Roddy Woomble @ The Boileroom, Guildford, UK, 20th March 2022 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, September 27th, 2022  

Roddy Woomble

Roddy Woomble @ The Boileroom, Guildford, UK, 20th March 2022,

Apr 04, 2022 Photography by Andy Robbins Web Exclusive
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Less than six months ago Roddy Woomble was surrounded by bandmates past and present, triumphantly celebrating 25 years of Idlewild in sold-out venues where dewy-eyed fans sang his words back to him.

Yet as he stepped from behind a flimsy cloth curtain, in front of a modest but welcoming audience, he seemed just as comfortable on the cosy Boileroom stage.

The small semblance of fame he found during the heady heights of Idlewild’s trajectory from noisenik teenagers to radio friendly indie-rockers now allows him to live a quieter life, in which he’s built his own cottage industry of writing, recording and touring, free from the pressure of major label expectation.

The sound on the steps side-of-stage these days is from Roddy retrieving his forgotten chord sheets from his dressing room, rather than the “flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”, as Idlewild were once memorably described.

It’s no revelation that many die-hard Idlewild fans have found it hard to stomach the reality of a man nearer to middle age than his teenage years choosing to spend his days making music inspired as much by poets as punks. Those too stubborn to move on are missing a trick though.

It’s been nearly 16 years since Woomble released his acclaimed debut My Secret Is My Silence, and he’s ploughed an ever-winding furrow ever since. The title track from that solo debut, along with the charming “Waverley Steps”, both shone a light the folky element of his early material. He accompanied his instantly recognisable voice by occasionally strumming a small bodied acoustic guitar. Alongside him, his current Idlewild bandmate Andrew Mitchell provided most of the heavy musical lifting on keyboards, electric guitar and a small collection of gadgets that that triggered lo-fi beats and rhythms as and when required.

Woomble was in fine form, as he chatted between tracks. You sensed his self-deprecation downplayed the contentment with where he finds himself in life.

The wonky pop of “Architecture In LA” from last year’s Lo! Soul record, along with the dreamy spoken-word ambience of “One Minute Out Of The World” and gentle croon of “A Skull With A Teardrop” all reminded the audience of the evolution to be found in Woomble’s growing back-catalogue. Despite the twist in styles, they fused seamlessly with stripped back versions of Idlewild favourites “Little Discourage”, “You Held The World In Your Arms” and the set-closing “In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction” taken from perhaps the band’s most commercially successful album. As the voice of the late poet Edwin Morgan boomed over the PA at the song’s crescendo, as it has hundreds of times before, Woomble smiled. He knows his journey is far from over.




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