February 4th | Thekla
Photos: Craig Simmonds
It’s time to rock the boat. Powered by strong values and millennial melancholy, IDER strolled onstage with a combination of nerves and excitement. Their debut album, Emotional Education perfectly encapsulated a varied snapshot of their lives growing up together. Jetting from body image to relationships to anxiety, they covered a wide breadth of difficult topics with surprising maturity. Morphing these into a live concert was a challenge that they undertook with ease.
Beginning with ‘Mirror’, they offered up a liberating call to arms for all those with little confidence at looking at themselves. This served as the best metaphor for the duo – they regularly switched sides every couple of songs to keep things fresh. The chemistry onstage was palpable; neither took the spotlight. The constant call of “heal me” sung by both Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville clearly highlighted the fragility behind the music. The most impressive part about them is how they collaborate so neatly onstage to create the perfect synergy.
The antithesis to this was ‘Brown Sugar’, a lustful number openly celebrating female sexuality. It made for a thrilling slow burner that built up with their united vocals singing, “I’ve been feeling kind of anxious when I get undressed”. It served as a stark reminder of the harsh judgement a woman can place upon herself.
With these types of statements, you can tell that they are the sole writers of their work, especially when it came to ‘You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You’. The directionless feeling that filled their young years translates into a soft rock earworm that digs deep. On the flipside, ‘Body Love’ was a spiralling echo chamber of piano that dissected the notion of not feeling comfortable with your own image.
‘Clinging to the Weekend’ is a track that Somerville professed writing on the back of a receipt after coming back to London from a weekend in her hometown, Birmingham. If you’ve ever wanted a thumping anthem that grips the heartache of one-dimensional love, this is the anthem for you.
Their brand of pop is one that focuses on the probing insecurities of every human being approaching their mid 20s. Take ‘Swim’, with the chorus of “Swim harder move faster, I’m so afraid of failing”. This raw interior strife shone through every performance of the night.
You can tell that they have been working together for six years and that all of these songs have been extracted from their personal experiences together. Each intertwined co-written anecdote drops with the same impact. They engage everyone, not just women. To pigeonhole them as a girl group would undermine their talent. Instead you see a pair of firm friends that attract a varied audience through their own honesty about battling their own demons.
A recently-recorded cover of ‘I Would Die For You’ by Prince solidified a vibrant evening that delved into a myriad of themes that on paper don’t seem that danceable. But the passion poured into their set overcame the sadder moments, moving the crowd emotionally and physically. Never has a band understood their own audience better than IDER do.
See the video for ‘Wu Baby’ here: