Gig review: Runrig, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Runrig. Picture: Contributed
Runrig. Picture: Contributed
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HAVING called time on their recording career of nearly 43 years, who knows what’s next for Runrig?

Runrig | Rating: **** | Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

As lead singer Bruce Guthro openly acknowledged, “we don’t have a damn clue to our future”. Appearing live after 18 months away, there was no doubting the Skye rockers’ ongoing passion for performance here, nor the full-hearted reverence in which they’re held by their fans.

Their final album, The Story, has a sepia-tinted, elegiac nostalgia, yet retains the panoramic horizons that have always characterised their rousing sound. New song The Years We Shared has a novelistic sweep, shimmering into reverb-heavy, emotional splendour.

Along with the new record’s title track, it was a clear standout on the night, the latter supplementing the folky earnestness of bassist Rory McDonald’s Gaelic lyrics with a pounding, contemporary rock purpose. Featuring a martial beat and imagery of smiling squaddies and poppies projected onto a giant screen behind the band, Rise and Fall is a well-meaning ballad that never quite rises compellingly enough to meet the virtue of its intentions. Still, the six-piece are on surer ground with The Place Where The Rivers Run, a hugely danceable celebration reiterating their status as a superior ceilidh band.

Elsewhere, established favourites like Harvest Moon and the Celtic wistfulness of Dance Called America won a sustained reaction from the crowd, while Alba proved the big, uplifting number that shook the concert hall. An encore of Clash of the Ash incorporated a playful nod to David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel before the obligatory Loch Lomond finale.