Idlewild, Ambassador, Dublin, 1st February 2003
I don't think I've ever seen such a diverse crowd gathered to watch one band. There's rockers, indie fans, those older people who still have good taste in music, a few kids and even the odd metaller. And everyone looks happy. It's twenty past ten on Saturday night and one of the best live bands I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing have just walked off stage after performing an outstanding set in front of an almost sold out audience. That band is, of course, Idlewild, those Scottish lads who most people know as "the guys who had a few good songs a while back and who nicked Gavin, from Turn".
Touring on the back of their beautiful 'The remote part' album, they gathered quite a crowd. Could it be that their recent support slot with Coldplay in The Point boosted the public's interest in them? Or could it be because of their "stealing" Gavin from Dublin favourites Turn? Or could it just be that they're a fucking great band that write great songs that appeal to a wide variety of people? Definitely the latter, without a shadow of a doubt.
The band's most recent singles 'You held the world in your arms' and 'A modern way of letting go' were played with reckless abandon. In Roddy Woomble, Idlewild have a great frontman. He may not say much between songs (and when he does it's usually incoherent and mumbled), but when he's lost in the moment, lost in the song, there's no-one like him. Even if The Ambassador had been half empty, or even fully empty, I was left with the impression that he would have put on the same show, fuelled by the same emotion and love for his art.
The crowd responded to older songs like 'When I argue I see shapes' with the same gusto as they did to '(I am) what I am not', 'American English' and 'Little discourage'. 'Roseability' was one of the finest points of the night, with a suitably rocking guitar sound and chants of "I know that that's not enough now" from the crowd. 'In remote part' and the stunningly, beautiful 'Live in a hiding place' slowed the pace but the standard never dropped. My personal favourite 'Rusty' was delivered mid-set and, if the floor of The Ambassador wasn't buckled by the weight of bouncing bodies tonight, then it will never buckle.
While Roddy was the centre of attention for most, there were a few Turn (coat) fans who were positioned to the right hand side of the stage, where Gavin could be seen rocking out with his bass. Obviously unused to such a big stage, he's after slotting nicely into the group. In fact, I've never seen him smile as much. As they were walking off stage a, tri-colour was thrown onto the stage and Gavin left with it wrapped around his shoulders, a fitting way to end a home show. Idlewild are on their way to bigger and better things, but then you probably know that already.