Live Review: Idlewild @ Leeds Beckett University

Idlewild for me have always been overlooked when discussing great British bands of the late 90s and 00s. The cult status Scottish alt-rockers have evolved a great deal over their career, from the raucous angular punk of ‘Hope Is Important’, through to the more mainstream and REM-esque ‘The Remote Part’, the latter boasting huge critical acclaim and also the bulk of their most successful material.

After a brief flirtation with a more folk inspired sound and then on to what most fans though was a permanent hiatus, Idlewild were back on stage in Leeds on the back of their most diverse and progressive new record Interview Music. After a succession of rave reviews for the new offering it was easy to see why the five piece were in high spirits when they broke into the psychedelic opening track ‘Dream Variations’. The response from the floor must have also been welcome after such a while out of the saddle.

With firm favourites ‘Roseability’ and ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’ the band were reminiscent of their early days with guitarists Rod Jones staggering around slashing at his fender and drummer Colin Newton’s driving beats. While Singer Roddy as calm and collected as ever with his soft Scottish brogue addresses the masses in-between songs.

The set list continued to not disappoint, mixing the old and new seamlessly with the crowd responding in kind.

This was definitely a crowd pleaser of a set but I would have loved a bit of the very loud early stuff a la ‘Low Light’ or ‘Four People do Good’. The band worked their way through belters such as ‘Make Another World’, ‘American English’, ‘Fragile’ and ‘El Capitan’ before a brief stoppage.

Five minutes later Rod whips into the opening notes of ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ and the crowd go mental. Followed by the brilliantly spikey ‘Film For The Future’ the crowd are left reflective with the beautiful ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction’ to wander away into the rainy West Yorkshire night very satisfied.

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