Thursday, 12 November 2009

752 IDLEWILD, Idlewild Acoustic!, Bristol Fleece, Saturday 18 August 2008

The final Saturday of 2 weeks Summer leave saw the return of our perennial gig favourites Idlewild! A "slight return", this; no new records to push, and a smaller venue than they'd played before, plus (as we noted when we arrived at 8.15) no tourbus, just a transit van with Glaswegian markings! Does this then find Idlewild on the way down... and out? Horrors! Such fears, however, were allayed due to the sell-out nature of this gig, plus a chat with drummer Colin on the merch stand, who confirmed new material was in the offing for 2009, and that they were still just having fun getting out and playing.

This was underlined when the support took the stage at 9.15. As Rachel had correctly surmised, Idlewild supported themselves! Thus we were regaled with "acoustic" versions of "You Held The World In Your Arms", the wonderful "American English", "When I Argue I See Shapes", and a touching sing-along "El Capitan", again underlining the superb REM-like songcraft of this enduring band, in this stripped-back treatment.

"We'll be back later to play loud," said Roddy, a jovial presence throughout, and just after 10 he was as good as his word, Idlewild re-announcing themselves with an impressive ragged salvo of "Competition For The Worst Time" and "No Emotion", playing it loud and raw and caring not a whit for the variable sound, but feeding off the considerable enthusiasm of this knowledgeable crowd.

Early doors, they played a smattering of "B" sides, partly in support of the recent "Scottish Fiction" singles collection, and partly, Roddy informed us, in practice for a forthcoming week-long series of Scottish gigs, where they're planning to play everything they've ever recorded! "There has to be some demand for that in Scotland," said Roddy. There's some demand for it down here as well, Rod...

So this was once again the ragged punk rock Idlewild, the early, breathless, playing-too-fast Idlewild, hyped up, hyper and amphetamine fast. A "Roseability" rocked the house, "Little Discourage" was a strident sing-along, but the defining moment of this fun set was a supersonic "Last Night I Missed All The Fireworks", a Ramones-like exercise in simple, delicious dumbness, rock'n'roll at its most brilliantly basic. "A Modern Way Of Letting Go" climaxed this ragged diamond of a set, after which we got caught in a terrific rainstorm on the drive home. So what, this one was well worth the effort!

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