Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Space Between All Things

Idlewild @ Irving Plaza 9/7/05
I went to see Idlewild on Wednesday night. I'd looked forward to this show for a long time, getting tickets several months ago once I found about it. I was excited about it because Idlewild are one of my favorite bands and because they haven't played these shores in over 2 years (not counting a few acoustic gigs in LA last year). Their excellent new album Warnings/Promises, which you can buy here, was released in the UK back in March and as I got the import (luckily Amazon gave me a $30 credit and I used most of it to buy it so I didn't have to pay the exorbitant import prices), I've been able to listen to it since then though it just came out in the U.S. in August. After a so-so opening set by Inara George (the daughter of Lowell George of Little Feat), who contributes backing vocals on their new album (including the brilliant single and opening track "Love Steals Us From Loneliness"), Idlewild came on and at first they were a bit underwhelming as it took them a few songs to find their groove. Overall, the older songs, including (surprisingly) "Film for the Future" from their debut album Hope is Important and the rousing rockers from 2000's classic 100 Broken Windows ("Little Discourage", "Roseability" and "These Wooden Ideas", though unfortunately no "Actually It's Darkness", "I Don't Have the Map" or "Mistake Pageant", though "Bronze Medal" was played, which was a nice surprise) along with several great ones from 2002's The Remote Part (especially "A Modern Way of Letting Go" and the beautiful and seriously underrated "Live in a Hiding Place") went down a lot better and had much more energy than the more understated and mellower material from the new album. The big exception was a prolonged, psychedelic version of "The Space Between All Things" (my favorite song on the new album), which was dedicated to my friend Jack Rabid, a long-time supporter and champion of the band who also understand how truly great and underrated they are, especially in America. Perhaps it takes time to incorporate these more subtle songs into their live repertoire or they're best when they're rockin' out more, but either way it should be interesting to see how these songs come off the next time they play here.

Though it lacked the sheer power and intensity of their shows here back in 2003 (including their last Irving Plaza appearance and their set at the Siren Festival that year), it was still a welcome return to New York for one of my favorite bands.

Ultraggrl also went to the show. You can see her review and a bunch of comments (including one of mine) here.


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