Almost goes without saying that its a bit of a schlep up to Brum or Wolverhampton at the end of the day for a gig, but needs must. Deeply irked that I missed both the Bristol and Gloucester Idlewild shows earlier because I was away, this trip was a necessity. Furthermore after turning me down on a couple of shows IDS had an evening pass and away we went.
The Slade Rooms (named after... well you know who) is a congenial if a bit pokey venue on the edge of town, with a very small stage and a wide and narrow room. Inevitably being the sad old groupies we are we nabbed a spot at the crush bar and settled in.
Support for the evening was ably given by The Sparrow and the Workshop, a threesome from north of the border (with a dash of Chicago and Wales thrown in). I have to ‘fess up that I am not normally enamoured of female led groups – its a bad non-PC thing I know but somehow it often just doesn’t work for me. First off I thought my prejudice might be held up again but this lot are a little different – they really drive along, a little bit alt-country, a little bit rock a little bit Americana flavour. A couple of songs in and they had me. Their debut release Crystals Fall is out and of course at the end of the gig IDS and I sloped along to the merch stand bought a copy and had a wee chat and the chaps signed a poster or two. Will certainly seek them out again as live they are great stuff and Gregor on drums and vocals is the devil incarnate.
Without too much ado the Idlewild chaps sauntered on stage and took up their spots, Roddy quite properly pointed out the minuscule nature of the stage. IDS commented that they, and especially Roddy looked a bit tired, and I guess after the 40 or so shows they have done in support of Post Electric, they have a right to.
I pondered about how many more times we might get to see them, they have been at this for some time, produced some most excellent stuff but nothing lasts for ever. It was a fleeting thought but the very next day the blog post sort of confirmed my worst fears. A hiatus maybe but they often turn into splits, maybe this will be different. It must indeed be hard if you sense that your time is over, despite a loyal and fervent band of followers, if you sense that it’s a downward trajectory. I had thought that perhaps Post Electric was a project that would knock them back on track but perhaps it wasn’t.
The set, as so often now with their increasingly tight and sharp shows, was a great mix of stuff from across the Idlewild cannon. Some very welcome returns from early albums, some well loved mainstreamers and a smattering of newer stuff. A great set, delivered with polish and attack, they looked like they enjoyed themselves and the crowd certainly did. Idlewild never fail to make me feel good, to bring a sometimes long lost smile to the face, its music that somehow touches a deep place, maybe its associations with times and places maybe its more visceral. This show did all that again. Let’s hope they are just a bit weary, need some time out to recharge and will come back to their loyal followers...
Anyhoo like the girlie groupies we are we hung around, IDS blagged a set list (which he unaccountably donated to me – it’s now pinned on the lads wall of gigs along with the ticket) and we then slid over to the merch stand for the Sparrow stuff. Off home from the dubious qualities of Wolverhampton, half deaf from the unexpected loudness and stoked (ooh get me with the lingo)from perhaps the last Idlewild gig for some time.