Idlewild @ Dundee

Idlewild/The Twilight Sad/Someone else, Dundee, Fat Sam’s Live 20th October

This is one of those gigs which never quite catches fire. It’s not down to either the band or the crowd (who are well up for it) but instead to a sound that seems specifically designed to deaden the impact of Idlewild’s twin guitar attack. Things do improve in the second half of the main set but overall it’s the older and faster songs that fare best. On the night I enjoy ‘Everyone Says You’re So Fragile’, ‘Satan Polaroid’ and ‘A Modern Way of Letting Go’ and ‘In Competition ..’. ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’ remains an outstanding way to close the set, particularly with Edwin Morgan’s monologue used as the coda to the song.

Everyone else enjoys ‘American English’ but I still think it’s a bit shit. I simply can’t understand why such an atypical song can be so popular. Do Idlewild fans really all secretly hope that the band mutate into U2 at some stage?

Although this is a tour to promote the Best of ‘Scottish Fiction’, song-wise the balance of the set is similar to the tour earlier in the year even if the band are plundering a wider selection of older songs by rotation. Which means that this is a good tour for the fans. But the bastards didn’t play ‘A Film For The Future’. Again. Bastards!

Earlier in the night the openers are pretty interesting. However they also suffer badly from a poor sound although in contrast to the headliners they are wild and untamed, but not in a good way. The main vocals are extremely low in the mix and, worse, when the second guitarist sings one song, he is completely inaudible. They could therefore have been announcing their name all night but I just didn’t pick it up. If anyone can tell me who they are though I’d be interested to check them out.

Main support, The Twilight Sad, are magnificent. Perhaps their wash of noise makes them least likely to suffer from sound problems but the fact that the distinctive vocals are audible throughout suggests that the sound guy likes them. There are only 5 songs and in some ways, other than stage presence and volume they add little to the record.

The Twilight Sad

But live ‘That Summer …’ is absolutely stunning and suggests that this band could be capable of scaling greater heights with their second record. Set opener ‘Cold Days …’ is given a starker opening than on record. James Graham’s vocals, backed only by a solitary guitar tone rather than an acoustic, come across as much more warmer and expansive in person.

I would love to see them again. But despite the fact that they are touring for the rest of the year (dates here) and play the Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh on 29th November, I suspect time isn’t going to be on my side.

Finally one complaint about couples in the audience. At one point during the Twilight Sad, this bloke, who spends most of his time in my line of vision trying to hump his girlfriend, cannons into me for no apparent reason. Get a room, sonny. Then later on a different couple push their way in front of me then proceed to lean over talking to each other, in the process partially obscuring my view. I suspect that the Vinyl Villain wouldn’t have been impressed.

Twilight Sad setlist

1. Cold Days From The Birdhouse 2. And She Would Darken The Memory 3. Talking With Fireworks 4. That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy 5. I’m Taking The Train Home

Idlewild Setlist

1. No Emotion 2. I Don’t Have The Map 3. Love Steals Us From Loneliness 4. Make A New World 5. Roseablity 6. I Am A Message 7. American English 8. Little Discourage 9. In Competition For The Worst Time 10. Let Me Sleep Next To The Mirror 11. Satan Polaroid 12. A Modern Way of Letting Go 13. Once In Your Life 14. You’re So Fragile 15. Live In A Hiding Place 16. You Held The World In Your Arms 17. Future Works

Encore – 18. Chandelier 19. Listen To What You’ve Got 20. In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction

A song each from both bands:

Idlewild – In Competition For The Worst Time (from Make A New World) (Buy it)

The Twilight Sad – And She Would Darken The Memory (Buy it)

If you like these songs please support the artists concerned by buying the records and going to their gigs.

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