, by the time Idles kick in with Danny Nedelko the whole place is won over and with them. Actually they had it won from the moment they hit the stage, there’s a genuine love for this band, they’ve got something special, they’re pulling everyone together, all the tribes, they’re the right band in the right place at the right time and what a gig! I haven’t seen Idles for a long long time, we covered them lots back in their very early days, pub gigs, that art exhibition, Joe’s dad, the first releases, we watched them take off and then kind of sat back and left them to it, watched them grow, brilliant, great to see it happen, a band with something to actually say, an excellent bunch of people, all power to them. Something genuine, no hype needed, a real word of mouth thing, you can’t hear a band like Ides and not want to share them, they were off, didn’t need us any more.
I really wasn’t sure how they’d be tonight, a genuinely big band now, a knowledgeable fan following and easily capable of filling fields like this themselves, surely the most significant rock band for quite sometime? How would it translate? Surely they can’t be the same? Surely they can’t connect it all up a massive event like this? Do I even want to go? Shouldn’t have even questioned it, Idles were wonderful, from the moment they hit the stage with the last of the sun going down behind them, from the very first hello, the very first sound, from the opening bite of Colossus. There’s something very very real about Idles, something very honest, something just so very right and that’s something reflected in their audience, in the friendliness all around, the concern for each other, the unity of it all, the strength, the joy in the pit, the joy in those acts of resistance, the whole Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah of it. Idles were excellent last night, for some reason I wasn’t expecting them to be, I really don’t know why but from there very first moments it was clear they were going to be. What a band!
Before Idles there had been Baltimore’s Turnstile burning it up on the main stage in the late afternoon sun, they seemed harmlessly enjoyable in a big brash metallic kind of way, they sounded like a stew of American mussel, a bit of this, a bit of that, a touch of Foos, a touch of Rage Against whatever you’ve got, that big corporate American rock thing, packaged up and ready to be consumed by the kids in a harmless enough manner. They can rock it up, not sure where anyone gets the idea that they might be some kind of Hardcore punk band? Maybe ten years ago when there was pressure to succeed they might of hinted at it but right now they’re a big glossy modern hard rock band, a harmless one, a decent enough one, Brendan Yates can certainly front a band and hold an audience, they’re harmlessly good, they’re enjoyable enough in the London sunshine, they’ve got their fans singing along with them, they do their heard-it-all-before thing well enough, good luck to ’em, they’re instantly forgotten the moment Idles hit the other stage at the other end of the site and blow them and everything else away.
Mrley were waiting to take off on the new band stage, their line check sounded good enough to make us search them out when we got home, no time to hang about though, Idles time is upon us, got to get to the other side of the site. Willow Kayne sounded like something fresh on the same small stage earlier in the afternoon, more of her please. Knucks was pretty damn good from where we were standing, up there with his flowing London rap in the giant blue tent, he’s even got that old festival smell hanging in the air, he said something about London burning as well, it all comes around, Knucks with a massive crowd right there where The Clash once sung of London’s Burning. And what was all that about the price of ice cream and he does have a fine way with words, with the flow of his words, not going to pretend to know a thing about Knucks, seems his mum’s being praying about him but there’s not enough beads on her Rosary? Hey don’t ask me, this is the good thing about a festival like this, I’m back home here now learning about Knucks and Tom and Jerry and coming out his hole for some cheddar. Yves Tumor was up there on one of the big stages when we got there, all the way from Miami via his adopted home of Turin and we only had to walk from for our Hackney bunker on the other side of the park, he looked and sounded good, would he be offended if we mention Prince, we’d intend it as a compliment, rude of us to be late for him. Sorry Kills Birds, really wanted to see you but you were on first and work really didn’t allow us to get there in time, word was we should have got there in time for Self Esteem as well.
You know what, as big corporate festivals go this really wasn’t bad, I came along with my cynical smile expecting the worst, I’m an old git, I’ve been to a million music festivals, probably more than you, most of them were awful, most of them felt like they wanted nothing more than to get hold of as much of my money as they could get out of me without giving me too much in return. Sure, I was on the press list today, I didn’t pay for my ticket, and yeah, it was in my local park, but that doesn’t mean I have to be nice about it, if the thing was crap then I’d say so. The first day of All Points East really worked, it was bigger than the sum of its parts, the bill worked, the layout worked, the buzz was friendly, the weather was good, okay so the lack of rain has turned the place into a bit of a dust bowl and okay so the beer was as over priced as expected and the decent bar with something more than just over-priced cans of pissy larger took a bit of searching out (they kept telling us there was no draft beer, there was, a nice pint of Two Swans!) And yeah, Six Music were as annoying as ever and yeah, I had to argue to get my tin of pencils in with my sketch book, far enough, the guy was right when he said they could be deadly weapons, he let them in in the end (can’t go anywhere without my pencils and paper). You know what, as big corporate festivals go this was a rather good one but then it was really all about Idles and everything they pull together, everything they stand for and Idles pulled together one hell of a set and one hell of a united feeling in the park where The Clash once did their thin. Idles were big, nothing could have followed that, Damon Blur and his Gorillaz mates, the cartoons and those animated visions, well yeah, they were alright, they looked good, but hey, idles and their crowd just came together and blew the whole place apart in the best possible way, no one could follow the feeling of Idles tonight. A triumphant start to a week of gigs in our local park, Idles really matter, may they grow and grow and grow some more, I think we can say we had a great day, nice one… (sw)
All Points East goes on this week and next. if you live locally check out the free events in the middle of the week
Do click on an image to enlarge and gt a tiny flavour via crappy phone thing…