Music review: Almost Nothing, Stereo, Glasgow

Almost Nothing may have the feel of a side project, but on this evidence it might be one with enough popular appeal to work on bigger stages, writes David Pollock

Almost Nothing, Stereo, Glasgow ***

The Almost Nothing project, reported Idlewild singer and prolific solo artist Roddy Woomble from the Stereo stage, is a hangover from the days of lockdown-era remote working, which he rechristened to differentiate it from other work he’s released.

“That was probably a mistake,” he noted, to laughter from the crowd – actually a pretty healthy audience for this compact, subterranean space. Yet they got the joke about brand recognition being all-important when it comes to selling gig tickets, from a guy who’s no stranger to filling concert halls with his other band.

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The minimal stage arrangement is built mostly around Woomble’s vocal and the keyboards and electronics of fellow Idlewild member Andrew Mitchell, aka visionary cross-genre producer Andrew Wasylyk. The pair faced one another onstage, with occasional guitar contributions from either Mitchell or London-based producer Le Junk.

Last year’s debut album formed the majority and the heart of the set, and some of these songs – including the lounge-sounding easy listening of Dialogue Trails and the synthetic balladry of If Not Tomorrow – were merely pleasing. Others, however, worked really well on the live stage, including the tight, Abbaesque groove of Returning Shadows, the Balearic quasi-house of Better Than You Belong and the breezy, bittersweet sunshine pop of Anything Whatever.

Given the extent of Woomble’s back catalogue, the set-padding was for many the highlight, including stripped back versions of his own Every Line of a Long Moment and My Secret is My Silence, and Idlewild’s I'm Happy to Be Here Tonight and The Remote Part.

Almost Nothing has the feel of a side project, but a handful of the songs here sounded close to not just a fresh new direction from Woomble, but also one with enough popular appeal to work on bigger stages.