Runrig the Live Story Keeps Running
The Story rolls on with Runrig celebrating over forty years on the road. The crowd excitedly streamed into Colston Hall, Bristol knowing that Runrig would entertain and delight on so many levels. Live music creates a vibe, added to this a sold-out venue the collective energy is electric. The backdrop before they entered was a Kodak lens from around forty years ago, reflecting the nostalgia in their latest and reportedly last studio album The Story with its sepia cover.
The seats are out but from the beginning audience was up and dancing to the infectious rhythm not a surprise considering that originally Run-Rig were a dance band, and performed for the first time as a three-piece in 1973 at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall.
The images in the video backdrop added to the atmosphere, providing a visual layer adding context to the levels of tonal power that is Runrig. The whole evening was a fabulous set of Celtic Folk/Rock with the roots of the power of the ceilidh weaving a sound that is a massive foot tapping extravaganza.
The excited audience and the white heat of pure joy ignited across Colston all with Pride of Summer (Beat The Drum) with Iain Bayne beating the drum with vigour the boom cascading throughout the venue. The clapping was loud if there had been no seats the dancing would have been wild. The backdrop became the deep mysterious Harvest Moon with the bounty of golden grains blowing in the wind. The harvest moon celebrates the bounty of food safely gathered in. The drumming as on so many of the bands tracks adds to the tension and interest of the track. The emotion grew with Rise and Fall a new track, images of war and poppies added to the feel of the music with its superb harmonies and percussion mix. As the lone poppy stood out blood-red in a field of oats the music reaching a crescendo conquering all other emotions as remembrance was the dominant force with the piano and Gibson 355 providing a spectacular close. The party mood was soon back with up-tempo music hand-clapping and back-on-your-feet at Colston Hall. May Morning provided the sound scape so that the hall was once again electric with the force of Runrig’s folk fuelled rocked up energy. Every river gave the audience a chance to sing and Bruce was happy to harmonise with the audience rather than the other way round. Rivers appeared again as we were transported back to early days with a beaten old transit touring dance halls. Where The Rivers Run we had scenes reminiscent of the early days as the band came to the front in a half circle the moment was inspirational as they weaved in a jam like feel. With clips of recognisable riffs, and snatches of the impeccable guitar work of Calum Macdonald. A pair of Drums, electric guitars, singer and tambourine rooted in the deep earth of folk and spreading out through the music that rocks our soul. Runrig tonight bought a shining rhythm for the twenty-first century with hints of the blues Canned Heat meets Scottish Folk. One of the evening highlights was The Story the video told the tale in its black and white montage that took us back from the future to days of youth and hope.
This was a set exploring the back catalogue never dominated by The Story. This was a celebration of the musical journey of Runrig. As the unspoken question. What is the future for Runrig? Never a household name rather a band with a loyal army of followers. The Story is the last Studio album. So is the last live tour as well? Bruce Guthro openly admitted during the show that even the band can’t decide on what the future holds beyond this tour and the summer shows. So it is watch this space to see if there is another chapter in The Story that is Runrig. With such longevity, huge fan base, the ability to have the audience clapping and participating from the first note the future must be golden a 50th tour does have a regal ring! My seat is booked!