Idlewild at Koko
Idlewild’s announcement of a 15th anniversary tour for their album The Remote Part was a good augury for fans wanting to see them live, because it’s still their most popular and best-reviewed work. The celebratory tour was initially planned for Glasgow but phenomenal demand in London prompted them to add a date at Koko.
This was a reasonable venue for the crowd’s size but not for the musical vibe. The former theatre saw the upper levels restrained whilst the crammed ground floor was essentially a bouncy castle, stimulated by mosh-friendly tunes like You Held the World in Your Arms, which elevated spectators may have wished to participate in. They could have done if the concert was somewhere more spacious such as the Brixton Academy (Idlewild performed there when the album was released). Perhaps it was due to the audience rather than the venue itself but, simply put, upstairs was idle whilst downstairs was wild.
What the concertgoers were unified in, though, was seeing a blistering show. Without an intro, the band launched straight into Little Discourage and the enthusiastic reaction made it immediately understandable why a London date was necessary. Vocalist Roddy Woomble belted out “All I need is a little discourage”, using reverse psychology to kick things off.
A gratifyingly random assortment of songs was followed by the main event that was the entirety of The Remote Part performed live. A flag of the album cover adorned the back wall, lit up with an array of ever-changing colours. Once the glorious guitar sonorities of American English – third on The Remote Part – stopped pulsating, Woomble jokingly remarked that it was too early for them to be playing such songs – they’re the hits usually reserved for later. His comment captured the record’s excellence and how it resonated with fans, who were having a blast in the past.
Ripping through the lean, 38-minute album, Woomble frequently had one hand in his pocket and the other on the mic like a self-assured frontman who knew the command his voice had over the room, even if he can’t hit the high notes anymore. Woomble acknowledged that they were powering through the tracklist, stating that it was because they’re “excitable”.
The rest was gravy. An encore of half a record’s length, composed of the best bits from their discography outside of The Remote Part (like the joyful, reverberating performance of Nothing I Can Do About It), closed a nostalgically special show.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit Idlewild’s website here.
Watch the video for When I Argue I See Shapes here: