LIVE REVIEW : NEW BRIGHTON : ★★★★★

New Brighton Pavilion Theatre.
October 15, 2012  by Ian D. Hall


Karine Polwart continues to amaze and beguile audiences whenever she steps out onto a stage, whether in her native Scotland or when she ventures across the border and comes down south to places such as Bristol and London.

One area where she needs no introduction is that of Merseyside. In the past she has performed in the now sadly missed Pacific Road Art Centre and in the incredible setting of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, now she wowed all before her in the intimate and sanguine setting of the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton.

With her brother Steven Polwart on guitar and Inge Thompson on accordion joining Karine Polwart on stage, the music was of extreme high quality during the two hour show.

Opening up the night from the lead song from the highly rated latest album Traces, Karine explained how a new golf course had impacted on the lives of those in rural Aberdeenshire in such negative ways that for anyone who hadn’t heard the album was left stunned by how some individuals will react when they don’t get their way. The beauty of Cover Your Eyes was beset by the knowledge of what it had been taken from the locals in their fight, and no matter how beautiful or desperately haunting a song is, sometimes the fight must be fought on.

The new album played a big part in this latest visit to the area by Karine and rightly so as the album reflected her passionate and artistic side well. Songs from Traces that were given an airing during the night were Strange News, the brilliant track about Charles Darwin and the love of his family, We’re all Leaving, the bittersweet Tears For Lots Wife, the fantastic Salters Road and Sticks and Stones.

One of the most incredible sights on the night was Karine playing the shruti box, an appliance of such temperamental capacity it takes a real musical genius to make it sound impressive. Karine went beyond that and alongside her brother and Inge she demonstrated incredible will whilst performing with the Indian musical instrument, the sound and mood she was able to bring out infront of a captivated audience was worth it a hundred times over.

There was even time for a small treat for the assembled crowd as the three musicians on stage performed an excellent version of The Beatles Love Me Do with the music coming from a ukulele. It is not every day that you see something that takes your breath away but Karine and the other musicians managed it wonderfully.

A fantastic evening of pure entertainment, tempered only by the thought that it might be a while before Karine is back in the area.