Friday, 8 January 2010

655 IDLEWILD, Sons And Daughters, Bristol Academy, Sunday 10 April 2005

The continuing rehabilitation of Idlewild... after the bloody impressive acoustic rendition of the new album, I was keen to see it played "plugged in", as it were, so this was quite an eagerly awaited show. So much so that Rachel and I had lots of company for the journey! Parked up in Trenchard Street car park (a mistake, as it turned out later) and got a drink in the Hatchet while the big queue dissipated.

Got in the venue at 7.45, just as support Sons And Daughters came on. They were a chameleonic bunch, drifting between Throwing Muses-esque rants, Fiery Furnaces quirkiness and the Morricone spaghetti Western-isms of their best number - which still wasn't that great (the biggest dwarf in the forest, I commented!).

The place was near to capacity - amazingly this one hadn't sold out in advance, judging by the touts selling tickets, "cheaper than the box office" outside, although it must've sold out on the door. Took a place on the viewing platform, stage left, for Idlewild's entrance.

The new album "Warnings/ Promises" is a corker, another progression of their recent slowing-up policy, which showcases the plaintive, Irish folk-tinged melody of their work, with a touch of Americana also reminiscent of "Green"-era REM. This also translated into the live environment - opener "Love Steals Us From Loneliness" carried much of the soaring pomp and majesty of the recorded version, but none of the increased velocity one might expect "live". If anything, it seemed slower!

A couple of oldies followed, getting the mosh moving but sounding slower too, but also fetchingly ragged and ramshackle. Glad to see that touring with uber-bores Coldplay hadn't dulled Idlewild's spiky edges! In fact, this was a well-chosen and well-paced set; more frantic oldies like "When I Argue I see Shapes" were juxtaposed with touching, tender newies such as "I Understand It" and the majestic "American English". Even better, though, was "El Capitan", the centrepiece of the new album and a Single Of the Year contender - if they're wise enough to release it! The apogee of their output to date, in my view, it's personal and anthemic in equal measure. Lovely.

This however was surpassed tonight by the encore, a ragged, raucous run-through "I Wanna Be Sedated", which da Brudders Ramone - all gone now - would surely have approved of. A touching "Goodnight" and a great set was done. Not the night, though; the gig conclusion coincided with the neighbouring Colston Hall chucking out, and it took 45 minutes to clear the car park! D'oh!

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