Live review: Sparrow and the Workshop, John Knox Sex Club, Three Blind Wolves at Stereo, 22/2/12


There’s not a massive need to spell out how far Three Blind Wolves have progressed in recent years, the review of last week’s set at the same venue  pretty much spells it out.

Tonight sees the band opening, instead of headlining, with a stripped back set enticing the crowd in for the second bill of their SXSW fundraising.

Straight away there’s a note of professionalism around the band, they’re clean and clinical in their performance but not afraid to go off the leash from time to time.

You’d think a stripped back set may restrain the Wolves, frontman Ross Clark’s urgency and the energy the band emit is what make them such a good live prospect, you’d think maybe that could go amiss tonight.

It doesn’t, this is a band hitting its stride and nothing is going to knock them off, Clark, celebrating his birthday tonight, captures attention with his powerful vocals atop the band’s toe tapping alt folk.

What stripping back the music does do is hint at some of the band’s roots, there’s always a slight bluesy country vibe kicking through TBW but it becomes more apparent when you aren’t being dragged away by a full on live show.

It is this vibe that sets them apart from their peers and what will eventually see them take that extra step to join some of their contemporaries on a bigger stage.

Experiments with four ways harmonies and being joined by members of John Knox Sex Club add a little more to the mix, adding a few extra tricks to their arsenal before the trip to SXSW for probably the biggest opportunity of their career so far.

John Knox Sex Club are up next and you never expect anything less than a rip-roaring live show from these guys, and once again they deliver.

Frontman Sean Cummings is an imposing figure and ever-impressive leader as he pronounces every word atop glorious soundscapes to an engrossed audience.

The soundscapes move into driving beats as Cummings strides in front of the crowd holding everything together perfectly before every so often everything explodes to a cacophony of noise that pushes the adrenalin that step further and sees Cummings hit that trance like next level.

In usual fashion they fill the room with awe and Cummings grasps the love as he hugs every willing participant and leaves a difficult task for anyone to follow.

Still, if there’s anyone in this scene worthy to follow that it is Sparrow and the Workshop, the three-piece may not be quite as engaging a presence as Cummings but their music more than makes up for it.

Sparrow captivate you from the start and vocalist Jill O’Sullivan’s voice drills into your head in addictive fashion while the band’s pure rock n’ roll feel drags you in that step further.

This a band you could easily watch all night, tonight they maybe don’t capture the same vibe as a packed Sleazy’s last year but they’re not far off, there’s something about the these guys live that pulls you in, the songs which on record are great are elevated to a new level leaving you just wanting more.

O’Sullivan tries to round the night off with a drinking game of sorts, and although the plan doesn’t come off, the choice of cover is so good that it leaves everyone singing-along and dancing, forgetting the game.

Covering Donna Summer’s disco classic ‘I Feel Love’ sets the tone for the rest of the night, ending a showcase of some of Glasgow’s best artists.

Photos: Amandine Eap

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