The Weight of Years

Idlewild/Fatherson – Fat Sam’s, Dundee – 30th December 2010

If you believe recent interviews, by the time you read this, Idlewild will officially be on hiatus with no plans to record or tour. Although it has to be said that last night at Fat Sam’s it looked like Roddy had knocked off a couple of gigs earlier than his bandmates.

Whilst the singer can have a laconic stage presence at times last night that was stretched to the point of indifference. On stage at Fat Sam’s looked like the last place he wanted to be – his only smiles of the night seemed to be automatic polite responses for the audience.

So it’s just as well that his bandmates were somewhat more committed – committed enough to prove that even with a disinterested front man Idlewild remain a reliable live proposition.

Of course these shows were promoted on the basis of a run through of ‘100 Broke Windows’. I’ve mused before on what has brought Idlewild to this point so will confine my comments to the well known issue that these types of shows have – everyone knows what’s coming next. That mitigates fairly seriously against building up a sense of momentum and excitement.

Hearing the songs back to back though demonstrated the strength of thesongwriting on the record even if both ‘Mistake Pageant’ and ‘Quiet Crown’ were scarcely recognisable for whatever reason.

The LP duly delivered the band finished off the main set with a 6 song greatest hits segment before leaving the stage. Good as it had been up to that point, the show didn’t really become exceptional until the final ‘Everyone Says Your So Fragile’.

The encore matched that with a proto-Stooges take on ‘Captain’ and what looked like the final song ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’. But, no, the band launched straight into ‘A Modern Way of Letting Go’, an apt choice of final number.

In other circumstances, the audience reaction might have tempted the band back on stage, but in truth they seemed relieved to have got the show to its conclusion. If these gigs are to be the band’s swansong, at least for some time, it seems odd that they haven’t made them more of an occasion.

Nevertheless, it’s undeniably the right time for the band to take a break to do other things. Idlewild have released records so frequently and played live so  often, certainly in  Scotland, that I think they’ve been really taken for granted over the last couple of years. A spell out of the limelight may make people appreciate what a good band they really are.

For what it’s worth, I do think they will be back together at some stage and that will be welcome. They’ve never made a bad record (indeed the last two in particular are very much underrated in my opinion) and they’ve always been a great live act.

Idlewild setlist

1. Little Discourage  2. I Don’t Have The Map  3.  These Wooden Ideas  4. Roseability  5. Idea Track  6. Let Me Sleep (Next To The Mirror)  7. Listen To What You’ve Got  8. Actually It’s Darkness  9. Rusty  10. Mistake Pageant  11. Quiet Crown  12. The Bronze Medal  13. You Held The World In Your Arms  14. Readers & Writers  15. Love Steals Us From Loneliness  16. When I Argue I See Shapes 17. No Emotion  18. Everyone Says You’re So Fragile


19. Meet Me At The Harbour  20. Captain  21. In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction  22. A Modern Way of Letting Go

Support came from Kilmarnock’s Fatherson, who seemed like the perfect cross between Aereogramme and Biffy Clyro. They referred at one point to playing to one paying customer at Hustler’s (I can empathise) although it wasn’t clear if he or she was also present last night.

Their quiet/loud rock certainly won them more than a few admirers and with Idlewild stepping aside, there is quite a gap to be filled in the Scottish rock scene.


  1. jc says:

    Happy New Year Mike….and to the missus and the weans as well.

    I’m told tou were spotted pogoing down the front at the TV21/Scars gig the other night while some of us were freezing our bollocks off in Falkirk. Good on you!!!!

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