Idlewild – Glasgow, O2 ABC - 19 December 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Elizabeth and Allan Maxwell   
Friday, 29 December 2017 04:40

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the release of album 'The Remote Part', Idlewild announced they were going to play the 2002 album in full at Glasgow's O2 ABC. Due to phenomenal demand for tickets, they announced they would play a second night in Glasgow and also managed to squeeze a London date in as well.


I arrived at the venue early and it was already half full. I was instantly hit by the audible buzz of anticipation that was building in the room already as soon as I walked in. I was intrigued by what was to come from the support act as I have to admit I had no idea. The stage appears to be set up for an acoustic and vocal set and I knew one of the artists was a poet, but I was wondering how they were going to make it work as a live set.


Scott Hutchison


First to take to the stage, amid some panto banter is Scott Hutchinson, the bold frontman of Scottish indie band Frightened Rabbit. He walks on stage to laughter from the audience. After he runs through a few acoustic tracks he keeps up the between song banter excellently. “Hows everyone feeling?” he asks and launches into some more panto banter which was met with shout outs from the audience like the classic “he's behind you”. He jokes that he thought about playing Idlewilds whole album but he might leave this till tomorrow night. Hutchinson is a funny guy and his vocals are powerful and clean. The crowd warmed to him immediately and the buzz continued to rise.


Next Hutchinson introduces award-winning poet and co-founder of micro publisher Neu! Reekie! Michael Pedersen on stage. He's here to perform poetry from his new book 'Oyster' – a collaborative effort between the two close friends showcasing a collection of Michaels poetry and Scott's illustrations. He says “it's about average day-to-day oyster licking scenarios” full of “shagging and masturbation”.   As Pedersen runs through a few of his poems the room falls silent as they listened to his delivery of these, complete with dramatic pauses, he captivates the audience with his work. This was the first time I have ever heard poetry read on stage before and it was certainly a unique way of opening a show.




Now comes time for our old friends Idlewild take to the stage. The packed venue comes alive. The band walk on set complete with a huge backdrop of the album cover and there is roars of “We love you” from the army of loyal fans. the band respond by ripping into the intro with 'Little Discourage' which brought energy to the room as the excitement soared. 'Roseability' from the album '100 Broken Windows' was met with an enthusiastic call and response reaction from the fans which started to lift the roof.


As the band launch into playing 'The Remote Part' , the bands most acclaimed album, it's easy to see why the album receives the praise that it does. From opener 'You Held the World in Your Arms' with Hannah Fishers flawless violin skills taking up the part of lead guitar, to the powerful “A Modern Way of Letting Go” and “(I Am) What I Am Not” every song has the potential to be a single. The crowd are given the chance to rest their legs with 'American English' and the crowd belted back every word at the band, in fact the belting back of every lyric never let up the entire evening nor did guitarist Rod Jones' energy. He runs around the stage as if they've never been away. The addition of Hannah Fisher on violin with her backing vocals adds an extra depth to the music.


Frontman Roddy Woomble has a stage presence which has an endearing shy humbleness to it. He spends a lot of the time performing with his side or back to the crowd, casually strolling around stage with one hand in his pocket.   He looks relaxed and devoid of any nerves. Through instrumental parts he leaves the stage to allow the others to have their moment. He takes time out to thank the fans for coming and for the fast ticket sales adding it was something they hadn't anticipated.




The band leave the stage for a short moment and are immediately launched into a mammoth seven-song encore. (If it wasn't for the curfew I think the band would have happily continued to play on). Playing hits from the impressive back catalogue like the beautiful 'El Captain' and the authentic feel of 'Come on Ghost'. There really was something for everyone tonight, whether old or new fans.


It is a huge testament to the album that it can hold its own as a live set. There was a theme of maturity and nostalgia tonight, from both band and the audience and I feel lucky to have witnessed such a show. Idlewild show to this day they are still a tight band that can keep up with the pace of playing their younger material live even though they have grown into a more mellow sound. As they work on their upcoming album I for one can't wait to hear what the future brings from these guys.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Allan Maxwell/Über Rock. You can see our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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