IDLEWILD with Full White Drag at Lee's Palace, April 18. Tickets: $13-$15. Attendance: 500. Rating: NN
it being good friday and all, i figured the Idlewild show at Lee's would be sparsely attended. At the very least, I thought the mood would maybe be slightly sober. So I was totally shocked to discover a thriving, lively crowd of rowdy lager louts tossin' back pints and buzzing with anticipation for the Scottish alt-rock outfit. Perhaps the spirit of Robbie Burns was upon them, nae?
Maybe the eager partiers were hoping for a kind of spiritual epiphany in the power of pure rock. If so, they left with half-empty souls. Localish openers Full White Drag plowed through an overly intense barrage of fuzzed-up noise rock, replete with crunchy guitars, anguished vocals and dark minor chords.
They're a pretty impressive band onstage -- ridiculously tight, they're obviously strong believers in the potency of their sonic assault -- but the vibe was a bit overwrought. You got the sense that they take themselves a tad too seriously.
Self-importance plagues Idlewild, too. I swear the photogenic Scotsmen must've taken lessons in rock god stoicism from Don Henley or something. And the presence of enthusiastic admirers doesn't make much difference. Frontman Roddy Woomble's poker face grew stonier with each successive round of cheers and reached a blank, furrowed-brow climax when the first fan held a lighter aloft.
Idlewild's music is fairly agreeable, even if it is a total throwback to the effects-pedal-charged alt-rock dirge of the mid-90s. The boys moved efficiently through an hour-long set of tunes from their recent The Remote Part disc, alternating between really, really intense, prickly emo-punk and really, really intense power ballads, the latter of which had all the MBA-looking boys swaying in time with their arms around their pretty girlfriends.
It was all quite intense, dude. And terribly earnest. But probably not as transcendental as Idlewild might've hoped.
And of all days to play up the artist-as-martyr act.