Idles at The Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, CA

Idles at The Hollywood Palladium was a cathartic musical and political riot with Protomartyr’s dark and gritty performance to open.

The Hollywood Palladium, with its storied history and art deco grandeur, hosted a night to remember. The British punk band Idles, known for their ferocious live performances and politically charged lyrics, were supported by the equally compelling Detroit post-punk outfit Protomartyr. What transpired was a sonic onslaught that left the crowd exhilarated and exhausted in equal measure. In an era where fans are recording every moment, and artists are afraid to deliver messages by saying what’s truly on their minds for fear of being “canceled,” live music often feels sanitized, predictable, and “safe.” On this night, this concert served as a potent reminder of the visceral power that music and art have always had on the masses. With the war in Gaza and the upcoming American presidential election looming, commentary on American and British immigration policy, political commentary, and support for Gaza’s civilian population was frequent throughout the evening.

Protomartyr, the Detroit-based post-punk band, opened the night with a gritty, no-frills set that perfectly set the tone for what was to come. Frontman Joe Casey with his average guy-on-the-street look, deadpan delivery, and sardonic wit led Protomartyr through a tight, driving performance. Protomartyr blends bleak, often cynical, lyrics with straightforward propulsive rhythms and jagged guitar lines. The band’s minimalist stage presence only amplified the impact of their music. Protomartyr’s set felt like a grim prelude to the volcanic mayhem that was about to follow.

When Idles took to the stage, the atmosphere in The Palladium transformed from simmering anticipation to full-blown chaos. The Bristol quintet, known for their cathartic live shows, did not disappoint. Kicking off with “IDEA 01 & Colossus,” the band immediately seized the crowd’s attention. Frontman Joe Talbot was a force of nature, his raw, impassioned vocals driving home every lyric with an almost primal intensity. The synergy between the band members was more than palpable, often visible particularly during tracks like “Gift Horse” and “Mother” where the interplay between Mark Bowen’s frenetic guitar work and Jon Beavis’s thunderous drumming created a massive wall of sound that was both overwhelming and exhilarating. The Palladium’s floor became a seething mass of bodies as the audience responded to the cathartic fury of tracks like “Never Fight A Man With A Perm” and the pro-immigrant and unity anthem, “Danny Nedelko.” Idles ran through a furious two-hour 24-song set. By the time they launched into “Rottweiler,” the final song of the night, it felt as if The Palladium might burst from the sheer force of the performance.

Idles’ performance was more than just a concert; it was a communal catharsis, a space where anger, love, and defiance coalesced into a singular, unforgettable experience. In a world increasingly defined by division and discord, Idles’ message of unity and resilience felt particularly resonant. As the lights came up and the crowd spilled out onto Sunset Boulevard, there was a palpable sense of having witnessed something truly special. Idles and Protomartyr had delivered a night of music that was both brutally honest and profoundly uplifting. For those lucky enough to be there, it was a reminder of the unifying power of punk rock and the enduring power of live music and art to inspire, challenge, and unite. The historic Hollywood Palladium in its 84 years may have hosted countless iconic performances over the years, but this night will undoubtedly be remembered as one of its finest.

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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.