Idlewild at The Academy, Dublin, 21st March 2015

Saturday night saw the Academy play host to Idlewild. Recently reformed after a five year hiatus, their performance showed while they are no longer the formidable live act they once were, this band still have plenty to offer.

Drawn from their latest album, Nothing I Can Do About It makes for a rather subdued opener to this gig. Not that it’s a bad song but the delivery does it no favours; singer Roddy Woomble looks like a man who’d rather be anywhere else in the world. His habit of leaving the stage for the instrumental parts of the song doesn’t help matters either.  Its followed by You Held The World In Your Arms,one of the band’s genuine ‘hits’ this should kick start proceedings but again the delivery lets it down.  What we get is a poor rendition of a really good song.

Things begin to come to life with Little Discourage, heavier than the preceding songs, it even wakes Woomble from his stupor. It’s a pity they didn’t open with it in fact as from here on the band seem to click into gear. Carry On Ghost, another number drawn from their new album, sounds great in a live setting with its barnstorming outro. Its followed by Roseability ; one of the highlights of the night, this track shows both sides to the bands repertoire merging a massive riff with a delicate pop sensibility. The band delve even further into their back catalogue with  A Film For The Future and Captain. Both serve as a  reminder of how visceral this band were in their early days.

With the mid-section of this gig packed with hard hitting grungey numbers, the back end sees the band embrace their mellower side. The highlight of their more introspective songs is the uplifting  American English– another track drawn from their early-‘00’s pomp. The two song encore draws on the same period featuring the A Modern Way of Letting Go followed by In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction. It makes for a strong finish and makes up for the sluggish start to proceedings.

Saturday nights performance saw a well-rehearsed, finely tuned band put in an impressive performance. And yet it still felt slightly underwhelming. This was mainly due to the bands reputation;  this is an act whose live performances were once described as ‘a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs’. This chaos and intensity was missing on Saturday. With the band twenty years into their career, this might have been asking too much. Likewise, with most of the crowd in attendance the wrong side of thirty, maybe the lack of chaos was for the best after all.