Kris Drever, Roddy Woomble, John McCusker

Miss Fliss 10/02/2009

It was always leading up to this. Even in the most chaotic of Idlewild workouts, the strength of melody was there. 100 Broken Windows was a case in point. Songs like Quiet Crown and The Bronze Medal are woven in the dye with pure folk heart. Its successor, The Remote Part, was shot through with acoustic tremors.

It was only natural that Roddy Woomble would break free from the confines of indie rock and its commercial pressures to be his own quiet self, expressively and sensitively so. First came his solo effort, My Secret is my Silence, and now ready to be strengthened by other branches, he finds himself joined by John McCusker (producer of Roddy's solo album and folk musician extraordinaire, worked with Teenage Fanclub and other luminaries) and Kris Drever (a solo folk artist in his own right). Songs thrive with the backbone of these musicians.

The intimacy of the music performed live on a big stage in Cambridge tonight is such that the audience laughs raucously and nervously at every interjection between songs (even if it's just the word “Thanks” - how very odd!). In his waistcoat and shaggy hairdo, Woomble does his bit to establish the 'mature' look. He was happy to answer questions to even the most awkward degree in an interview earlier this evening (including the whole Bob Fairfoul debacle), but the emphasis hangs heavy in the air that this is who he truly is ('the other members of Idlewild aren't into folk,' he revealed earlier. In fact, one of them is in a black metal band!) and we can accept that very easily.

The music of the trio combined is very easy on the ear. The Celtic lilt of violins, the absence of drums and bass - this is all space, beautiful open space, filled with voice, heart, emotion, and gentle guitars. However, I can't deny that a bit of rousing carousing wouldn't go amiss. The live folk I've witnessed in Irish pubs, free of logos and egos, runs wild and free with pure abandon and ecstasy, and with Drever, McCusker, and Woomble this only really comes to the fore with one song towards the gig's close. The near capacity Cambridge crowd clap in cheerful unison, albeit without dancing anything close to a jig, though there's the odd 'Yee! HAW!'

One gets the feeling - especially by the high pitched applause and whoops - that with more songs in that lively vein the band could scale much dizzier heights.

Roddy Woomble Myspace
Kris Drever Myspace
Drever, McCusker, Woomble website