With the recent announcement of the return of the Scottish indie rock band, Idlewild, there follows a resurgence of memories and nostalgia.
The sold-out acoustic performance in the fairy-lit setting of Banchory’s Woodend Barn on October 15 re-affirmed Idlewild’s place as my all-time favourite band. After travelling up from Glasgow, my seat beside my older brother marked my 5th Idlewild gig and a fierce loyalty in the family to support the band wherever they perform, the loyalty of which arguably fuels the band’s dedicated fan-base.
As ‘Little Discourage’ kicked off the evening, this first song choice signalled a night where the audience would be treated to a range of tracks from Idlewild’s back catalogue not typically reserved for live performances.
Billed as an Idlewild Acoustic tour, in the place of crescendos of electric guitars, Rod Jones and Colin Newton took up their seats alongside lead singer Roddy Woomble to treat fans to beautifully executed acoustic renditions of much loved classics. Andrew on the bass guitar, Lucci on the keyboard and Hannah on the fiddle seamlessly integrated with these three members from the band’s original line-up to perform folkier versions of tracks that are better known for their rockier origins.
From the intense lyrics of ‘The Space Between All Things’ to the favourite ‘You Held the World In Your Arms’ with the mesmerising fiddle solo, each song showcased Roddy’s vocal maturity and the range of genres and lyrics adapted by the band over the years.
The set-list became a game of ‘Guess the Introduction’ round between myself and my brother as we raced to name the song that was played next based on a few chords of Rod’s guitar. Whenever either of us would correctly guess the song, we would nod at each other in quiet recognition (in respect of the dignified audience members around us who politely clapped at the end of each song with the occasional ‘whoop’ due to the respectful seated arrangement of the night).
It is this well-known and recognisable element of Idlewild’s choice of songs that resulted in an evening portraying both a mix of well-worn tracks integrated with new vocal harmonies that fitted in perfectly in the spaces where guitars once clashed before.
With the haunting lyrics of ‘The Bronze Medal’ melting into a much-appreciated rendition of ‘Rosability’, it was hard not to sing along out loud to each song…I’ll reserve that for the live shows in Glasgow next year.
After a well-timed musical interlude to allow for stretched legs and replenished cider and blacks, the group came back on stage to deliver flawless performances of tracks including ‘El Capitan’, ‘Love Steals us from Loneliness’, and the acoustic version of ‘Too Long Awake’, in turn highlighting the thoughtful lyrics usually submerged by the overpowering electric guitars.
The evening culminated in the perfect finale, with ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’ allowing the band members to step out of the acoustic-induced soothing lull of the evening into a roaring crescendo of guitars supported by an excerpt of Edwin Morgan’s hauntingly authoritative poetry.
With two new tracks placed amongst the set-list of crowd favourites, the evening signified both the band’s acknowledgement of their fans’ most beloved songs, alongside a promising and much anticipated new chapter as Idlewild prepare for their latest release, ‘Everything Ever Written’.
The Idlewild Acoustic tour, as depicted not only through this evening but by the band’s social media updates, allowed beautiful Highland settings to showcase just how far the band have come. After growing up with each album playing consecutively in my headphones on each walk to school, the next Idlewild release looks set to provide the soundtrack to my walk to and from the workplace.
No matter how many years pass, Idlewild’s music will always provide that feeling of nostalgia that is immediately re-ignited whenever I hear a song. All it takes is a few introductory chords.
Idlewild’s 2015 Tour:
26th February – Strom – Munich
27th February – Luxor – Cologne
1st March – Lido – Berlin
2nd March – Knust – Hamburg
3rd March – Bitterzoet – Amsterdam
7th March – O2 ABC – Glasgow
8th March – O2 ABC – Glasgow
10th March – The Institute – Birmingham
12th March – The Ritz – Manchester
13th March – Roundhouse – London