There’s a story that seems to have gone a bit under the radar. At least by my estimation. When Idris Elba was out in Australia around a year ago, filming for George Miller’s recently-released Three Thousand Years of Longing, he was put in touch with a hard-not-to-love Aussie outfit led by brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach.
Lime Cordiale were in search of a feature for a relapse version of their track ‘Unnecessary Things’, off their 2020 album, 14 Steps to a Better You. Idris was in town and, lo and behold, stepped up to the job. A studio session and several bottles of wine later, and this unlikely pairing had a whole EP, Cordi Elba. And yes, Idris, sings on the record.
Unfortunately, given this was still in the yo-yo of COVID restrictions, touring and further plans were a more remote job than it already was – perhaps explaining why the press around it hasn’t had as much of a lift-off as it could have.
Lime Cordiale’s UK show, for the same obvious reasons, also had to be pushed back, and was originally set for Highbury’s The Garage all the way back in 2020. As such, you could sense the pent-up energy of the band, following a fairly lively support job from German indie-rockers Leoniden – who Lime Cordiale had supported in their homeland and were now returning the favour in the UK.
Dressed in their suited finery, Oli in soft pink and younger brother Louis in ravishing red, they twisted and strutted their stuff, opening with laidback shimmy-and-shaker, ‘On Our Own’. In fact, imbibing the sun-kissed Aussie spirit, laidback is often something to call their music – but that’s not to say it doesn’t pack a punch.
Few sum this up quite like their track ‘No Plans To Make Plans’, which they played two-thirds in, with the anthemic trombone work from Nicholas Polovineo; an indie-pop track that asserts the necessity in relaxing and not making arrangements.
There’s some heartfelt moments in their set, too. ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ showcased Louis Leimbach’s fairly impressive range, over the piano backing of Felix Bornholdt before the band went offstage. Thought that was it? Of course not.
Out walked acting royalty Idris Elba. Elba is obviously no stranger to performing – and equally, no stranger to a gig or two, given his fairly proficient life as a DJ. But, admittedly, he was slightly nervous – and told us as much. “I know what you’re thinking – what the fuck is Idris Elba doing up here? And as I was walking out, I was thinking exactly the same thing,” he first said.
Opening with ‘Unnecessary Things’ – the track that kickstarted their project – Elba no doubt eased into it. This was probably helped in part by the substance and sound of tracks ‘What’s Not To Like’ and the slightest absurdist ‘Apple Crumble’.
The three-track feature of Elba was a fitting amount: enough to satisfy the audience but without overkilling it or stealing too much of the band’s thunder.
Once he was offstage, the set closer ‘Robbery’ allowed them to steal the limelight back once more. Yes, this was a show that featured a British A-lister. But it proved an ultimate litmus test for the Aussie band – and one they passed with fiery, fantastic colours.