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  gig reviews -may 05

Idlewild
17.4.05, Nottingham Rock City 

At one time Idlewild were expected to become the next huge British act to take the world by storm but for some unknown reason that job ended up in the hands of Coldplay. It has now been 3 years since Idlewild’s last album “The Remote Part” and during that time they seem to have become the forgotten heroes of British music. But thankfully 2005 is the year when they return to once again light up our music scene.

 

Tonight the venue is absolutely rammed with fans that still remember the band’s louder and faster days while the rest are those people who have recently fallen in love with the new musical direction, which Idlewild have been praised for following.

 

With a back catalogue of four quality albums to fall back on Mr.Woomble and company have a wealth of tunes to delight us with. Tonight sees a huge chunk of the classic album “100 Broken Window” being played for our entertainment with the likes of “Wooden Ideas” and “Roseability” sounding especially exciting and fresh as they did when they first hit our radios all those years ago. There’s also enough tracks played from each album to satisfy every member of the audience whether they enjoy the hard-hitting “A Modern way of Letting Go” more or the beautifully reflective “American English”.

 

There are also plenty of tunes from new album “Warnings/Promises” on display with upcoming single “I Understand it” demonstrating how the band may have grown and developed musically but still managed not to lose touch with their fan base. Each new song fits perfectly in with the rest of the set, which is truly exceptional. On tonight’s performance there is no reason why Idlewild cannot go on to even bigger and better things. If they have slipped your mind it’s about time you reminded yourself how first-class this band really are.

Simon Glacken


Slint
1.3.05 - The Forum, Kentish Town

Ever since the Pixies started the reformation trend early last year it seems everybody's at it. Even the original line-up of Dinosaur Jr will be back on stage together this summer - who'd of thunk it? However, not even Boston's finest can hold a candle to Slint in the unlikely reunion stakes, a band few could claim to have heard of, let alone have seen play live during their heyday. Yet here I am, 14 years after their demise, alongside several hundred devotees, clutching a ticket in my sweaty paw and wondering what on earth to expect.

There's a strange kind of tension tonight that I've never previously experienced at a gig, and this sensation only intensifies as the band silently slope onstage and pause for what seems like an age before lurching into a thunderous "For Dinner...", a song that defines the term "ominous". From there on in we're treated to a selection from both of the bands' albums, and - let me tell you - you don't know the meaning of the word "precision" until you've heard the entirety of "Spiderland" played note-perfect: this is one well-rehearsed band. In which case, are the lengthy gaps between songs simply a case of clever theatrics rather just plain rustiness? The crowd certainly isn't sure - one frustrated punter even goes so far as to shout out "Play something!" as we stand there in the dark waiting for the next song. The band don't respond - in fact there is no audience interaction whatsoever apart from a gruff "Thanks" now and again from singer Brian McMahan. This was always a group shrouded in mystery and a decade and a half later nothing has changed. As "Good Morning Captain" comes crashing to a halt and the last dying shards of feedback echo around the room, I can't shake the feeling that tonight raised as more questions than it answered. Still, I'm glad I had the opportunity to be there.

Will Columbine


Coachwhips + Kill Yourself + Brown Owl
The Fenton, Leeds

John Dwyer is a clearly a man possessed. With his band, the Coachwhips, he snarls and rasps, struts and ghurns all at a colossal pace. Accompanied by keyboardist Val Tronic and drummer Mat Hartman they manage to create short urgent garage blues songs that are a bit like being continually pummelled in the face…but by someone you really love. There set is frantic with the music roaring from a column of crappy amps on the room’s floor by which the three play. Songs never really last more than a couple of minutes opting rather for sort high intensity blasts. As this goes on Dwyer sucks his mic into his mouth and growls along whilst leaning, pushing and generally cajoling the audience. Beer it thrown, equipment is destroyed (both by the band) and we are shown that a punk spirit does still reside in the music world.

Warming up for them before hand we’d had the privilege of both Brown Owl and Kill Yourself. Tight guitars and music you want to dance to but can’t due to odd timer signatures are the order of the day. Brown Owl remain one of my favourite local live acts and their mathy rock never fails to remind me why.

It was also a genuine pleasure to see Kill Yourself as well whom, since Giles’ move to Scotland, have been sadly largely absent from Leeds live scene. They show us though that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder as the music clangs and pulses along sort of occupying the ground between Jesus Lizard and Shellac, although of late their music really has begun to find a sound very much their own. An exhausting and certainly exhilarating night of music, exactly how it should be.

Luke Drozd