Music review: Idlewild, Barrowland, Glasgow

Having achieved the distinction of playing the venue 10 times in a career stretching back to 1995, Idlewild were entitled to strike a more casual posture than most at Glasgow’s famous ballroom. Roddy Woomble – a frontman who spent a considerable part of his formative years rolling about yowling wildly – has these days taken to singing with a hand tucked in his pocket and strolling off into the wings during instrumental breaks to let the band take focus.

Idlewild
Idlewild

Music review: Idlewild, Barrowland, Glasgow ****

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Years and experience have mellowed this Edinburgh formed alt-rock institution in such a way that a fiddler, Hannah Fisher, has become a regular part of their live line-up, adding a skirling, folkish flourish to the likes of You Held the World in Your Arms and Live in a Hiding Place. Woomble practically crooned the drowsy coda of Dream Variations, the opening track from their eighth and latest album Interview Music.

But maturity has dulled none of Idlewild’s splintered melodicism nor dampened their evergreen appeal. The full-throated mass singalong that greeted American English provided a stirring reminder of the band at their most anthemic. A slowed down and beefed-up version of rawboned early single When I Argue I See Shapes proved that no part of their back catalogue can’t be retooled for the fiddle era.

A cover of Frightened Rabbit’s Head Rolls Off paid warm tribute to the band’s late frontman Scott Hutchison, whose songs often proudly bore Idlewild’s influence, before a run of more early singles including Everyone Says You’re So Fragile and A Film for the Future invigoratingly reignited some of their fury of old. - Malcolm Jack