i’m a real boy, boy, and i cry. i love myself, and i want to try.

If you are more behind the times than me, The Oldest Person In The House Who Knew Who Lizzo Was Way Before Anybody Else, you may not know that IDLES is an amazing British band with an extremely raw, hard sound and a relentless message of self-love, anti-fascism, anti-toxic masculinity, and blistering, hilarious kindness. The classic Kerrang magazine wrote about IDLES’ fan base, the AF Gang, because it is such a friendly and supportive community. When we had been at Climate Strike, we’d met an IDLES fan, and tonight before the show had dinner with about fifteen of them, including two little girls younger than Claudia and Béla who also attended the show.

The kids have seen a lot of shows and been on a lot of stages but somehow this was their first time at Union Transfer. Claudia hung back with the other kids initially, while Béla positioned himself right at the security fencing in front of the stage before the show started. We hung with some other adults about two bodies behind, at first.

Some of the band did their own soundcheck and Béla, who loves IDLES, was starstruck.

We were up front; we were HOTLY anticipating one of the first song’s we had ever heard from the band, on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, “Never Fight A Man With A Perm”. But I doubted they’d open with it and was thrilled they opened with “Colossus”.

I’m glad I sent this text. It didn’t take us long to realize that while “Colossus” didn’t seem very moshable to us (not in its first two movements, anyway,) that we were having to hold ourselves in a ring around B and C, who at first looked perplexed at the seemingly choreographed wave around us. And who then realized they were up against the barrier in a mosh pit that was stirring, the more agitated the song grew.

It was still a lovely crowd; but we were pretty clear we needed to move. And that’s what security is for; the kids were up and over the barrier and backstage while I was still arguing with the guy who was offering to pick me up the same way he had lifted the kids.

By the time I got backstage my kids were back IN the house, seated WITH security, fists in the air, roaring out “NFAMWAP”.

Claude and I stepped out for a grapefruit soda but other than that everyone wanted to be right in the center of the action. A great show full of great folks.

Joe Talbot is a voice capable leading our youth to their own version of greatness. Keeping more of them alive is enough these days. I believe he and IDLES are doing that already.

Keep your kids safe at shows. Because shows can keep them safe.

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