Music review: Idlewild, Academy, Glasgow

Now performing as a mean seven-piece, Idlewild marked the 20th anniversary of their biggest selling album in style, writes Fiona Shepherd

Idlewild, O2 Academy, Glasgow ****

Idlewild lost their puppy fat many moons ago yet there was a sense of time standing still as they marked the 20th anniversary of their third and biggest selling album, The Remote Part, with band and songs equally well preserved.

Inevitably, there have been changes over the years – Idlewild are a power quartet no more, manifesting as a mean seven-piece machine for this show, collectively comfortable in their skin, whether unleashing mature massed harmonies, striking classic rock poses or beautifully balancing the potentially opposing forces of Hannah Fisher’s violin and guitarists Rod Jones and Allan Stewart's rocking sensibilities.

Idlewild singer Roddy Woomble PIC: Euan RoberstonIdlewild singer Roddy Woomble PIC: Euan Roberston
Idlewild singer Roddy Woomble PIC: Euan Roberston
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The Remote Part is frontloaded with turbo-charged favourites – You Held The World In Your Arms, A Modern Way of Letting Go and American English - but the beauty of this chronological run-through was the opportunity to revisit lesser-sung tracks such as the hearty, soulful, beseeching I Never Wanted – not for the last time coloured with a hint of Smiths-like melody – and the hell-for-leather team effort of Out of Routine, before the closing epic In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction with its moving Edwin Morgan sample.

The second half of the set ranged across their career, encompassing the soaring Dream Variations from their most recent album Interview Music, the mighty Love Steals Us From Loneliness, the punky call-and-response of When I Argue I See Shapes and You Held The World In Your Arms B-side A Distant History, a sturdy thing with an exultant coda, demonstrating Idlewild have strong songs to spare.

Frontman Roddy Woomble briefly showed his age in double-checking that the audience were familiar with the concept of the B-side but the years fell away as they revisited the tech punk of A Film for the Future, one of the oldest songs on parade, written when Woomble, Jones and drummer Colin Newton were teenagers.

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