Last week saw the premiere of IDLES film Don’t Go Gentle and Getintothis’ Danni King had a front row seat.
Outspoken yet loveable, Bristol rockers IDLES have captured the hearts of many over the past few years, as they have become one of the biggest bands of recent times.
However, IDLES fans aren’t just classic gig-goers and listeners, they’ve became an entire community.
AF Gang formed in 2017, a supportive online and physical community for diehard fans, about all things IDLES.
AF Gang grew massively, with it now sitting at around 26,000 members, and its developed into a safe space to not only share your love for IDLES, but an inclusive environment to talk openly, whether that be about what you’re doing today or your mental health.
This has led to multiple opportunities, and most notably the creation of the film, Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About IDLES. The digital film explores the rise of IDLES, their personal lives, and the creation and existence of AF Gang.
It is, they say, “a film about strength in vulnerability”
Don’t Go Gentle documents the band’s rise, with the release of their first EP Welcome kickstarting their career, and how they find their sound through trial and error, and lyrics related to all of their personal beliefs and experiences.
Providing an admirable account of the creative scene in their much-loved hometown Bristol, and how the band, genuinely, just came together at a great time.
“We came together at a time when indie bands all looked great, but sounded boring”
The impact of debut album Brutalism is undeniable, and the film documents how whenever someone new came across the band, they immediately felt something.
Felix White, (The Maccabees/YALA! Records), features prominently in the film, and praises the band consistently, as they document the band’s live sessions and their friendship with the producer.
“It was just instantly, like, magic” he says.
Insights into the struggles of members of the band allow you to understand these lyrics and beliefs further. Documenting personal mental health struggles and private life, it’s not hard to understand the personal links between each and every lyric they scream.
Frontman Joe Talbot provides harrowing accounts of experiencing family bereavements whilst in the band, and how they’ve changed him and his coping mechanisms.
Talbot‘s heart-wrenching account of the death of his mother and his love for her allows you to see the vulnerability behind the frontman; “My mum’s passion, and my mum’s loving nature, is with me all the time”
Most notably, and the inspiration behind popular track June, Talbot also gives an insight into the struggles of other family bereavements, happening whilst the band gained popularity.
His acknowledgement of how he should of stayed home rather than touring, and how he should’ve spoken to those around him for further support gives the song a whole new feel to it and resonates with probably, all viewers.
Guitarist Adam Devonshire follows with an account of his own struggles with the death of his mother, and how his coping mechanisms weren’t adequate at the time, as he reflects back on his behaviour after the loss, and how it effected the band and his ability to remain focused.
Debut album Brutalism was written all about struggles, and most prominently, loss, and the band’s accounts of tragedy provide further context for the record, allowing you to listen to it from a new point of view, understanding a whole new paradigm of emotion.
The mental health struggles experienced by the band show they’re only human, whether they’re famous or not.
Accounts of original guitarist Andy Stewart’s departure due to anxiety struggles, and Talbot‘s documentation of his life with OCD raises awareness not only for mental health, but also for males speaking out unshamedly.dly.
IDLES have always fought against the toxic ideals of masculinity, and Don’t Go Gentle highlights how the band reach the realisation that opening up to eachother is easier than not.
This is shown to of brought together their fans, unifying people across the globe resulting in the collective community that is AF Gang.
AF Gang founder and Don’t Go Gentle associate producer, Lindsay Melbourne shows the influence of IDLES on people, and how their own honesty and beliefs resonated with fans from the start, saying “people just started opening up…It felt like I really needed to bring these people together”
It’s not hard to see IDLES positive impact – one look through the AF Gang Facebook forum, and the unity is there front and centre. To be able to create such an open, inclusive community for people through music is not something every band can achieve – IDLES are significant in their capacity to do so.
“People need inclusivity and they need community, and they need a feeling of acceptance through imperfection”
Also uniting fans is IDLES consistent participation in remaining outspoken on social and political issues. The documentary shows how their views (obviously!) influence their music, and won them legions of fans all across the world.
Their ability to combine opinion, social issues, and music together remains unchallenged, “who writes social commentary whilst citing Mary Berry?”
Their outspoken views being incorporated into loud, aggressive anthems is what most fans are attracted to about IDLES. Their lyrics remain true, personal, and relevant to all audiences, whilst never shying away from their opinions.
As Steve Lamacq says, “After all these years of Rock ‘n’ Roll, all we needed was brutal honesty from an angry-looking man in Bristol”
Don’t Go Gentle shows how a band can change lives, not only on-stage, but also off, as music brings people together and unites them in ways other things don’t. IDLES influence is undeniable – their music, ability to unify, and influence on people is insane, and their success is entirely deserved.
If you do one thing over the next week, watching Don’t Go Gentle should be just that.
Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About Idles is available to stream until June 15.