Barrowland Ballroom Reviews

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Idlewild appear amazingly calm as they stride out on the stage before a sold out 2,000-strong baying Barrowlands mob. This is possibly the scariest gig they'll ever do - it's not just home turf, it's the Barras, "possibly the best venue in the world" according to the beer company banner by the back bar upstairs and virtually every band who have played this city.

'Last Night I Missed All The Fireworks' is the song that the front row are screaming for, but they're denied and it's not because the Edinburgh boys have traipsed off in a "more melodic" direction or are too far gone on their 80s odyssey, though shades of Psychedelic Furs and the Bunnymen loom large, not least on the two new songs the 'Wild are playing on these dates.

It could slide into the shape of tonight's set, which gets as skewed and spiky as 'Four People Do Good' and an abrupt holler of 'Captain'. But the raw and unrefined Idlewild who ripped through the NME.COM tour the other year have grown up, though that doesn't mean the wave after wave of crowdsurfing kids will ever find themselves chin-stroking. There's more than enough moshability to go round tonight.

Frontman Roddy Woomble isn't saying too much, but as he eyes the drenched mass of punters before him (a beer fight before the band take the stage ensuring anyone who isn't already sweat-soaked from the frantic Turn support set is nice and damp anyway) the pixie grin says it all.

With Graham Coxon as patron (having toured in the Blur strummer's band during the summer) guitarist Rod Jones has grown in confidence, and he is singing his heart out on backing vocals, choirboy cuteness and teen-spirited spite in equal measure. Some of the older songs have been reworked and beefed up with the backup of Jeremy from Peeps Into Fairyland. Predictably it's "the hits" that induce the most fevered response - 'I?m Message', 'When I Argue I See Shapes', 'Little Discourage', 'These Wooden Ideas' and "single of the week" 'Roseability'.

Rod 'n' Roddy croon beautifully through a fragile Dougie and Fran-style acoustic version of 'I'm Happy To Be Here Tonight', before screaming into set closer 'You Just Have To Be Who You Are' which has become a hypnotic psycho-thrash-out, a writhing, spitting, yet controlled explosion that whips them off stage in almost unseemly haste. They've done it then. Four (well, five) people do good.


 This Review by Vicky Davidson was Originally on the NME Review Page



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