Monday, April 26, 2010

Idlewild: A little discourage

News reaches us that Idlewild are going on hiatus - Jack B emailed with the pertinent extracts from their Facebook tour diary:

"Wed 21st – London
Wake up on bus. Lovely sunny day. The Forum has been done up since I was last here (to play - 10 years ago on the ‘100 Broken Windows’ tour, as a punter - six years ago to see Ryan Adams). The dressing rooms are lovely and have a roof terrace that looks over north London toward Hampstead Heath. The stage is a big one and the onstage sound is great – it’s a proper venue! Nothing against the clubs that we play in other places, but it’s awful nice to be in a big place for the evening. I feel a bit like a dog usually kept in the city that’s been taken to the countryside for the day. I head to Covent Garden for a while, have my lunch in the London Review Bookshop Cafe and buy Colin a belated birthday present - David Foster Wallace’s ‘Oblivion Tales’. Sit outside the British museum for a while people watching and then head back to the Forum to sound check. The concert is good, really good I think, although being able to hear myself so well and having so much room to move I worry I might have looked a bit bemused initially.

Decided to let the audience know that it will be our last London show, which makes the remainder of the concert quite poignant. At the end of this final part of the tour we will have played 40 gigs around the UK and Ireland in support of ‘Post Electric Blues’, which seems more than enough for some time. There isn’t the demand for our music that there was in the past, especially not outside of Britain so it seems after this year it’s an appropriate time to take a break, a ‘hiatus’ or whatever you want to call it.

Not to cast shadows over the remaining concerts though, an irony of idlewild has always been that as we moved from the bigger halls into smaller halls and clubs we improved dramatically as a live band. Partly because the pressure had gone, but also with age we became tighter, more adaptable, confidant and importantly, more relaxed. At our ‘commercial peak’ or whatever you want to call it, we were frequently unprepared, stressed, scrappy and rigidly stuck to the same set of songs. Of course some people preferred this more, but we didn’t and now there’s a contentedness among the five of us with our concerts, which I think is reflected by the fact that the people that do come to the shows come to them again and again.

After the concert we make full use of the grand dressing rooms, knowing we’ll likely be back in a cupboard tomorrow. We have lots of friends down and it’s a nice end to a good night.

It's difficult to read the words 'there isn’t the demand for our music that there was in the past' without a small catch in your throat, isn't it?

As Jack points out:
The fact that [the announcement] doesn't seem to have been picked up my very many people is almost proof of what they allude to in the diary entry.

I'd always expected them to be like The Wedding Present or The Fall, and continue in some sort of form until such time as the last page of recorded history was written. Let's hope the hiatus isn't indefinite.