Idlewild + Sorren Maclean @ The Institute, 10th March 2015


Standing inside the fairly empty space of the main room of ‘The Institute’, Birmingham, I found myself wondering why we were in the largest room at the venue, but it soon became clear as people continued to trickle in and gradually fill the room. I hadn’t realised the popularity of Scottish indie band, Idlewild and found out that they had in fact meant to be playing the smaller room but had sold so many tickets they had been upgraded.

soreen1blThere was quite a wait for the support act, Sorren Maclean; the doors had opened at just gone 7:00pm and it was at least 8:15pm by the time the show started. This seemed a very poor judge of timing by the managers as there clearly should have been either another support act with the doors opening later, or the two bands to have gone on sooner than they did. The wait had caused quite a lot of rowdiness as people chatted amongst themselves but as soon as the lights went down, the room silenced. Being named Sorren Maclean, I was expecting to see a solo artist so I was quite surprised when five people appeared on stage, but as it turned out, the other four people were just back up. There was no introduction, they just went straight into the first song.


Their sound was a mixture of acoustic and electric with a violin adding a slight country vibe. The audience remained quiet throughout the songs but applauded when they had finished; it was hard to judge what the crowd actually thought of Sorren Maclean because there wasn’t much interaction at all, between him and the people watching. The guy was talented, there’s no doubt, what he played he played well but I found the songs to be very similar to each other, no originality to his songs and in all honesty, it wouldn’t have hurt for him to be a bit cheerier! After another fairly long wait; around half an hour (and 10 minutes after their supposed allotted stage time), the lights went off leaving the room in [almost] complete darkness. Cheers of anticipation filled air, this crowd were more than ready for Idlewild who were back after a five year break.


As the band entered the stage it became apparent the support band for Sorren Maclean had in fact been Idlewild minus their singer which I found to be a little unusual but this didn’t seem to take away any excitement that the fans were feeling. As soon as Idlewild got into their first song ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’ their audience were moving and joining in and even more so as they went into their second song ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’; a song that was even a little nostalgic for me! Roddy Woomble (vocals) has a very laid back and natural stage presence when he is performing but there is no on-stage banter and no getting the crowd worked up between songs which I felt left something to be desired. The older songs seemed to be what got the fans going most but Idlewild’s latest album ‘Everything Ever Written’ has barely even been available for a month so this fact could account for that.


Although the older songs seemed to be favoured by the crowd, Idlewild had changed the sound of some of them slightly, adding music to the point that it took getting properly into the song, before realising it was an older track. The night was filled with musical talent but lacked any sort of stage show.


As well as music, for me the interaction between a band and their fans is a part of the fun and since they were lacking in that area it put a bit of a dampener on my evening; that is my personal opinion though and it has to be taken into account that they have had sold out dates on this tour and there was a remarkable turnout at The Institute, where it was quite clear these fans were having an awesome night.

Set lists:


1. Nothing I Can Do About It

2. You Held the World in Your Arms

3. Collect Yourself

4. Little Discourage

5. Make Another World (with ‘Post-Electric’ intro)

6. Every Little Means Trust

7. Come on Ghost

8. Live in a Hiding Place

9. Love Steals Us From Loneliness

10. So Many Things To Decide

11. A Film for the Future

12. Captain

13. Quiet Crown

14. Roseability

15. (Use It) If You Can Use It

16. American English

17. El Capitan

18. Utopia

19. Encore:

19. Too Long Awake

20. I Understand It

21. A Modern Way of Letting Go

22. In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction


Sorren Maclean

1. (Unknown)

2. Science of Fiction

3. Either Way

4. Way Back Home

5. Watch

6. Winter Stay Autumn


Review: Gemma Bywater

Photographs: Shaz Rafferty

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