IDLES have revealed which song in their back catalogue is the one they now feel is like “a bad haircut”, explaining why they never play it live.

The Bristol band, who released their fifth studio album ‘Tangk’ earlier this year, were talking to The Independent while reflecting on their earlier, angrier years.

Frontman Joe Talbot and guitarist Mark Bowen talked about how they once believed in the beauty of violence in their lyrics, and how they now believe them to not be “the words of a healthy man”.

“I was scared and lost and angry,” Talbot added.


When Bowen interjected that, “at least it was honest”, Talbot agreed: “I never lie – well apart from ‘Great’ on ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’. That song is like a bad haircut, which is why we don’t play it. It’s not me.”

Even though it was a regular presence in their setlists around its original release, IDLES have only played ‘Great’ once since 2019, at a show in Washington, DC in October 2021.


It is not the first time that Talbot has reflected on his growth as a songwriter and public persona.

In an interview with NME earlier this year, he said: “I was starting to go through the same fucking bullshit cycles of behaviour, and I wanted to stop it. It’s surprising how much more it takes to break those cycles. I looked within, and I found that I needed love. I understood that writing love songs has, seemingly, been done. But it hasn’t for me, so I don’t fucking care!”

NME called ‘Tangk’ “the most open-hearted we’ve ever seen [IDLES]” in a four-star review. “The record ends not on a scream but on the peaceful and jazzy full stop of ‘Monolith’ as the frontman serenely concludes: ‘I found myself my own king, I took his crown, I took his rings’.


“Removing our fat-fingered monarch’s jewels isn’t as much a ‘fuck you’ to the establishment here as realising that without self-worth and a little gratitude, you’re nothing. Anger is an energy, but love is the answer, they pose.”

The band recently announced the support acts for their upcoming 2024 UK and Ireland tour dates. Australian genre-bender Genesis Owusu, Brighton punks Lambrini Girls, Belfast post-punk group Chalk and Dublin garage rockers SPRINTS will all be hopping on board the tour at various stages, as well as experimental duo BATTLES, Latin indie-pop artist Angélica Garcia and singer-songwriter and potential future collaborator Willie J Healey.

IDLES’ 2024 UK and Ireland tour dates are: 

12 – Cardiff, Castle *=
13 – Halifax, The Piece Hall *=
20 – Margate, Dreamland *>
21 – Cornwall, The Wyldes *>

16 – Belfast, Telegraphy Building %
17 – Belfast Telegraph Building %
19 – Dublin, 3Olympia Theatre %
20 – Dublin, 3Olympia Theatre %
23 – Glasgow, OVO Hydro +
24 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, O2 City Hall +
25 – Nottingham, Rock City +
26 – Nottingham, Rock City +
29 – London, Alexandra Palace +#
30 – London, Alexandra Palace ^#

1 – Brighton, Centre +
3 – Birmingham, O2 Academy Birmingham +
4 – Birmingham, O2 Academy Birmingham +
6 – Manchester, O2 Apollo +
7 – Manchester, O2 Apollo +
8 – Manchester O2 Apollo +

Angélica Garcia*
Genesis Owusu>
Lambrini Girls#
Willie J Healey+

Find any remaining tickets for the shows here.