IDestroy + Flesh Tetris + Junodef live at The Grace, London, 27 April 2022

It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of seeing Bristol’s brilliant IDestroy in that London. The last time we did was at LOUD WOMEN Fest 5 back in September 2021, in fact – so a 2022 return to The Smoke, as part of a two week tour, was as welcome (and welcomed!) as it was indeed long-overdue. The threesome more than warmed up a cool April night in North London at The Grace, a small comfortable sister venue right next door to the Garage on Highbury Corner, with a set based around one of the best albums of the last 18 months, their very own We Are Girls.

IDestroy has been a working unit for nearly 7 years now. Frontwoman Bec Jevons – full of friendly feistiness. Drummer Jenn Hills – a mighty percussive engine, driving the band enthusiastically and powerfully. Bassist Nic Wilton-Baker – a relatively new, awesome addition to the trio. The power these three estimable women generated in their 14-song-plus-a-well-earned-encore set at the Garage was strong enough to have kept the National Grid going for a few hours. From their arrival on stage just after 21:00 to their departure just a couple of minutes short of an hour later, they maintained a pace and level of excitement that did not flag even for a second.

As current working bands go, you would find it hard to better IDestroy in terms of the amount of bang you get for your proverbial buck. This is the very definition of a power trio, strong on catchy riffs and acerbic, relevant lyrics, all delivered with the might of a Nicola Adams knockout punch. Bec does all of the talking, and her interaction with her group’s audience is friendly and formidable, talking to us as though we were all her new best mates and it would be her shout in the bar after the show, and getting us to sing and clap along with no reluctance whatsoever. She and Nic bopped, ran and in Nic’s case frequently rolled around The Grace’s tiny stage with such unbridled vigour that it’s surprising they didn’t collide on more than one occasion, although the rock ‘n’ roll telepathy of knowing where your partner is at all times was most definitely on their side. Behind them, Jenn commanded her drum kit like a squadron leader, cool calm and in control and all times and never missing even one beat.

If The Runaways had been fronted by Suzi Quatro, they might have sounded something like IDestroy…

Having been unable to tour We Are Girls when it debuted in February 2021, the album is still at the core of IDestroy’s set. They pretty much played side 1 as it appears on the vinyl, moving ‘G.O.D.’ down the running order a bit and slotting the altogether splendid new singe ‘Jellyfish’ in between two previous ones, ‘Petting Zoo’ (which Bec dedicated randomly to ‘all the creeps’, happily none of whom appeared to be present at The Grace last night) and the album’s title track.  It takes chutzpah to drop your new single so early in the set, but it worked and ‘Jellyfish’ already sounds like it’s well on its way to becoming an anthem.

A personal favourite/highlight ‘Lemons’ – surely one of the best ‘put-down’ songs of all time with lines like ‘You Got A Face Like You Been Chewing On Crayons/Licking Battery Acid etc.’ – ran straight into ‘Death Party’ with no time to take a breath before Bec told us that they were “now gonna play the other side of the album, so this is where you have to take it off the turntable and turn it over”.  Well, actually they didn’t, quite, although they did follow with side two, track 1 ‘Cheap Monday’ and then into the re-sequenced and aforementioned ‘G.O.D.’ which would have sounded terrific wherever it had appeared in the set. Two newer songs ‘Pure Joy Of Life’ and ‘Talking Shit’ told us all we need to know about how great the next album is already shaping up to be, while a third non-LP goodie ‘Cable Cars On Everest’ was possibly even greater still. These treats apart, the rest of the set moved through the album’s second side in sequential order, with only ‘The Young And Wasted’ omitted, and  ‘Sick Friend’, ‘Swim’ and a mighty, mighty ‘Let’s Play With Knives’ tumbling from the stage in quick succession and short order till suddenly it was ‘thanks very much and goodnight’ – but not quite, as Bec, Nic and Jenn still had a thunderous encore of their eponymously-titled theme song in reserve for an encore that they more than earned and fully deserved, before hurtling across the small room to meet, greet and sell what looked like lots of merchandise to many new fans they made in the previous hour, and quite a few old ones too.

While I’m here, it would be impolite not to mention IDestroy’s two supports on the night. They changed from venue to venue, but at The Grace it fell to Flesh Tetris and Junodef to get the event underway.  Junodef are spoken highly of by many people, including our very own Keira Anee, and the laid back low key (and self-proclaimed) ‘sad love songs’ of this fast-rising trio provided a compelling curtain raiser to the non-stop drive of the headliners’ set. I look forward to gushing effusively and in greater detail about them in print on a future occasion…