Gig review: Runrig, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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

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

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

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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.