Idlewild - Music Box - 11.3.02

Its a far cry from the last time they played Manchester at the Arena in support of the UNISON Campaign for a National Minimum Wage, but tonight isn't about ego's or any rock star bravado. Its about giving something back to the fans in the intimate surroundings of the Music Box / Rockworld. Its immediately apparent though that Idlewild have escaped any fashionable music scene's with the Nu-metal tweenagers thankfully staying in with a splattering of oldies who caught on when the adult magazines started comparing there second album to early REM.

Kicking off with "Rosability" its good to see that Roddy and the boys have got that fire back in their belly's after a period which saw them heading for a more commercial sound. While Idlewild have always had that punk edge, at times they were in danger of becoming just too indie rock (hence those REM comparisons) and having a residency on the likes of Play UK. Running through the likes of "When I Argue I See Shapes", "Little Discourage" and "Those Wooden Ideas" there was almost a best of feel, which although a crowd pleaser, I for one wanted to hear more tracks from the forthcoming album "The Remote Part".

The new single Smiths flavoured single "You Held The World In Your Arms" along with a track possible called "Same" offer a chance to hear the bands new direction which is essentially a peace offering to the fans of "Hope Is Important" while still appealing to the fans that jumped on board with "100 Broken Windows". With the refrain of "were not going to stay the same" being the focus of the new lyrics its good to see a band who have been allowed to develop over three albums and reach that early potential shown on the mini-album "Captain". You've got to remember that this comes at a time when over the past 5 years bands have been dropped left, right anc centre for not reaching sales targets on their first album...had the record label not had the faith in Idlewild we could very easily have seen the band dropped after their debut album.

With a bad sound system and one of the strangest venues in Manchester it was punk rock in its truest form. While offering a glimpse of the future, I for one can't wait to see them take it to the next level when they play a full tour later in the year.

Alex McCann

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