Legendary Scottish rockers Idlewild are currently in the middle of a UK tour that ends in Dunfermline but that will head to Ireland next week. Glasgow’s Sparrow and the Workshop are touring with them until this weekend when they’ll join the Brian Jonestown Massacre in Paris. Details below:
Idlewild have been breaking new ground for Scottish music around the world since they tore their way out of Edinburgh in the late 90’s.
I first saw Idlewild South By Southwest in Austin, Texas in 2003. That year they were the only Scottish band at the festival but word of Idlewild’s experience made it back home, and since then there has been no less than 10 bands from Scotland at the festival every year. If it wasn’t for Idlewild, such opportunities might not exist.
Tonight Idlewild and Sparrow and the Workshop are in Wolverhampton. Full details of their UK tour schedule can be found at their myspace page. Tickets for the Dublin show are available through the link below.
Sparrow and the Workshop will also be in Wolverhampton tonight, Northampton tomorrow and Carlisle on Saturday with Idlewild. As previously reported, their Brian Jonestown Massacre tour starts in France on April 27th.
Roddy Woomble has been blogging from the Idlewild / Sparrow and the Workshop ‘toilet tour’ of the UK this week:
Thursday 15th April – Travel to Glasgow
My tour starts the day before everyone else as I live nowhere near Glasgow or Edinburgh. Trailing down the West Highland line I’m surrounded on all sides by a hen party heading home. One of the ‘hens’ opposite me wears a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘Viagra is for pussies’ across her chest. My initial disbelief turns slowly to vague respect though as this is a lady clearly quite comfortable in her chosen outfit, chatting away to the conductor, and generally acting as if she’s in her Sunday best. Maybe she is. The party is in good spirits and I’d much rather this than be sat beside the dreaded ‘Stag’ party. I’ve never understood this necessity for animal association though, and why the stag and the hen? Why not the mouse and the mallard? The hens drink white wine and even break into a rendition of happy birthday as we approach queen street station. Its unclear whether it is actually anyone’s birthday, but that doesn’t seem to matter. It’s a good song. Predictably, it’s busy back in the city. I take a taxi to the hotel then go and meet Alan in the west end for some dinner. We end up in a pub afterward. Not that exciting, but it’s a nice evening for me.
Friday 16th April – York Fibbers
Meet up with the tour bus at Buchanan street bus station at 9am. Sparrow and the Workshop, the wonderful band who have been playing with us for the past few tours are travelling with us, so it’s a full bus and everyone finds a suitable bunk, and goes back to bed for the drive to York, stopping only once to get out in the bright sunlight of a service station near Sunderland for a cup of fairly rank coffee and an expensive and bland sandwich – ah the wonders of roadside dining in Britain! Over ‘lunch’ we discuss whether the name Sunderland has its origins in the Norse. I expect it does.
York is a nice city, full of ancient buildings and tourists eating ice cream in the sun. I go for a wander, drinking a smoothie trying to restore some bodily balance after the pints of ale from last night. After a sound check we eat dinner in Tokyo Joes, a Japanese restaurant near the venue. I don’t eat sushi often; in fact other than my two trips to Japan (where the food is wonderful) I’ve rarely had it. Rod, Gareth, Colin and Allan however are all mad for the stuff, so they tuck into large bento boxes while I slurp a bowl of noodles.
The gig at night is a baptism of fire – after a month of not playing being back on a small, hot, loud stage is a shock to the system, but in a good way. Sometimes there’s nothing more exhilarating than a loud rock show in a club. This is our fist gig in York since 1998. Afterwards half of the band brave the indie club continuing at the venue, but return to the bus before too long, where we sit and chat for a while, Gregor (drummer and singer in Sparrow and the workshop) is picking the music, and plays some great stuff – Ritchie havens, Union station, Neu, Will Oldham. When the conversation finally turns to who was better – Haddoway or Jive bunny I head to bed.
Sat 17th April – Crewe
Today is national record store day. Unfortunately there isn’t a record shop in Crewe so we can’t go and buy lots of records. We will make up for this tomorrow in Manchester. All power to the Independent record shop! No one in our party has ever been to Crewe before. Most of us have changed trains here, as I suspect many of you have. The venue is beside the station so at least we’re beside our only local reference point. Handy for those traveling to the gig also. The venue is attached to a hotel, and we’re given two rooms as makeshift dressing rooms. The view looks out over a car park and a pub with a tatty union jack flying outside. Gareth and I take a walk and eat an unhealthy breakfast in a fish & chip shop. There is a woman shouting at her children at the next table. Young guys with crew cuts and tracksuits hang around the pavement smoking cigarettes. I’m sure Crewe has its positives; I suppose I’d need to see more. Rod, Jill and Gregor fare better than we do; they find the town centre, watch a carpet cleaning demonstration and eat traditional German bratwurst. Clearly there is more to this place than meets the eye.
Dinner is prepared by the venue, usually something that sets off a warming bell amongst touring bands. Vegetable stroganoff. I won’t elaborate. Rod suspects it’s been made with salad cream. He might be right. I eat an apple and a banana instead. The gig is good but the stage is very high and the lights very bright, so It’s hard not to feel a bit self conscious up there in front of all those folk in glaring light. Eventually we ask for the lights to be dimmed a bit, which works slightly better. Nothing much happens afterwards. We load out; I eat a dry roll then head to bed. Several of the band stay on having a drink in the pub downstairs that they later liken to something out of the television programme ‘Phoenix Nights’.
Sun 18th April – Manchester
Wake up in a service station outside Manchester. Drink a coffee and read some of the newspaper. It’s hard not to be in awe of this recent Icelandic volcano eruption. In the modern world, living in cities and towns as most folk do it’s often easy to forget that the natural world is absolutely in charge. Sure it’s annoying to be stranded in an airport, but when you bear in mind that in volcanic terms this recent eruption is a mere pimple compared to what could happen, it puts it all into some sort of perspective at least. Anyway, when we get into the city and find the venue most of us decamp to the teacup, a great little café in the northern quarter, I think originally owned by the DJ Mr Scruff. I don’t know his music, but he knows a bit about good tea, coffee and food. I have toasted rye bread with Spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes and an ‘Aretha Franklin’ smoothie. I feel good after this so spend a bit of time shopping for music in Piccadilly records. I end of buying a few albums by Tom Waits and a bit of reggae. Gareth buys every Neu album on LP. He’s a fan. The venue is called Moho live, and in all my times in Manchester have never been here. It’s seems ok, a dark smelly rock club. At least there’s a toilet backstage, a first for the tour. As Stephen, our long serving guitar tech pointed out last night in his loveable Geordie accent “You’re on a toilet tour and there’s no even a toilet!” . I sit on the bus chatting and listening to music for most of the afternoon, Sound check, then hang around for the gig. Outside of Glasgow this is a city where we have one of our most devoted (and rowdiest) set of fans, so the concert is really good fun to play. It’s Colins 33rd birthday today so the audience sing him happy birthday and we have cake and champagne in the dressing room after the gig. After that the usual pattern assumes. I hang out on the bus listening to Tom Waits while most of the rest drink in a bar round the corner. Rod has headed north for an in store appearance in Newcastle tomorrow promoting his fine solo album, but for the rest of us a day off in Bristol and a cider pilgrimage to the Coronation Tap is on the itinerary.
Buy Idlewild music here:
Idlewild – Readers & Writers Live on 6 Music
Idlewild – The Quiet Crown Live on Vic’s show (thanks Peenko)
Photo Credit: Rocktographer