Gig review: Idlewild, Glasgow

AS the packed house confirmed, there are troops of fans who have been champing for the return of Idlewild from their five-year breather.

Idlewild packed the tunes into their comeback set. Picture: John Devlin
Idlewild packed the tunes into their comeback set. Picture: John Devlin

Idlewild

ABC, Glasgow

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They were met with a couple of new members and a non-boring maturity, evident in the casual charisma and calm authority of frontman Roddy Woomble, whose folk-flavoured solo career and collaborations appeared to have influenced his phrasing on the current arrangement of Quiet Crown, now featuring plaintive keening violin as well as the sonorous jangle of guitar.

This was a judiciously paced comeback set, striking a satisfying balance between meaty new material such as Come On Ghost and old favourites including Love Steals Us From Loneliness, its anthemic hook taken up with particular vigour by the audience, plus Roseability and Little Discourage, now bolstered with massed backing vocals and all serving as a reminder of how good this band are with a flowing melody.

New freewheeling Americana number So Many Things to Decide adds to that expansive catalogue, comparing well with the lighters-aloft stadium sentiment of American English, with its distinctly Edge-like guitar.

A roots rock guitar duel between Rod Jones and new boy Andrew Mitchell demonstrated how far Idlewild have travelled in 20 years. Not everyone will 
go for such Yes-meets-Tom Petty jousting but punkier tastes were met with the precision attack of A Film for the Future and the invigorating melodic thrash of A Modern Way of Letting Go.