Has it really been ten years?

In the week that a Greatest Hits album from the Libertines is released, thereby proving that the concept of the best of collection as a blatant pre-Christmas cash in is still alive and well, (if you like them just buy their two albums and be done with it!) one of Scotland's finest brought their 'Greatest Hits' tour to London, and in doing so reminded us that there are band compilations out there definitely worth parting with money for. Not that the setlist for this gig at Koko was laden with top twenty smashes, Idlewild don't have that many, but we were treated to a career spanning collection of singles, album tracks and early songs to leave any Woomble and co diehard foaming at the mouth with excitement.

After two support acts which, in theory, would please fans of both ends of the Idlewild spectrum, Johnny Foreigner fighting out of the punk/indie corner, and the very impressive Twilight Sad there to please those liking their guitar music more laid back and dreamy, Idlewild took to the stage and laid down a marker for the evening with a set opener from way back in the day. 'A film for the future' was the first of four we'd get from 'Hope Is Important'. 'I'm A Message'', 'When I argue I see shapes' and 'Everyone says you're so fragile' were also played.

The three songs to gain the most commercial success, 'Love Steels Us From Loneliness', 'You Held The World In Your Arms' and the mighty 'American English' all appeared early in the set, but any casual Idlewild observer wouldn't have been left thinking they'd peaked too soon, since this was one of those nights when such people would find themselves realizing how many Idlewild songs they'd forgotten. 'Little Discourage' one most likely to provoke such a reaction.

The band's most recent album 'Make Another World' was only briefly touched upon, something which was a minor disappointment as it's certainly a strong set of songs. The title track, plus 'In Competition For The Worst Time', 'No Emotion' and 'Future Works' were played, the latter closing the main set and gaining the best reaction of any of the newer material: much hand clapping to it's bouncy yet laid back beat.

Although the Koko crowd were very much in their groove for 'Future Works', it was the announcement on the band's return that we were about to be treated to two of the first songs they ever wrote, which moved the atmosphere to another level. 'Queen of the Troubled Teens', a student loans self-financed first single on Human Condition Records which has changed hands for silly money on Ebay, and 'Chandelier', an early single released on Fierce Panda, acted as a history lesson for any who didn't know the punk influenced side to the band's infancy. Sadly neither made it onto the recent best of collection, instead appearing on a B-sides and rarities digital only release.

'In remote part/Scottish fiction' brought the English leg of the tour to a rousing climax, rounding off another night where Idlewild confirmed once again that they're one of the UK's finest live bands.

When a best of is released it gives the perfect opportunity to reflect on what an artist has brought to the table during their career, and where they currently fit alongside the current bright young things being touted for mega stardom by the music press.

In the run up to the gig, a check of various ticket websites would show that this was not a sell out, however by the time Idlewild took to the stage Koko did looked to be pretty packed. The Camden venue is no Brixton Academy though in terms of capacity and a tour of this nature would often head South of the river. Especially when you take into account their high profile support slots with R.E.M which saw them play Hyde Park in 2005. Add to this the fact that 'Make Another World' didn't exactly sell by the truck load and the little daytime radio play for recent singles, it does seem as if Idlewild may be starting to drift under the radar which would once upon a time point very much in their direction.

Naturally they're still hugely popular in their homeland, and have a loyal following across the UK who will always turn out to see them, and why not on the strength of this performance? I'm certainly not questioning the staying power of a band with a decade of work to their name, but it will be very interesting to see what the next chapter brings.

The setlist for this gig ran as follows:

'A Film for the Future', 'Hope Is Important'
'I don't have the map', '100 Broken Windows'
'You held the world in your arms', 'Remote Parts'
'Actually it's darkness', '100 Broken Windows'
'Love steals us from loneliness', 'Warnings/Promises'
'In competition for the worst time', 'Make Another World'
'American English', 'Remote Parts'
'I'm a message', 'Hope Is Important'
'When I argue I see shapes', 'Hope Is Important'
'Make another world', 'Make Another World'
'A modern way of letting go', 'Remote Parts'
'Let me sleep (next to the mirror)', '100 Broken Windows'
'Little discourage', '100 Broken Windows'
'El capitan', 'Warnings/Promises'
'Everyone says you're so fragile', 'Hope Is Important'
'Roseability', '100 Broken Windows'
'Future works', 'Make Another World'

'Queen of the Troubled Teens', self-financed first single on Human Condition label
'Chandelier', early single released on Fierce Panda label
'No emotion', 'Make Another World'
'In remote part/Scottish fiction', 'Remote Parts'