Gig review: Roddy Woomble and Almost Nothing at Fulford Arms, York

Roddy Woomble. Picture: Euan RobertsonRoddy Woomble. Picture: Euan Robertson
Roddy Woomble. Picture: Euan Robertson
The Idlewild singer is joined by multi-instrumentalist Andrew Mitchell for an evening of old and new.

Outside it’s unseasonably cold, but inside there’s the welcome warmth of a rammed grassroots music venue. And, I suspect, a lot of warm memories of the days when Roddy Woomble’s band Idlewild used to regularly crop up at the old York Fibbers as tour support to pretty much everyone, rapidly evolving from chaotic youthful punk mess to an altogether more melodic proposition, anchored throughout by the calm baritone and thoughtful lyrics of their singer.

Idlewild retained too many eclectic ideas and raw edges to undergo the megabucks bland-out of their peers Snow Patrol, but still clearly seeped into the soundtrack of many lives, given the fond reception tonight.

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Woomble’s even more eclectic solo work has seen him embrace folk music and most recently ditch guitars for electronic pop under the name Almost Nothing, a project which began as a lockdown collaboration with different producers from his remote Hebridean home.

Tonight, the Almost Nothing material is the sturdy backbone of two sets, which go Woombling free (sorry) through the back catalogue.

Backed by multi-instrumentalist Andrew Mitchell (a current Idlewild member and solo artist under the name Andrew Wasylyk), the duo move with ease from the hypnotic synth pop of Instant Love to a stripped-down reinvention of Idlewild’s anthemic You Held The World In Your Arms.

The second half sees Woomble briefly pick up his acoustic guitar (apparently a new album in this vein is in the works) for solo classic My Secret Is My Silence, while “middle-aged electro banger” Better Than You Belong is the pick of the Almost Nothing material, and a set highlight alongside Idlewild’s American English and In Remote Part which are carried aloft by many voices.

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There’s plenty here, new and old, that could effortlessly command a much bigger room or festival field, but which made for something very special in this intimate setting.

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