Ipswich: Celtic sounds rock the Regent as Runrig come to town

RUNRIG at the Ipswich Regent, Wednesday night.

Scottish folk/rock legends are preparing to celebrate their 40th anniversary next year – and gave their devoted fans a real treat at the Regent.

Their roots – and everything about the band – is heavily influenced by their background, and even the fact their lead singer is Canadian does nothing to dilute the Celtic influence.

The Regent was packed. Whether that means there’s a huge hidden Scottish clan in Ipswich, whether it means fans are prepared to travel a long distance to see a great band, or whether people appreciate fantastic music whatever its roots doesn’t really matter. The answer is possibly a mixture of all three!

Runrig was founded on the Isle of Skye and its first members all came from the north of Scotland. Two of them subsequently left the band to go into politics – original keyboard player Pete Wishart is now an SNP MP!

But the band goes from strength to strength with a wide mixture of sounds from fast, driving folk-rock through to haunting melodies based on traditional sounds.

How many bands could get the crowd on its feet in Ipswich singing along to Alba . . . in Gaelic?

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Lead singer Bruce Guthro has a fantastic voice. He spoke to the audience in his native Canadian accent – but when he sings he sounds as Scottish as the rest of them!

His solo version of Hearts of Olden Glory at the start of the encore sent shivers down the spine.

And to have the whole audience in the heart of East Anglia singing and stomping along to their version of Loch Lomond was quite stunning.

He also showed the band have a great rapport with their audience – thanking them for spending their hard-earned money on the concert at a time when finance is tough for many people.

I’m told Runrig are a “Marmite” band – you love them or you hate them. This week’s show proved there is no shortage of people who love them in this part of the world – and they rewarded these fans with a great show.

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