Idlewild at Barrowlands, 27/11/15

After the release of their most critically acclaimed album in over a decade earlier this year, Idlewild are on a victory lap tour of the country after a pair of sold out ABC shows back in spring.

Choosing to delve deep into all corners of their back catalogue, for the evening’s show they choose to open for themselves, performing a short acoustic set before the main electric show.


It still works on a Friday night Barras crowd out for a good time, even with crowd favourites ‘American English’ and ‘These Wooden Ideas’ sounding a little quieter than usual.

The response is hymn-like, with a hushed crowd politely and hauntingly singing along to the closing refrain of ‘American English’ and echoing every word to ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction.’

After a short break, they return energised and plugged in, in every way imaginable.

There is something different to those earlier ABC shows – where before there was a calculated self-awareness that this resurgence may not last forever, on this occasion the band really let go and throws themselves into every song.

For a start, this feels like a rock show, with Rod Jones covering the stage with his frantic soloing, and plenty of crowd pogoing on those tracks with anthemic choruses like ‘Live in a Hiding Place.’

Just as Jones gets caught up in the moment, so too does Roddy Woomble, displaying elements of that earlier aggressive sound, letting those screams come out on ‘Idea Track’ and ‘A Film For The Future.’

The amazing thing is how well songs like ‘Captain’ sit alongside ‘Utopia’, showing a beauty and the beast element to what Idlewild is in 2015.

‘Utopia’ is beautiful, with such a melodic chorus it is hard to imagine it coming from a band once described as a set of stairs falling down a set of stairs.

‘Left Like Roses’ is equally majestic, and has earned its place alongside early slower staples like ‘Quiet Crown.’

The great news is that Idlewild are back on an upward trajectory – this is the eleventh time the band has played the Barrowlands, but it is also the first time they have done so in eight years.

On the strength of tonight’s stellar, energetic, and genuinely exciting set, there is so much life left in the masters of Scottish melody.

Ending on a celebratory moment with a rousing ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’ gets the sold out crowd jumping, screaming, and dancing – Idlewild have not been this important in years.

Words: Scott Wilson


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