O2 brixton academy

Harry Styles has entered his imperial phase – but his music still has no distinct identity

At the turn of this century, looking back on the late 1980s when the Pet Shop Boys could do no wrong and everything they touched turned to platinum, Neil Tennant coined the concept of a musician’s ‘imperial phase’. You can be hugely popular at other times in your career – you can sell just as many records – but the imperial phase is something different. The imperial phase is when an artist isn’t just selling records; it’s when approval of them has reached such a pitch that they can do no wrong. It’s when every magazine and newspaper uses any excuse to run photos of them, when their peers garland

Triumphant: Idles at the O2 Academy Brixton reviewed

The single thing you don’t want when you are beginning a run of four shows in a prestige venue, with reviewers out in force, is for it all to go tits up at the start. Which is precisely what happened to Idles as they opened their Brixton run. On came the band, up started the throb of the opening song, ‘MTT 420 RR’, and off stalked singer Joe Talbot. Back he came. Off he went. Back he came. Off he went, clearly dealing with some technical issue. The rest of the band carried on, but given that until Talbot starts singing, ‘MTT 420 RR’ is nothing but a monotone drone,