Live review: Refugee Week Concert with Admiral Fallow, Karine Polwart, Malcolm Middleton at The Old Fruitmarket, 17/6/13


Tonight is the opening show for Scottish Refugee Week, which aims to shine a light on the plight of refugees and the benefits they give to their community and country, in a climate where far right parties and groups like UKIP and EDL are ever prominent it is a refreshing change.

Writer Alan Bissett compares the night keeping us well entertained with some amusing banter between three SAY Awards shortlisted artists.

First up is Malcolm Middleton, who delivers songs like ‘Fuck It, I Love You’ in his typically understated and humorous way.

Playing solo tonight he manages to keep the audience’s attention, no mean feat as a support in a fairly large venue.

After a quick break it’s time for Karine Polwart, accompanied by a small backing band she plays a mix of songs inspired by current events, such as ‘Cover Your Eyes’ about the Trump golf course and old folk stories such as ‘King of Birds’.


Particularly poignant tonight is ‘Tears for Lot’s Wife’, which Polwart introduces as a song about leaving home and all the things you leave behind.

By the time Polwort finishes her short set the venue is almost full and readying itself for the main event of Admiral Fallow.

After a break to show a short video called ‘Here We Stay’ to remind us why we are all here Admiral Fallow finally take to the stage.

They open with ‘Tree Bursts’ and the now full Fruitmarket is loving it, their “new version of an old tune” ‘Burn’ seems to condense the whole set into one song, half slow and acoustic where the audience listen rapt and half a dance and sing-along.

We are then informed by frontman Louis Abbott that it is sing-along time before they launch into ‘Isn’t This World Enough??’, which succeeds in its ambitions.

Shortly after this the show seems to be coming to a close, but we are promised a party song if we lend the band our ears for one last slow number.


This turns out to be an absolutely beautiful enthralling version of ‘Four Bulbs’ in which the whole band come to the front of the stage and sing.

We are then treated to the promised party songs ‘The Way You Were Raised’ and closer ‘Brother’ filled with much clapping by Abbott and Sarah Hayes, which is probably not as impromptu as it appears.

Once the applause starts to die down Bissett appears one last time to thank us for coming and is greeted with shouts for one more tune, he goes to check and the band reappear for one final cover.

more photos

Words: Ealasaid McAlister
Photos: Beth Chalmers


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