Idlewild @ The Annandale Hotel, Sydney, 21st February 2003

Photo © Gig101 2003

Idlewild certainly have reason to be cheerful these days. Their last album, ‘The Remote Part’, is shifting bucket loads, they’ve just headlined an NME Awards show and they’re in Sydney, on what is the penultimate night of their Australian tour. Thanks to single ‘You Held the World In Your Arms’ receiving airplay on Sydney’s alternative station Triple J, the band are able to sell out two nights at the 400 capacity Annandale Hotel.

The Antipodean crowd are not entirely sure what to expect from this Scottish five piece – the alternative press have focused on their ‘unpredictable’ live shows of days gone by, as well as highlighting the acrimonious departure of bassist Bob Fairfoull. After two forgettable support bands, Idlewild eventually swagger on stage at 10.30pm, and rip into what turns out to be an unforgettable set. The crowd are treated to a taste of Idlewild old and new. The best of the back catalogue is showcased, with singer Roddy Woomble declaring that they’ll play a ‘selection of songs’ from their past albums.

Tracks such as ‘I’m A Message’, ‘Little Discourage’ and lost classic ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ are delivered with a renewed vigor and are received with rapturous cries of approval. Their last outing, ‘The Remote Part’ was a near perfect album, a fact that is cemented by explosive renditions of its highlights. ‘(I Am) What I Am Not’ and current single ‘A Modern Way Of letting Go’ show that Idlewild are more than just a melodic, radio - friendly outfit that they have often been labeled and virtually bring this tiny room to its foundations. The delicious harmonies of ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ and ‘American English’ have the crowd literally gasping for more. One thing’s for sure, Fairfoull’s departure has turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise – now a fully fledged five piece, their live sound has been beefed up tremendously, with a lot of the older material sounding like it’s had an expensive makeover. Even before epic set closer ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’ is complete, people are inquiring about tomorrow night’s show. Australia’s clearly been won over, all they have to do now is crack the notoriously difficult American market and they’ll have achieved world domination. Easier said than done of course, but on this form, it would take a brave man to bet against them doing so.

Set List

  • You Just Have To Be Who You Are

  • (I Am) What I Am Not

  • Little Discourage

  • You Held The World In Your Arms

  • I’m A Message

  • Tell Me Ten Words

  • A Modern Way Of Letting Go

  • These Wooden Ideas

  • Happy To Be Here

  • When I Argue I See Shapes

  • Century After Century

  • Live In A Hiding Place

  • Roseability

  • Rusty

  • A Film For the Future

  • American English

  • Listen To What You've Got

  • In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction

    Jeremy Lloyd