Ever since their early days, Idlewild have had a ferocious live reputation. Whether it be playing a couple of hundred people in a dingy club or the main stage at Reading, they’d be guaranteed to entertain.
After the release and subsequent promotion of 2000’s Hundred Broken Windows, little was heard of the Scottish foursome on these shores. But with a new single riding high in the charts and the release of their new album scheduled for July, they’re back.
For many people here tonight, it’s their first chance in over 18 months to see Idlewild do their thing – and with the added bonus of a glimpse at some of the new material, expectations are high.
Support tonight comes courtesy of London’s Ikara Colt, kicking and screaming at all before them. The art school foursome unleash a devastating barrage of noise, which although slightly limited in its appeal, is nevertheless entertaining.
Refined isn’t a word that would normally be used to describe Idlewild’s music, but after Ikara Colt’s sonic assault, cherubic faced Roddy Woomble and his manic backing band have a new air of maturity about them. Last year’s tour of America appears to have left its mark. Gone is the wanton air of destruction, and while old songs are still played with the same full-on aggression, it’s the new material that shows best a change in attitude.
Three songs in, and the new single, You Held The World In Your Arms, minus the strings but just as epic, lights up the room. Sitting perfectly between old favourites Little Discourage and When I Argue I See Shapes it is proof that the time away has been well used. Instead of standing still, Idlewild are still up for the fight. From Captain through to 100 Broken Windows, the back catalogue is plundered well, despite a disappointing omission of You Don’t Have The Heart. A couple of new songs are sprinkled teasingly about too, an exciting promise of things to come.
This evening was a strangely life-affirming experience. Any expectations I had for this gig were far surpassed by a band who’ve returned with a new lease of life. Looking as fresh as they did the first time I saw them nearly five years ago, it looks as though four people will be doing good for a little while longer yet.