Stornoway @ Colston Hall

Stornoway’s farewell tour was for many – not least the band – going to be an emotional affair. Their unassuming, folksy melodies have kindled a loyal fan base over the years and the crowd at Bristol’s Colston Hall was no exception.

The support act Brasstronauts had travelled all the way from Vancouver replete with beanie hats and what I can only describe as ‘space clarinets’, to conjure an atmosphere of anticipation with their ingenious blend of indie rock and jazz. Tracks like ‘Raveshadow were a perfect precursor to Stornoway’s more harmony and acoustic focused sound.

Colston Hall was packed with a mixture of standing and seated punters who waited in anticipation for the main act. It was clear that the majority of the audience were fans who had traced Stornoway’s success over the years - every other person was singing along to crowd pleasers like ‘Zorbing’ and Fuel Up’. The thought and energy which the band had put into the set for their final tour was clear to see. Acoustic numbers like November Song’ and ‘Josephine’ stunned the audience into silence whilst a comical and equally poignant cover of 80’s classic Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ had people belting out the words.

Perhaps it was Stornoway’s unassuming modesty and ability to poke fun at themselves which meant the band didn’t gain the recognition they deserved in a world of swaggering bravado and bands who gig like it’s an infringement of their leisure time. However, I believe that if you’d have asked any fan at that show if they would change Stornoway for a few more years of their music, they would say no. The music Stornoway created together belongs to an increasingly rare kind which their live shows exhibit in the best possible way. If you’re able to grab tickets for any of the remaining stops on their tour, you’re in for a treat.

Freya Spriggs