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Ghost

Resorts World Arena, Birmingham

Friday 15th April 2022

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GHOST – BIRMINGHAM – LIVE REVIEW

It may be Good Friday today but for hard rock fans heading to the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham it’s destined to be a great Friday! That’s because revered group Ghost are in town with their travelling theatre of the macabre.

Opening act on this tour is the American band Twin Temple who appear to have the knack for satanic imaginary and theatrics down much like our headliners. The bands short set is well received from the audience and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for a band who perhaps need to divert some more focus toward the musical side of their act.

Our next support band interestingly has the opposite focus. Whilst the lighting engineer does a great job, the heavy lifting for Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats is done by their music. A pretty experienced band now, they have no issue in delivering a rambunctiously rocking performance. On a night of the dramatic however, they run the risk of being out shadowed.

The reason for the enhanced excitement levels in Birmingham tonight though is because our headline act have managed to perfect both the musical and theatrical sides of their game.

Ghost aren’t an overnight success, they have spent a number of years honing their craft and earning their way into the country’s biggest venues. But now it feels as though they have everything in place to take themselves to the next level.

WATCH ‘CALL ME LITTLE SUNSHINE’ ON YOUTUBE
Ghost – ‘Call Me Little Sunshine’

Read our review of ‘Impera’ from Ghost

New album, ‘Impera’, arrived last month and continues the bands musical evolution into prolific rock hit makers. New tracks ‘Kaisarion’, ‘Hunter’s Moon’, ‘Spillways’ and ‘Call Me Little Sunshine’ are all highlights tonight in a set list that is now wall to wall bangers as the kids would say.

Recent favourites such as ‘Mary on a Cross’ and ‘Kiss the Go-Goat’ mix well with older staples like ‘Rats’, ‘Cirice’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Year Zero’. As we say, musically Ghost have built a formidable catalogue of stupendous live songs.

Combining this feast of musical treats with the well established show that the band are able to deliver with such ease makes them an exciting prospect. With the rock world calling out for new superstars, Ghost are surely amongst the best placed to take on the mantle of the old guard such as Brummie legends Black Sabbath.

An encore of sorts featuring their recent Metallica cover, ‘Enter Sandman’, plus the incredibly catchy finale of ‘Dance Macabre’ and ‘Square Hammer’, sends the crowd into the warm spring evening happy and in awe of the majesty that is Ghost.

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October Drift

Waterfront Studio, Norwich

Monday 4th April 2022

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OCTOBER DRIFT – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

All 📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music

Let’s talk about discovery. It’s always a great feeling when you discover something new that you enjoy, and that is particularly true when it comes to music. Discovering a new song, a new album or a new band to enjoy is one of life’s great pleasures for music lovers.

That is why we created our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify! To help music fans find that new song or artist to really sink their teeth into. Now, October Drift was a familiar name to us from featuring on many a festival poster or recommendation over the years. For some reason however they always seemed to get placed on that ‘to do list’ of acts.

That was until recently when we added their recent single, ‘Airborne Panic Attack’, to our Playlist and a deep dive ensued. So, now it’s the long overdue time to catch the band live!

Listen to ‘Airborne Panic Attack’ on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist

THE HIGH POINTS

With that said we arrive at The Waterfront Studio in Norwich and are greeted by opening act, The High Points. Slightly off-piste from our headline act, the locals add a little funk to proceedings as they get the early attendees warmed up. Finishing their set with two broken strings, the band display great endurance to go with their obvious musical talent.

CHINA BEARS

Our main support act, China Bears, then demonstrate just why it’s important in our journey of discovery to arrive early and watch the supports. The five-piece deliver a sublime set that continues to gain traction until the finale, ‘Sunday’, literally leaves the crowd asking for more.

OCTOBER DRIFT

Not long thereafter though it’s time for our headliners, October Drift, to hit the stage and reinforce just why we felt that excitement when first listening to them. The band absolutely own the stage tonight and their energy levels are infectious as band and crowd bounce in unison.

There is a good mix of older material and new tracks in the setlist tonight and the bands time on stage flies by. That age old adage of time flying when having fun certainly springs to mind, and fun is probably an apt word for this evening; both band and audience seemingly having plenty.

‘Cherry Red’, ‘Oh the Silence’ and ‘Come and Find Me’ are all fantastic tonight, but new track ‘Insects’ in particular sounds huge. The delightful finale of ‘Like the Snow we Fall’ being performed from within the crowd is just the sort of epiphany inducing moment that hammers home our point.

Discovery is a wonderful thing. So, head to shows early, check out the smaller stages at festivals and of course listen to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist. As for October Drift, on tonight’s showing and with their second album on the horizon, the future certainly looks bright.

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Therapy?

Waterfront, Norwich

Saturday 2nd April 2022

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THERAPY? – NORWICH WATERFRONT – LIVE REVIEW

The pandemic certainly has played a number on Anniversary Tours with Therapy?’s ‘So Much for the 30 Year Plan’ Tour becoming a 31 Year Plan and now eventually a 32 Year Plan!

None of that really matters though to the fans packed into the Waterfront in Norwich on a Saturday night. All that really matters to those fans is getting to catch their cult heroes Therapy? in action and having a good time.

Spirits are therefore high as our support act James and the Cold Gun enter the stage to the Kate Bush song of the same name. The band led by James’s Joseph and Biss instantly harness that excitement to create a great atmosphere for their opening set.

Listen to ‘Plug Me In’ from James and the Cold Gun on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist

The band will soon be releasing their debut EP, ‘False Start’, and tonight fans are treated to those tracks and more by a band quickly establishing themselves on the scene. With performances like this, expect to hear much more from the band in the future.

But next we look to the past as Therapy? celebrate their 30+ year career with a carefully curated setlist. It doesn’t take long for the audience to reciprocate the energy of the band, as early numbers ‘Nausea’, ‘Stories’ and ‘Die Laughing’ set the tone for the rest of the night.

WATCH ‘DIE LAUGHING’ ON YOUTUBE
Therapy? – ‘Die Laughing’

After all this time consistently touring it should be no surprise that Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper work so well together. A run of ‘Turn’, ‘Callow’, ‘Trigger Inside’ and ‘Church of Noise’ demonstrating just why on record and live the band have been able to endure longer than most of their contemporaries.

Another reason for their longevity is their ability to still create interesting new music, and next the band treat the crowd to a new track. ‘Joy’ looks set to feature on their next album, which if this track is anything to go by will be another belter.

After ‘Diane’ and ‘Teethgrinder’ close out the main set, the band return for an encore of ‘Knives’, ‘Potato Junkie’, ‘Nowhere’ and ‘Screamager’ much to the delight of the crowd. The band promise tonight to keep going for another thirty years if they can; and with showings like this you wouldn’t put it past them.

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The Mysterines

Electric Ballroom, London

Friday 1st April 2022

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THE MYSTERINES – ELECTRIC BALLROOM – LIVE REVIEW

Having recently reviewed, ‘Reeling’, the debut album from The Mysterines and deeming it “…an early contender for album of the year…” , we felt it necessary to catch the band in the live setting. So we headed out on a wintery Friday to the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

Read our review of ‘Reeling’ from The Mysterines

Many bands have played this venue on route to much bigger things, and with tonight sold out you sense that this is another act on that upwards trajectory!

Opening the evening are two fantastic support acts, with both Fräulein and Coach Party putting in well received performances to get the party started.

Soon enough the lights go out and you can feel the electricity in the air, the excitement of a crowd hoping to witness one of those shows they’ll be talking about in years to come. You know the sort – “Yeah mate, I saw them before they were famous”.

That sense of witnessing something spectacular is immediately amplified as the band lure the audience in with opening number ‘The Bad Thing’, before blasting out the incredible ‘In My Head’.

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The Mysterines – ‘In My Head’

As ‘Reeling’, ‘Old Friends Die Hard’ and ‘On The Run’ quickly follow it is evidently clear to all in attendance that The Mysterines are something special. It’s often said by music writers, that a bands sound is destined for arenas or stadiums. Only time will tell how far this band goes, but tonight their sound definitely is bursting out of this modestly sized venue.

‘Dangerous’, ‘Means To Bleed’ and ‘Life’s A Bitch (But I Like It So Much)’ sound absolutely massive and the crowd reciprocate that energy as the main set comes towards a close.

The venue is again shrouded in darkness as the band perform the stunning ‘The Confession Song’, showing their dexterity and uniqueness. Both the album and the show tonight demonstrate that The Mysterines are no one trick pony, and that makes their future even more exciting.

For an encore we are treated to singer Lia Metcalfe serenading a captivated audience with an acoustic rendition of ‘Still Call You Home’, before being joined by Joni from Fräulein for a very special performance of The Ronettes classic ‘Be My Baby’.

Sending the packed crowd back out into the cold Camden night with their ears ringing, the rest of the band return to fire out the huge ‘Hung Up’. Hopping back on the Northern Line, you can’t help but to look forward to gloating about this show in years to come!

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Enter Shikari

Alexandra Palace, London

Saturday 4th December 2021

Enter Shikari

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ENTER SHIKARI – ALEXANDRA PALACE – LIVE REVIEW

We’re currently counting down our 2021 Album of the Year list on Social Media. It’s somewhat fitting yet frustrating therefore that we are at Alexandra Palace in London for the band that reached number four on our 2020 list.

Enter Shikari released one of the best albums of 2020 in the form of ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’, but have as yet been unable to tour that record due to the ongoing pandemic.

Finally, they now have the opportunity to take that album on the road, but alas the pandemic still has tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, the band take to their Social Media to announce bassist Chris Batten has Covid and is out, but the show will go on. Soon thereafter another post emerges and main support act, Dinosaur Pile-Up are also out as a result of Covid!

Despite all this adversity, the determination of the band shines and the show is on. Nova Twins are the first act on stage and continue to demonstrate just why they are so hotly tipped. Their ferocious, rip-roaring opening slot is instantly enough to justify the show proceeding. The band feel at home on huge stages and by the end of their short set, they have a legion of new fans.

With DPU out of the show, Enter Shikari called on their friends, and fellow St. Albans band Trash Boat answer the call at the 11th hour. DPU are a hard act to replace, but Trash Boat are an act up to the task. After all, their album ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ will likely feature towards the top of our 2021 Album of the Year list!

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ from Trash Boat

They are able to blow away any disappointment at the lack of DPU within minutes of taking the stage. A traditional show of hands for Trash Boat first timers sees most hands in the venue raise, but by the end of their time on stage there is no doubt everybody now knows their name.

The quick flowing evening soon finds us being counted down towards the arrival of Enter Shikari. The venue is sold out and is packed tight towards the front as fans desperately await their heroes.

‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ is an incredible album and it’s only right that it features heavily tonight. That starts from opening track ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ as the band burst on stage to a stunning light show and a blast of confetti.

WATCH ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ ON YOUTUBE
Enter Shikari – ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’

The crowd are truly up for it tonight as are the band. Despite the turmoil of the day and being a member down, Enter Shikari are able to adapt and overcome and still deliver an unstoppable performance.

Older tracks ‘Juggernauts’, ‘Sorry, You’re Not a Winner’ and ‘Mothership’ naturally elicit huge responses from the audience, but so do those new tracks. Highlights of the evening include ‘modern living…’, ‘satellites* *’ and ‘the pressure’s on.’.

Enter Shikari are an innovative and resilient force and tonight is a celebration of many things, but through all of the adversity of not just today but the last year or so, tonight is a triumph of tenacity.

An encore featuring two more new favourites in ‘T.I.N.A.’ and ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ and the always uplifting ‘Live Outside’ closes out another victory lap for a vital band that continue to go from strength to strength.

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Beans On Toast

Three Wise Monkeys, Colchester

Friday 3rd December 2021

Beans On Toast

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BEANS ON TOAST – COLCHESTER – LIVE REVIEW

This is our first visit to Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester and we discover a fantastic little venue above the pub on a vibrant and Christmassy Friday night in the town centre. Our reason for visiting is cult folk singer Beans On Toast, as he hits the road to support new album, ‘Survival of the Friendliest’.

The support slots tonight from local singer Benjamin Brown and main tour support Kitty Liv sail by, which is a complement to both for their delightful performances.

Soon enough it’s time for the man himself to grace the intimate stage and for this tour he is joined by Liv, and Mystery Jets bassist Jack Flanagan to fill out his sound during portions of the set.

The first portion of the show sees the three-piece serenade the audience with a mixture of old and new tracks. New songs ‘A Beautiful Place’, ‘Blow Volcano Blow’ and ‘Not Everyone Thinks We’re Doomed’ take centre stage and showcase his wonderful new album ‘Survival of the Friendliest’.

Read our review of ‘Survival of the Friendliest’

As with all Beans On Toast shows, there are sing-a-longs galore with ‘Watching the World Go By’, ‘I’m Home When You Hold Me’ and ‘The War On War’ all coming early on. Soon its left for Beans alone to break out a number of favourites and rarities such as ‘A Whole Lot of Loving’ and ‘Peter Pan’s Playground’.

Towards the end of the night Liv and Flanagan return for another superb collaboration on songs such as ‘Humans’ and ‘Let’s Get Married Again’ from that new album.

At the end of his encore, Beans On Toast is joined on stage by long time friend and collaborator Frank Turner for ‘The Album of the Day’. A great treat for fans, and evidence that you should expect the unexpected at a Beans show.

A fantastic evening of songs, stories and laughs is closed out with ‘On & On’ which sees the main man backed by Flanagan, Liv and Turner for a truly spectacular finale. Tonight was just further evidence that Bean On Toast is an underground national treasure!

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Stereophonics

Cambridge Corn Exchange

Tuesday 30th November 2021

Stereophonics

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Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, especially when related to music. Take tonight’s show from Stereophonics which is part of the 20th Anniversary Tour for classic album, ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ as an example. Just the name of the album instantly takes me back to high school, instantly takes me back to sitting in my room and pressing play on said album in my bulky old CD player (remember those?).

Yes, musical nostalgia is a truly wonderful thing and is what ensures venues like the Corn Exchange in Cambridge are sold out for this tour.

There is no nostalgia for our young support act, Tom Speight, but after his delightful set, there will surely be many new fans. Speight’s short time on stage allows him to serenade the packed crowd with his marvellously crafted ballads. His gleaming demeanour is reciprocated by his legion of converted followers, as he ensures a superb start to the evening.

Check out our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast

Up next is the nostalgia we speak of, as Stereophonics get straight down to business. Spending the first hour of the night performing the album affectionately known as ‘JEEP’ in its entirety, the band take the audience in a time machine back to 2001; a much simpler time, and a time where the band were dominating the musical landscape.

Monster hits such as ‘Mr. Writer’ and ‘Have a Nice Day’ punctuate an album blessed with quality throughout. Huge crowd reactions naturally also greet the likes of ‘Vegas Two Times’, ‘Step on My Old Size Nines’ and ‘Handbags and Gladrags’.

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Stereophonics – ‘Have A Nice Day’

A short break then sees the band return to the stage to fast forward to the present for a run of tracks include new songs ‘Hanging On Your Hinges’ and ‘Do Ya Feel My Love’ from upcoming album ‘Oochya!’.

Stereophonics have done an incredible job in staying relevant some twenty years post ‘JEEP’. The fact that these dates are intimate shows despite still being large venues says a lot. The band, of course, will return to play arenas and stadiums imminently.

It’s a pleasure therefore to be able to catch the likes of ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, ‘Just Looking’ and ‘Dakota’ as the band return to the stage for a third and final time.

This band has proven themselves to be incredibly consistent both on record and on stage and nights like this are to be cherished. Ultimately tonight is a celebration of the past that also shows that the future remains bright for Stereophonics.

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The Offspring

Wembley Arena

Friday 26th November 2021

The Offspring

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THE OFFSPRING – WEMBLEY ARENA – LIVE REVIEW

As soon as The Offspring announced an arena tour with The Hives in tow, an evening of early 2000’s rock scene nostalgia was destined. With the walk down Wembley Way lit with Christmas lights, with festive music playing, a fantastic Friday night in London is in store. We just won’t mention the tube strike!

Whilst nostalgia is at the heart of the evening, we start off with something new, vital and refreshing. Bob Vylan are earning their stripes. They’ve jumped onto this tour straight from supporting Biffy Clyro last month, and they’ve just announced a headline tour for next year.

Our advice following their performance tonight is to get your tickets for said headline tour as soon as possible. Enjoy them in small venues while you can, because they belong on stages like Wembley Arena. Their politically charged punk ruckus is guaranteed to elicit a reaction one way or the other. Tonight the overwhelming majority are on board and the likes of ‘Pretty Songs’ and ‘GDP’ showcase a band with a big future.

Main support for this tour comes from The Hives, generally understood to be an incredible live act. Thankfully nothing has changed during the enforced lay-off of the past two years.

With their time on stage relatively short the band blast out their biggest hits such as ‘Main Offender’, ‘Walk Idiot Walk’, ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ and ‘Tick Tick Boom’ to the delight of the crowd. Our headliners will need to be at the top of their game in order to match the brilliance of The Hives.

Read our review of ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ from The Offspring

Things start well for The Offspring with ‘Staring at the Sun’, ‘Come Out and Play’ and ‘Want You Bad’ immediately getting the audience riled up. A visually simple yet stunning stage show also helps to fill the huge space of Wembley Arena and make the band seem at home on such a stage.

Whilst that word nostalgia keeps coming up, The Offspring are actually touring a new album and up next two new tracks demonstrate the quality that the band is still putting out. ‘The Opioid Diaries’ and title track ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ are received just as well as the older tracks ‘Hit That’, ‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Bad Habit’ that follow.

WATCH ‘LET THE BAD TIMES ROLL’ ON YOUTUBE
The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll

The question of whether The Offspring can match or eclipse The Hives is already positively answered by the time we are treated to an incredible piano version of fan favourite ‘Gone Away’.

The closing run of ‘Why Don’t You Get a Job?’, ‘Original Prankster’, ‘(Can’t Get My) Head Around You’, ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ and ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ is as good as it gets and vindicates the bands decision to play arenas on this tour.

The encore of ‘You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid’ and ‘Self Esteem’ is the cherry on the icing of a beautiful cake that is made from three superb performances from Bob Vylan, The Hives and The Offspring. This was a thoroughly enjoyable show, which celebrates both the present and future of punk rock.

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The Darkness

Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Wednesday 24th November 2021

The Darkness

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THE DARKNESS – CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE – LIVE REVIEW

Would it be November without a tour from The Darkness? I mean can you even celebrate Christmas until you’ve heard the band play that song? In my opinion, no!

Said tour is in full gear, and tonight it finds its way into the Corn Exchange in Cambridge. The tour is in support of brand new album, ‘Motorheart’; and along for the ride are Massive Wagons.

Read our review of ‘Motorheart’ from The Darkness

After original support British Lion withdrew, some might say that the arrival of Massive Wagons late in the day wasn’t just a worthy replacement but actually an upgrade! The band have steadily built themselves a solid reputation as a band and as a live act and slots like this will only grow that reputation. Win, win then.

Tonight they are greeted warmly by the Cambridge crowd as they preview their own latest release, ‘House of Noise’. The likes of ‘In It Together’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘Bangin in Your Stereo’ mix perfectly with fan favourites ‘China Plates’ and ‘Back to the Stack’ to make for a fantastic opening set.

Crowd suitably warmed, it’s then time for that band of folklore The Darkness to shine bright on the big stage once again. To be completely honest, it’s almost a pointless job in reviewing this band as they are so prolific on stage. When you buy a ticket to The Darkness, you know that you will have a good time.

The set list for this tour is as you would expect for a new album tour – a mix of said new album and cult debut ‘Permission To Land’, with a handful of other offerings thrown in for good measure.

WATCH ‘IT’S LOVE, JIM’ ON YOUTUBE
The Darkness – ‘It’s Love, Jim’

‘Motorheart’ is another solid album of typical Darkness material and it therefore fits right in. From set opener ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’, to the title track, to the fun ‘It’s Love, Jim’, the new material presents well live, again as you would expect really.

Naturally the biggest reactions of the evening come from the likes of early tracks ‘One Way Ticket’, ‘Growing On Me’, ‘Friday Night’ and ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’. It must be said though that the likes of ‘Open Fire’, ‘Heart Explodes’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Barbarian’ from more recent albums are also now received as set staples.

Singer Justin Hawkins’ on stage banter tonight is to critique the somewhat quiet audience. Having just the night before reviewed a gig whereby I felt the need to comment on the rudeness of the crowd in talking louder than the music, it leaves me wondering just where the sweet spot is for crowd attention.

All that is left to complete the night is that old Christmas classic ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ with the band attired in suitably festive gear. Then the crowd can go off into the night happy and ready to celebrate the time of year, all thanks to The Darkness!

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Idlewild

Electric Brixton, London

Sunday 21st November 2021

Idlewild

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IDLEWILD – ELECTRIC BRIXTON – LIVE REVIEW

“..how does it feel to be three years late?..” – ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’, Idlewild

One knock on effect of the pandemic, albeit insignificant in the greater scheme of things yet incredibly grinding to music anoraks, is the issue of Anniversary Tours. With many such as tonight’s now out of sync. Idlewild may not be three years late, but their 25th Anniversary Tour is now in fact their not so poignant 26th Anniversary Tour!

That doesn’t temper the anticipation from the groups die-hard following with tonight sold out in advance and, even with no support act, Electric Brixton fills up early to await their heroes.

That is exactly how they are greeted when they arrive onstage and launch straight into ‘Dream Variations’, ‘Roseability’ and ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’. This sets the rest of the night up perfectly as the band celebrate every album throughout the next incredible two hours of music.

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Idlewild – ‘Dream Variations’

Naturally for such a tour, nostalgia is prominent throughout the evening and it’s fantastic to see early mainstay bassist Bob Fairfoull joining the band on numerous older tracks throughout the evening. Whilst all the big hits as it were are in the mix, there are also some rarer tracks which help to make the evening feel special.

Idlewild have always been a stunning live band and tonight is truly a pinch yourself moment; how can this band remain this good after 26 years!  The fans certainly help, as they get more and more animated as the evening progresses.

Throughout the show you wait for the momentum to slow, for a track to fall flat, but the quality tonight is relentless. It’s therefore hard to pick highlights but ‘Little Discourage’, ‘Love Steals Us From Loneliness’, ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ and ‘El Capitan’ naturally elicit jubilation from the crowd.

The likes of ‘Collect Yourself’, ‘Everyone Says You’re So Fragile’, ‘A Ghost In The Arcade’ and ‘These Wooden Ideas’ however are equally cherished. By the time the main set concludes with ‘The Modern Way of Letting Go’ and ‘American English’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that the night has peaked.

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What immediately follows however is a real treat for old school fans as the iconic four piece version of the line-up grace the stage for early track, ‘Self Healer’. They are gradually joined by the rest of the current band as they plough through fellow early numbers ‘4 People Do Good’ and ‘Captain’.

Once again, you’d be ecstatic to finish it there, however Idlewild treat fans to  ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’ and ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction’ to deliver a truly epic finale. But much like the MCU now delivers two post-credits scenes, Idlewild still have one last parting shot for the packed crowd.

Whereas those scenes usually preview the future, Idlewild return for a final encore of old favourite ‘A Film For The Future’. After 26 years tonight feels like the epic final battle against Thanos. The hope though is that it simply means that we are entering the next phase for a treasured band.

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