Politics - Who To Trust?

  The 76 Year Catastrophe

  Black Country Communion Back!

  Within Temptation Live Recordings

  Montreux Festival July 2024

  Beth Gibbons New Solo LP


  Politics Is Failing

  Ani DiFranco New LP

  Pink Floyd’s Animals Remix


  Seasick Steve Alive & Kickin’

  Glen Hansard New LP/23-24 Tour

  Joe Bonamassa Live LP & Tour

  Pearl Jam New LP & Tour

  Feeder New LP & Tour

  “My country, right or wrong…”

  Heart Announce Live Tours

  Anais Mitchell HADESTOWN Returns

  The Photographer’s Selection

  My Favourite Records

  Gaza Nightmare Continues

  Gaza Nightmare Continues

  Download 2024 First Acts

  Princess Goes COME OF AGE

  Springsteen 2024 Tour

  Philip ‘Seth’ Campbell Live

  This Troubled World

  Dark Side Of The Moon 50th

  The More I Hear The Less I Know

  Great Albums: Fresh New Life

  Hozier’s New Album

  Nicole Atkins Jim Sclavunos Live

  SBT (Sarabeth Tucek) Live

  I’m As Angry As Hell!

  Magnum - A Year in Ukraine

  Alessandra Sanguinetti Interview

  The Damn Truth Live

  Newton Faulkner Live

  The Handsome Family Live

  The State We’re In Pt II

  Eric Gales Live

  The Cavalry Never Arrived

  Chvrches Live

  Andrés Peña Flamenco Star Live

  Paul Draper Live

  A Fly-Free Zone

  Liverpool Jazz Festival

  The Charlatans Live

  UK Democracy Threatened

  Rag’n'Bone Man Live

  Sea Girls Live

  Martha Wainwright Live

  Politics is Failing

  Moby The Very Best Of Interview


  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

  Music & Brexit

  Happy New Year?

  On Barbra Streisand

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?


  Photojournalism Hero

  Samantha Fish Live

  Gill Landry Live in Chester

  Noah Gundersen Live

  David Gilmour’s Interview

  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

  New Model Army Live

  Shakespears Sister Live

  Lamb Live in Manchester

  The Struts Live

  Sting & Shaggy Live

  Ana Popovic, Lynne Jackaman Live

  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  John Lennon Interview

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death

Karine Polwart Trio Live


RNCM Manchester, 20 October 2018

Polwart writes music for social change, with lyrics that articulate their values poetically and succinctly, obliquely and persuasively” - The Guardian
An unflinching social eye” - The Observer
One of our most lyrically striking, and significant, artists” - The List

Karine Polwart is a multi-award-winning songwriter and musician, a theatre maker, storyteller, spoken-word performer, essayist, and published writer. Karine is touring in 2018 with her trio – long-term collaborators brother Steven Polwart (guitars) and Inge Thomson (accordion, percussion) – and recently released a new studio album, LAWS OF MOTION.


I was familiar with Karine Polwart’s name but have never heard her music until her latest album arrived for review. Now I have never been a fan of ye olde tradional English folk music but in the last few years the genre has been dragged into the 21st century by both bands and solo artists, and with a significant amount of popular success. Earlier this year I favourably reviewed an album by Stick In The Wheel which for me was a perfect example of how the genre’s essence can be preserved while sugar coating with indie rock arrangement and sounds. Polwart’s new album LAWS OF MOTION is another wonderful example of how the genre can maintain it’s storytelling impact with subtle modern musicality. For this reason I was keen to see the lady and her associates perform live, and in a venue that would do the trio justice.


The Royal Northern College of Music is tailor-made for acoustic singer-songwriter acts although Manchester council has made it so very difficult to secure convenient parking and access. With its colosseum arena vibe the venue lends itself to audence participation and excellent acoustics. Just fifteen minutes before the performance commenced there was but a trickle of punters wandering into the auditorium but in that short period of time the place was virtually full. One aspect was unusual and that was the number of parents accompanying their very young children. Age-wise, the audience was dominated by middle-age but there were a significant number of younger fans although not many teens. So a welcome broad section of popular support which proved to be more than justified.


The opening song, ‘I Burn But I Am Not Consumed’ (from the new album), featured spoken dialogue of Marianne McCloud’s story with a backdrop of plucked guitar notes which built into the trio’s instrumental storm. There were early examples of lush and fragile vocal harmonies from Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson which were to appear throughout the concert. ‘Rivers Run’ (taken from 2008’s THE EARTHLY SPELL) further underlined Polwart’s quite beautiful fluid and natural voice.

Polwart explained most of the songs performed with one of the most poignant being the story of Jewish children being transported to safety. The song was ‘Suitcase’ from the new album - “The suitcase in the lobby is always packed and ready for the leaving….for when it’s time to go.” It’s a darker song with a deep rhythmic thrum from brother Steven’s guitar and percussive moments from Thomson. This was one of my highlights from the show. The next song, ‘Cornerstone’, was also introduced with a  story about a lighthouse on an island of natural scientific interest. Again Steven’s acoustic guitar played a vital role in lifting the drama of the track with a riff refrain that provided a distinctive and memorable note. Through this earlier phase of the show Polwart stayed anchored behind her euphonium but increasingly began to rely on her guitars for song support. The trio played in total harmony and at a level where Polwart’s vocal were heard with utmost clarity.


Another story accompanied ‘Molly Simes’ and a song with a dance resonance, but perhaps the most moving point in the night came with a song called ‘Swim Until You Can’t See The Land’. The song was written by Scottish band Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, who killed himself in May 2018. Hutchinson was a prime supporter of those with mental health issues. Polwart’s rendition was dark and emotional. Polwart then described a pop quiz which was part of a Scottish pop celebration festival. The trio came through with flying colours until the last segment of the contest and eventually came second, floored by s single question. It was one amongst several humorous stories told and much appreciated by her audience. Then another favourite song from the album appeared. Title track ‘Laws Of Motion’ comes with a strong melody and powerful choruses and is the rockiest song of the show. The backing vocals and instrumentals were fabulous.

After the intermission my favourite song on the album, ‘Ophelia’, arrived with its wonderful acoustic introduction and for me Polwart’s finest vocal on the album. This was an effortless and wonderfully entertaining display by the singer and her supporting players who provided superb instrumental and backing vocal performances. This was meaningful and sincere folk music for a wide audience and I can heartily recommend you buy a ticket if she arrives in your neck of the woods.



I Burn But I Am Not Consumed
Rivers Run
Young Man On A Mountain
Molly Simes Welcomes To Salters Road
Here’s Where Tomorrow
Swim Until You Can’t See Land


Crow On The Cradle
The Robin
Inge Thomson Performance
Tinsel Show
Kings Of Birds
Follow The Heron

Page: 1 2


Liverpool - Gallery: Portico Quartet
Portico Quartet

Gaza Last 48 Hours - Gallery: A Ceasefire?
A Ceasefire? Gaza 2024 - Gallery: They Bombed The Children
They Bombed The Children
Shakenstir - Homepage Links Reviews Live Interviews Features News Contact Gallery Shakenstir - Homepage