On Saturday the 18th of August 2007, 17.500 people went to Loch Ness, not to see Nessie, but to visit Scottish folk-group Runrig at the ‘Beat The Drum Festival’ held at the Borlum Farm in Drumnadrochit, Inverness-Shire, Scotland. It should have been a warm and sunny day with good music, but it just kept pouring all day long. The DVD containing the band’s performance on that cold and rainy day got a title that says it all: Year Of The Flood, one of the tracks of Runrig’s latest album Everything You See. On this album, Runrig obviously inspired a number of prog rock acts like Mostly Autumn, Iona and Karnataka. Runrig was one of the first bands that sang in English and in Gaelic. Their ‘highland rock’ is a fine mixture of folk, rock and prog rock. On Everything You See, we even hear some slight influences of electronic music.
Many songs the band performed on the ‘Beat The Drum Festival’ were taken from Everything You See. The people standing in the mud could sing and dance along on album favourites as Road Trip with a fine Pink Floyd/U2 sounding intro, or Clash Of Ash. On this happy folk tune, the band got some extra help from Gary Innes. He is not only a great synthesizer player, but also fantastic on the accordion. For me, the beautiful mellow piece In Scandinavian is one of the highlights of the bands latest effort. Also live, this song sounds very strong. The use of acoustic guitar and string synthesizers works out to be a perfect combination. On top of it, we hear the fine voice of lead singer Bruce Guthro. As the rest of the band join, the song moves towards an incredible climax with an amazing guitar solo by Malcolm Jones. Another highlight is the title track, a song dominated by the keyboards of Brian Hurren. Brian is responsible for the lead vocals on this track as well. This wonderful piece of music was the first encore at Loch Ness followed by Project And Save, another real beauty. The E-bow-guitar sound used on that track is of a very high quality level. As the band enters the stage for the second encore, the audience has no reason at all to be disappointed. On The Edge has a great keyboard intro and an outstanding guitar solo. The background images of the impressive Scottish landscape give this song an extra dimension.
Loch Lomond first appeared on their second album Highland Connection released in 1979. The song has become the band’s own anthem that finishes every Runrig gig nowadays. This traditional song can be compared with Belfast Child (Simple Minds) or Margaret (Marillion). For a moment, the audience even forgot the rain while the band performed this song. Unfortunately, the small documentary about the creation of this special event shows that it was only raining on the day of the gig. As a bonus, some photos taken backstage and on the day of the event are included. Year Of The Flood is a most entertaining DVD-release. It’s a beautiful document showing Runrig to be a strong live band. In spite of the fact that Runrig already exists for 36 years they have no problems whatsoever to entertain their many fans!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013