Idlewild – The Lemon Tree – 29/12/10
Guest contributor David Officer makes his debut on FnS as he tells us what he made of Idlewild’s public re-airing of the classic 100 Broken Windows album when they return to a sold-out Lemon Tree.
Oddly, the two best gigs of 2010 for me both featured bands who’d gone ‘on hiatus’ then went out on tour in December. The first was Canada’s enigmatic post-rock heroes Godspeed You Black Emperor who had seemed unlikely to ever play again, only to reform in order to curate All Tomorrows Parties and fit in a wee tour while in the country, the second was Idlewild, who had only decided to take an indefinite break earlier this year. Seemingly no one pointed out their promotional commitments for the reissue of their seminal 2nd album 100 Broken Windows.
It was only fitting that Idlewild return to the Lemon Tree for this gig, they played the same venue on the original 100 Broken Windows tour and a venue which always seemed perfect for Roddy and co’s energetic alt-rock. Despite strangely opening with City Hall, an ok song from Post-Electric Blues(if it must be a newer song why not Readers and Writers to open?) they righted this wrong by crashing quickly into You Held the World in your Arms and soon we were all 10 years younger and jumping around grinning ear to ear.
I’d seen Idlewild do this type of set before having attended the Hope is Important and 100 Broken Window album gigs during their 5 night run at King Tuts, but this was different. This felt more personal and everyone here knew it. We’d been there 10 years ago and we’d been there every year since but still we cherished that album more than the others. Sure Captain and Hope is Important were more urgent and Remote Part more polished, but 100 Broken Windows just seems more Idlewild.
After a few more greatest hits to get us in the mood, including a frenetic Everybody Says You’re so Fragile, they crack on with the main event. A bearded and fairly gaunt looking Rod Jones summoning the discordant Little Discourage into being, we sing along with every word, we bounce and we smile broadly. Despite recently recovering from a broken collarbone Rod adds an energy to Idlewild which is very much on show tonight, alongside a ropey beard and barely disguised receding hairline.
“Does the album sound as you good as you remember it?” asks a typically shy Woomble, who struggles to really engage the audience tonight but we all know the answer. Yes it does. It still sounds fresh, it still has energy and Idlewild still feel relevant.
These Wooden Ideas crashes into Roseability and the crowd sing louder. By the time the Bronze Medal closes the album we know there’s more to come. Everyone is just having too much fun for it to end there, band included. They come back onto No Emotion and even treat us to a b-side but it’s when they play Captain that they really ignite the crowd, bringing them back down with a touching Remote Part/Scottish Fiction. It could’ve ended there, it really could. We’d have been fine with it but something was missing. Modern Way of Letting Go. It sent us off into the night a sweaty smiley mess and all the better for it.
I know Idlewild aren’t as popular as they once were, but they still have fans who cherish them despite the flaws. Thankfully Idlewild aren’t ready to let go yet, hopefully it’ll be a while before they decide to go on hiatus again even if only for such a short time.
Review by David Officer and pics by Still Burning.