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Roddy Woomble
Live Review
Roddy Woomble
The Out to Lunch festival came up trumps when they booked Roddy Woomble for this sold out Sunday afternoon slot. It's certainly a more refined affair than the last time Roddy was in town for a full-on rock set fronting Idlewild. It's all very civilized - everyone is seated around candle-lit tables, nursing their pints, and Roddy himself seems to be in good spirits as he takes to the stage in denim shirt, sporting a full beard and dishevelled bed-head.

Touring in support of new album, Impossible Song and Other Songs, which is out next month, Woomble treats us to several new tracks including opener, Make Something Out Of What It's Worth, New Frontier, and Work Like You Can, which Roddy tells us is a song about farmers, before pausing to add, "...but in an interesting way".  

The intimate setting seems to have made Roddy feel right at home, there's plenty of crowd banter and tales on stage - it's in stark contrast to the last time he was in Belfast with Idlewild when he seemed oddly subdued. Not today though, as he seems humbly mischievous and genuinely thankful for people coming to see him, and it's hard not to warm to him on this kind of form. He asks the crowd to buy a t-shirt so they can "pay for their airport parking", then introduces new song Tangled Wire as being about "a journey from your 20s to your 60s", before admitting it was inspired by being on tour, driving from one end of Scotland to another.

Roddy's solo stuff isn't far removed from Idlewild's most recent output; although it's definitely folkier, it's still got pop hooks and catchy choruses. The inclusion of Idlewild's, Take Me Back to the Islands early in the set, You Held the World in Your Arms and The Weight of Years, re-affirm this point. The song-writing isn't markedly different, even if the delivery is somewhat gentler.  

It's evident that Roddy's matured from the spiky indie-punk of Idlewild's early years into something of a reflective folk urchin. He seems so comfortable on stage with these songs that it's surely only a matter of time before he stops being known as 'Roddy from Idlewild'. These songs deserve an audience all of their own.
Tonight's performance wasn't faultless - he has to restart a song after messing up the opening line, but he laughs it off, as do we. That's the kind of atmosphere we have today, like an old friend singing you some songs in front of a log-fire. It was truly heart-warming, and just for today, Roddy Woomble felt like a close friend.
Surely, that says it all about this performance.

Michael Wilson

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Gig Details
Venue: Black Box
Location: Belfast
Date: 30/1/2011

Related Links
+ Roddy Woomble