Review: Runrig come to Ipswich with The Story

Scottish folk rockers Runrig, whose last studio album The Story is out now. Photo: Matt Liengie

Scottish folk rockers Runrig, whose last studio album The Story is out now. Photo: Matt Liengie - Credit: Archant

They’ve rarely made the charts in their 40+ year history. Some of their best songs are written in a language spoken by only a few thousand people on the fringes of Scotland. And their best-known claim to fame for some is that one of their stars ran off to become an MP.

But on Saturday night Scottish folk-rockers Runrig packed the Ipswich Regent and had the very English audience singing along with their Gaelic tribute to their homeland, Alba.

Because the fact is Runrig are one of the best bands you will ever see live – and the music, a fusion of Scottish folk and high-powered rock, is refreshingly unique.

They have a new album to plug, The Story, so many of the numbers were heard on Saturday were unfamiliar to the audience.

But we heard enough to know that the band has returned from a year of writing, rehearsing, and recording the album with a real gem to add to their collection.

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The title track was accompanied by the moving video they have made to go with it. It’s a fantastic elegy to their Hebridean roots.

In fact when they all came to the front of the stage to perform the wonderful “The place where the rivers run”, it didn’t take too much of a leap to see them performing it at the Community Centre in Portree on the Isle of Skye.

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Of course no Runrig show is over until the final encore performance of Loch Lomond exhorting the crowd to take the high road or low road to Scotland.

But this time there was a poignant final coda – an a capella snatch of “Hearts of Olden Glory” as a tribute to two colleagues who died recently. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Paul Geater

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