Idlewild, no support
Miss Fliss 19/05/2009
Idlewild are playing with our expectations. The tickets we bought might say Hope is Important New album, but the opening few minutes of their Dingwalls show confusingly involves a not very good song I can't make out, Roseability, and Ghost in the Arcade (and it surely goes without saying how awful the latter is).
Nobody around me seems irked, let alone confused. Am I the only one with alarm bells ringing when Roddy announces: 'We're gonna play some old tunes before the new album', and none of them are from the 1998 opus? Surely, the band aren't going to run through stuff in hotch-potch fashion? So far, this seems a mess.
All becomes comprehensive when there's a clear run of songs 'from the new album'. Looks like it'll be the newie in full first so that we don't all run for the hills after a rendition of Hope is Important. The latter must be the closing set.
'This is from our new album' - we've all feared and shuddered at those words at gigs. I'm afraid I can't report positively about the new material. Being honest, I actually took Make Another World back to the shops when it was released, in severe discontent, something I never do lightly. I'm a longterm fan (since Captain), and I don't want to turn my back on Idlewild, I really dislike the thought - but when the verve and melody has dissipated somewhat… But here I am still.
Are the new songs any bolder? Well, no. in bulk, it's more of the same road - the road that winds pretty slowly and tries to find REM's house and winds up lost in a field instead. With acoustic guitars. There are one or two quite sweet, catchy, possible slow-burner growers that tread this path, however, and I'm keeping my eye on them. But largely, I was left slipping away to the bar, on edge, waiting for the melodic chaos of 1998 Idlewild to reveal themselves. And let's face it, that's what we were all here for.
Hope is Important as a title beats the new one: Post Electric Blues. Blimey, it sounds like Bob Dylan trying to be cool. Or worse - U2! Well, we were fed leaflets about Coldplay's forthcoming gig with Jaz-Z and Girls Aloud just before stepping into the venue (God help us all).
As Roddy said, we knew what to expect next as we knew what tracks were coming, and in what order. So, a brash couplet of You're Lost Your Way and Film for the Future, before it was time for a polite mosh to the punk pop of Paint Nothing (I always thought that lyric was Pay Nothing! and I would sing it in university halls when the thought of tuition fees crossed my mind). When I Argue I See Shapes was pure triumph and joy and grinning chant-along lyrical brilliance. I'm Happy to be Here Tonight was a gem, but not so lonely and sad sounding as on the album - maybe a good thing as there was so much liquid on the floor and coming out of people's pores that there wasn't quite room for tears. It wasn't long before the perfect run of Everyone Says You're so Fragile ('No! No! I'm agile!') and I'm a Message crashed in. These are ideal encore songs, so I didn't want to peak to soon with my moshing, and paced myself. You really can't take up moshing again at the age of 28 and do it for more than three minutes! But give myself heart failure I nearly did. I was crying out for water but there was air to be punched, hair to flail, floor to bounce on. To think, I used to go on like this two or three times a week…
Some of the gig seemed a little too well-brushed to be the scuzzy elation that I know and love on the album. But it would be, so many years on of course. I missed messy energetic Roddy. I missed drunk crazy Bob. The Nirvana-isms of Safe and Sound thankfully gave us chance to slow down and breathe after all that jumping. But Low Light lit the torch paper again and soon picked up the pace, and angry angular shapes were flung. I didn't stick around to the final scorch of an ending, but the job was a good 'un.