Concorde 2, 9 March 2010
Who really knows what they were or what they are now? In the earlier days of their career, Idlewild were a dirty, heavy indie band who produced a sound that bordered on punk. In 2002 the Scottish quintet put out their fourth and arguably most popular album ‘The Remote Part’ which made it all the way to number three on the UK album charts. It was a break in tradition for the Edinburgh based rock/indie group who’s sound had apparently mellowed out. The album seemed better crafted and maintained a more easily paced poetic confidence rather than the scratchy and aggressive style they had adopted previously. Tracks such as ‘American English’ and ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ were a sign of an increased lyrical maturity, and perhaps a growing professionalism within the group. However the album was far from a damp squib and had its moments when their older style of crunchy indie came bursting through. Hence it was a confused record, but popular nonetheless.
This is all relevant because ‘confused’ is one of several negatives that I would unfortunately apply to the gig that Idlewild put on for their Brighton based contingent at Concorde 2. They began well with ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’ early in their set, with its high energy guitars, anthem like chorus and angelic string section backing. Alas, this track seemed set the energy bar at too great a height for them to maintain. They repeatedly enacted a code of silence between each track which killed the atmosphere. They responded in exactly the wrong way to what seemed to be a crowd of purists who wanted to hear the older, harder material. Fundamentally it is up to the band which tracks they play and as long as they are played well the crowd should not be too picky. However Idlewild as a unit perhaps should have done a better job of sussing their audience.
Earlier tracks such as ‘Little Discourage’ from their 2000 album ’100 Broken Windows’ brought about rapturous applause, and others brought almost no reaction whatsoever. They wavered inconsistently between old and new and it was never obvious whether they were coming or going. It was a profound lack of structure to the set list that seemed to kill the audience, right up until the encore when Idlewild lead singer Roddy Woomble mumbled ‘we’re going to play some older stuff’ and they finally got it right. Just a little too late.
What did you think of the gig?
Clark: 8.5/10 “They were really tight and the guitarists sounded great!”
Peter: 8/10 “Excellent! They didn’t always get the reaction they wanted but they kept changing it up anyway, great encore as well.”
Gaz: 8/10 “Awesome, really good stage presence.”
Joe: 10/10 “Pretty fucking good, ‘Younger than America’ was incredible.”
Lamp: 5/10 “It was a bit too lack-lustre all the way through, I never knew what direction they were going in either.”
Craig: 8/10 “I thought they were awesome but they should have been more energetic between tracks. My favourite track was ‘Roseability’ from ‘100 Broken Windows.”
Words by James Rowland
Photography by Keith Trigwell