Saturday, April 19th, 2003

The Bronze Medal

I think there’s something to be said for “just-in-time-concert-attendance”. Idlewild was scheduled to go on at exactly midnight last night, and my interest in standing around the club waiting for any longer than necessary was pretty much zero. So – I leave here at 11:30, arrive at 11:50, take in the one-hour show, am back home by 1:30 and that includes a stopover at Burger King for some late-night crap food. So my feet don’t hurt from standing for hours, I don’t stink of smoke too badly and I still got to spend most of my night doing other useless stuff. This is a plan.

So how were Idlewild? Good to very good, moments of almost great. Make no mistake – these Scots rock hard. They’ve got the songs (I said it before and I’ll say it again – no one does anthemic rock like the Brits), charisma (There is no name more rock star than Roddy Woomble!) and the energy. From word go, it was great jump-up-and-down rock and roll, with the set split up pretty evenly between The Remote Part, 100 Broken Windows and Hope Is Important material. They even went back to their debut Captain for a number, if just to demonstrate how their songcraft has evolved since then.

Ironically, it was because of the relentless rocking out that I feel the need to deduct some points from the performance. I think a lot of Idlewild’s strength comes from the dynamic nature of the songs. There’s a lot of valuable complexity that just gets lost when you turn the rectifier stack up to 10 and go – I think that’s my main reservation about The Remote Part versus 100 Broken Windows. Remote Part is more in-your-face whereas Windows demonstratted some more restraint. Last night’s encore closer, “In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction”, pretty much drove this home. It should have been elegiac and lovely, but the delivery stripped it of it’s subtlety and it just fell flat.

At any rate, it was my first real “rock” show in a pig’s age and my ears are ringing suitably from the experience. I still maintain Idlewild are one of the best young bands from the UK right now will only get better. All the ingredients are there, they just need the proper balance.

Some pics from the show here. Scroll to the bottom. These shots were me trying out the ‘hold camera over the head and click randomly’ method of concert photography. While it’s good for clearing audience heads, it’s less precise for framing shots, focusing, making sure the band is doing something worth capturing (shots of singer talking to guitarist between songs are not terribly exciting). I will perfect it, though.

See a terrific 2003 riff on “All Your Base” here. Link from Val, who has redesigned nicely yet again.

It’s looking sunny and warm out today. I think I’m supposed to go over to Sudeep’s this afternoon to play Scrabble or something. I will be sure to post a move-by-move synopsis of that tournament of champions.

np – Luna / Penthouse

By : Frank Yang at 11:03 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. duffy says:

    Hey Frank —

    I just found your site, I really love it.

    I run ..

    We just posted up a review of Idlewild in Columbus if you’re interested: http://…/

    Written by Chip Midnight, whose website you prefer to Pitchfork regarding Uncle Tupelo reviews. :)

    I’ll be hanging around here for sure.