Tag Archives: Three Blind Wolves

Three Blind Wolves at Saint Luke’s, 25/2/17

It is a bittersweet evening at Saint Luke’s as Three Blind Wolves play their last ever show.

Arguably one of the finest acts to have come out of Glasgow in recent years, the Wolves have never really got the recognition their material deserved and – as is the case for many musicians in similar positions – life has gotten in the way and the band has decided to call it a day.

That is not to say that this evening is going to be a downbeat affair.

A massive part of what made Three Blind Wolves so great was their gung-ho approach to their live performances; it is clear that their final performance will be no different this evening.

The venue is packed to the rafters as they bounce onstage, sufficient evidence (as if any was needed) to the adulation shown towards them.

They begin with fan-favourite ‘Emily Rose’, outlining from the off that everyone is in this together.

Lead vocalist Ross Clark steps away from his microphone to hear five hundred voices hollering the refrain back at him.

This continues throughout and is probably about as fun as a show will be all year.

There’s girls on shoulders, singalongs at every opportunity, and even the beginnings of moshpits at various points.

A 90-minute set is a long time to fill for a band who aren’t blessed with the luxury of a massive back catalogue, however at no point does this evening’s performance fall flat, or feel stretched out.

If anything, the band don’t have enough time to fit in all of their best material.

There is no place in the set for the likes of ‘Gold On The Cross’, while ‘Slow Summer Deer’ and ‘Captain Of A Ship’ are bolstered to sound as huge as the vast surroundings of the converted church venue they are performing in this evening.

‘Hotel’, the song which encapsulates everything that is incorporated into Three Blind Wolves’ music, ends the main set.

They’re a little bit country, they’re a little bit rock and roll, but ultimately they can’t be pigeonholed into any particular genre, and this is what has made them stand out amongst a claustrophobic Scottish music scene for so many years.

It is a goosebump-inducing ‘Three Blind Wolves’ (the song) which finishes proceedings for good tonight.

It’s an emotional affair, and Clark is noticeably overwhelmed as he lays his guitar down for the last time.

He is greeted with stage invaders providing friendly bear hugs, and with one final wave, the band leaves the stage for good.

It’s been eight years, featuring a mini-album, full-length record, and an EP, including countless memorable shows all over the world, but now it’s all over.

Three Blind Wolves – you will be sorely missed.

More Photos

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Words: Graham McCusker
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

West End Festival All Dayer at Oran Mor, 19/6/16

So it’s another dad day and another all dayer at Oran Mor as part of the West End Festival, and while the line up today may not be quite as dad friendly as last year’s fare there is a host of local talent at various stages of their musical development on offer.

Lewis Capaldi

Arriving early we manage to catch Lewis Capaldi opening at the Whisky Bar and the gruff voiced singer-songwriter, who recently sold out his debut headline show at The Garage Attic, portrays plenty of attention grabbing presence.

The load bar is full of bustling punters out for lunch or beers with their dads, but it’s huge credit to Capaldi that he manages to hold his own in loud bar that many would fade away into.

Three Blind Wolves

In the Venue we pop down for the start of local folk rock favourites Three Blind Wolves, whose recent EP The Bridge ranks among the best things they’ve done yet, deliver their ever impressive live set as their rousing musicianship coupled with Ross Clark’s booming vocals is a great way to kick things off downstairs.

Martha Ffion

Alas this can only be a brief visit for the Wolves as the wonderful Martha Ffion is started upstairs in the gorgeous Auditorium.

As Ffion takes the stage early on in the day the beautiful venue is sadly a bit towards the empty side.

Nevertheless Ffion and her band make the most of the stunning venue, performing like the room is full and receiving loud cheers at the end of each song for her charming sugarcoated vocals.

Having built up a large repertoire of 60s fuzzy pop peppered singles it is clear the Irish-born songstress’ confidence and stage presence has grown since I saw her last allowing her to grip her audience’s attention throughout her set closing on the wonderfully touching ‘We Disappear’.

Be Charlotte

We arrive early to catch Withered Hand’s set but are disappointed to find out he is stuck in traffic so we make the decision to head back upstairs to catch the wonderful Be Charlotte.

Having seen young Charlotte Brimner perform multiple time in the last year, the latest being just yesterday for Detour’s Hug and Pint Birthday party, her set comes as no real surprise, but it’s huge credit to the sparkling Dundonian that her set remains as impressive as the first time I witnessed it.

From the beginning of single and opener ‘Discover’ to the end of the set Brimner possess an addictive quality that bursts with an innovative take on pop music that could and should see her to the very top.

Whether hitting out a potential chart banger, chanting almost spoken word eloquence or delivering gob smacking acapella in her unique yet completely stunning tones, it’s hard not to enjoy and become engulfed in her set.

As we cannot possibly drag ourselves away from Be Charlotte, when we manage to head back downstairs for a second attempt at Withered Hand, he’s just finishing his set, however personal favourite, ‘Religious Songs’ allows us a short yet excellent taster of exactly what Dan Wilson’s solo set has to offer.

Catholic Action

Up next are fuzzy-rockers Catholic Action who treat the crowd to a number of new tracks during their set.

Between tracks the band’s on stage repartee is extremely entertaining as frontman Chris McCrory half-joking states “this is a slow song so shut up” in a deadpan manner.

It doesn’t take long for the to band speed things up with a song about pop diva Rita Ora before finishing their set by giving it their all.

With a set that showcases Catholic Action’s musical ability as well diversity, it’s no surprise that their captivating laid back melodies, angsty lyrics and jangly guitar noise create one of the day’s most memorable sets.

De Rosa

In the Venue a wonderful twinkling misery hangs in the air, but despite the glum demeanor De Rosa are mesmerising, Martin John Henry’s heartfelt vocals are believable and hit just the right side of charming, while musically they deliver enough bounce to put a string in your step without becoming jolly.

De Rosa returned at last year’s all dayer with a long awaited bang and while new album Weem didn’t quite drown them in accolades in was a slow burner that cemented their place as a vital part of the scene in Scotland and this set only confirms that.

Pronto Mama

It’s withdrawn but encapsulating, cold yet welcoming; a delightful touch between the fun romps of Catholic Action and next up, upstairs Pronto Mama.

The best set of the day goes to the effortlessly cool Pronto Mama, who from the moment they take the stage grasp of the crowd’s attention.

Their catchy upbeat tracks make it hard to stop everyone from having a little dance, even the band themselves join in and it’s not long until bassist Michael Griffin’s glasses go flying off his face.

The highlight of their set however has to be the courageous acapella ‘Sentiment’, which gives the crowd the opportunity to catch their breath as the whole band come together to deliver the track in beautiful harmony.

Errors

Due to the early start we have to choose a moment to pop out for food, which unfortunately sees us missing all of Crash Club and the vast majority of the heavenly vocaled Rachel Sermanni’s set, however we are back well in time for downstairs’ headliners Errors.

There’s a wee “hello” for Steev Livingstone and we’re off into a haze of fazer ridden, building beats that layers up to points of pounding bass and huge euphoric rises.

The sparse reverb ridden vocals on the tracks from one last year’s stand out albums, Lease of Life, give a live feel not to far removed from the better end of Animal Collective’s solo material, i.e. Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, and as this melds into a cacophony of organic synth and bass from their familiar beat ridden post rock sound.

Tracks from last year’s more dreamy release seem at ease side by side with the driven guitars of their older material and it’s a pleasure to delve into; everything Errors seem to do seems to come off perfectly and as Livingstone dryly asks “have you enjoyed it?” the crowd respond unanimously only for him to come back in the same deadpan tone “good, we’ll play again… some other time”.

Let’s hope it’s not too far off.

So another successful day of music from the centre piece, musically at least, of the West End Festival and the perfect way to spend a Sunday with or without your dad.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson/Jess Lavin
Photos: Aimee Boyle/Stewart Fullerton

Three Blind Wolves – The Bridge

Glaswegian indie faves Three Blind Wolves return with their new EP The Bridge and it’s great to have them back.

Singer Ross Clark is still picking away at life’s little annoyances, channelling the energetic power pop of The New Pornographers or Weezer on the brilliant anger management anthem ‘Stay Calm Ali’, while the more melancholic ‘Soft Crowd Classic’ sees him muse that “they tell me misery sells but I’m not convinced”.

Though their Scottish roots are on show as prominently as any modern rock act, Three Blind Wolves are at their best when they swap arch miserablism for sincere pop energy and there is plenty of pop punk “whoah-ohs” to keep their downcast fanbase happy

Even when Clark sings “wrote a song about crying myself to sleep”, it’s over a tune that gallops along like an unruly puppy.

Don’t be deceived by the surface simplicity though; there is clever songcraft at work too with the chorus unfurling just where you wouldn’t expect it, adding another dimension to a track that could otherwise be a fairly conventional tale of longing and loneliness before gang vocals lift the track to its singalong finale

The EP was recorded at The Cottage, a rural studio next to Loch Fyne, and the bucolic surroundings feed into ‘Be The Man’ with its fingerpicked intro and multi tracked whispers before the ‘The Bridge’ brings the EP to a close.

The title track is the most downbeat track on the release, based around a simple recurring riff and Clark’s emotive lyrics that cast the titular structure as a precarious balancing act.

Their Biffy-sized breakthrough remains elusive, but it’s great to hear Three Blind Wolves back from the wild.

Words: Max Sefton

Celtic Connections: Three Blind Wolves, John Knox Sex Club at The Hug and Pint, 25/1/16

With Burns night in full flow, where better to be than the sweaty basement of The Hug and Pint for tonight’s Celtic Connections show, where two of Glasgow’s best loved underground bands treat us to a feast of live music?

Those who were worried that John Knox Sex Club had called it quits for good a few years ago, fear not, they’re back and as raucous as ever.

Frontman Sean Cumming spends half the show in the crowd, hugging audience members and belting forth his lyrics.

He’s a man of contradictions, who’ll spend the time between tracks quoting Tam O’ Shanter with a touch of Morrissey’s archness only to slip into jovial piss taking with his bandmates.

‘Hard Days Coming’ sounds like something Burns himself would roar out while drunk on Buckfast, while the epic closer ‘Blind Fate’ sees Cumming summon the demon intensity of Nick Cave as his band let loose a rattling heavy blues that collapses into fiddle and static.

Tonight’s headliners are excited to tell us that tonight is the first gig they’ve ever sold out in advance – although presumably someone was happy enough to sneak in Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, spotted enjoying a pint at the back.

For five years Three Blind Wolves have trodden the boards in Glasgow and further afield and it’s good to see them still getting a great response even if they’ve never quite made it to radio rock status.

‘Black Bowl Park’ with its rock n’ roll influenced solo is a catchy pop-rock number, while new track ‘Calm Down Ally’ is a barbed and catchy song about being sacked from a call centre.

There’s a new EP on the horizon so tonight offers a chance to give several new songs an airing and by the sound of it they’re still sharp, merging skiffly solos with energetic geek rock.

Returning to the stage for a solo acoustic number, Ross Clark whispers for quiet before plucking out the sombre ‘St Kilda’, but it’s the energetic ‘Emily Rose’ that sees the full band return to the stage to deliver their best call-and-response moment of the night that really sends the audience off happy.

They may never be the most glamorous band in Glasgow, but Three Blind Wolves play with real heart and for tonight that’s plenty.

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Words: Max Sefton

Three Blind Wolves, Pronto Mama at The Hug and Pint, 18/7/15

This must be one of the most exciting line-ups in Glasgow at the minute.

Pronto Mama has two EPs under their collective belt now, and with tonight’s performance we can only a hope an album is in the offing.

You’ve seen lots of it before; the skanking, the brass, the unadulterated Glaswegian vocals, but tonight there are also a couple of a’capella songs; poems, really, an expansion of the band’s range rather than a redefinition of their sound.

They thank the obviously devoted audience for their acquiescence, but it isn’t really an option – from the second the group announce they are be doing a couple of quieter songs, through each melesmatic line, the audience are enraptured.

The applause at the end is genuine, but the second-or-so of reserve a gentle appreciation of what had just been heard.

The headliners are Three Blind Wolves, themselves the subject of intrigue as to their next moves.

They alluded to this with a teasing “we’re working on a new album,” much to the crowd’s delight, before a measuring “are we? Yeah, we are – we just said we are, right?”

While another album of the calibre of 2013’s Sing Hallelujah for the Old Machine would be very welcome, their set is a fantastic shot in the arm for fans that might be wondering what comes next.

Truncated slightly by a technical glitch (despite Gibson’s best efforts, the beer-proof electric guitar seems a way off) they rattle through a mix of older and newer songs, each with signature energy; frantic, impassioned, driven.

The new songs seem more a replication of style than an extension of it in the style of, say, Pronto Mama, but that isn’t to say the band is stagnating or anything like it.

Sing Hallelujah bears repeated listens, and whatever their follow up is – if there is one – will be a welcome addition to their output on tonight’s evidence.

Words: Simon Jones
Photos: C E Chamley

Three Blind Wolves at Sleazy’s, 22/2/14

My hasty power walk from train station to venue added to my seemingly adolescent excitement.

I had been aware of this band since vaguely associating with them in undergraduate Stirling, and they had apparently left a rather lasting impression on me.

Inhabiting the furthest booth from the entrance are Three Blind Wolves; they are truly hidden in plain sight, blending in amongst the other patrons, with one difference, they’ve got their game faces on.

Crowded but orderly, the audience have their eyes toward a slightly Christmas themed stage, green and red light up the faces of the band.

Their clearly loyal following assists when taking mistakes in stride, as light-hearted humour covers up any possible embarrassment.

The contradictory blend of professional sound alongside an air of welcome, humble confidence is unsettling but pleasant.

Closing my eyes I am greeted with a combination of perfect harmony and gravelly lead vocals, as Ross Clark appears emotionally wise beyond his years; passion rings true throughout.

Unlike the moshpits of my youth I am enveloped in a crowd that is swaying as if choreographed.

Although the climax of each song conjures up images of angsty teens rocking out after a fight with the parentals, this gaggle knows how to have fun responsibly.

With much going on in each song it is impossible to be bored, the Three Blind Wolves team takes you on a journey of varied tempo, with elements of optimism and pessimism ever present.

Fearghas Lyons’ drum skills are not ignored into the background as with many other bands, but are an integral component of the quest.

Toward the end of the set I get lost in the accessible emotional content and admiration of vintage style guitar straps when we discover it is Clark’s birthday.

It is as though we have gotten to know him so well that we cheer as friends instead of strangers at this news.

My fellow crowd members have made a transition into a horde of fellow musicians singing along in key as opposed to screeching out indecipherable words.

The last compliment I’ll pay Three Blind Wolves is that they know how to move to their music without looking like they’re having some kind of seizure; well done, boys.

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Words: Dani Cole

Meursault, Three Blind Wolves at Oran Mor, 19/6/14

In its small life, Oran Mor has become more than just a multi-purpose arts and entertainment venue in the heart of the West End, it has become an institution.

Sitting at the top of Byres Road, it is a beacon and facilitator for creativity and Glasgow’s enticing culture.

As its 10th birthday has rolled around, what better way to celebrate this than with a series of  live music, theatre and comedy events to toast this milestone.

Nestled among the the bill, which includes Scottish veteran Edie Reader, is a live performance from Edinburgh’s Meursault and Three Blind Wolves.

Three Blind Wolves are first on the bill and are still riding high after their well-received 2013 debut album Sing Hallelujah for the Old Machine.

The popularity that the boys have amassed is startlingly evident as fans belt out word for word the electrifying anthems.

Delivering a deliciously energetic set, beginning with their older tracks, ‘Hotel’ and ‘Black Bowl Parade’, the band are set to make sure the crowd are more than satisfied.

The deep harmonies offered by the rest of the band to complement Ross Clark’s lead vocals almost give off a vibe of an indie-rock version of a barbershop quartet.

A particularly rousing version of ‘Honey Fire’ leaves the crowd in awe of this bands eclectic mix of genres, which blend together to create the kind of sound that is particularly special.

Offering medleys and off mic moments a plenty, the band are loud and not afraid to make an impression.

After Three Blind Wolves rousing performance, the mood is somewhat mellowed out as critically acclaimed indie-rockers Meursault take the stage.

Despite being described as a mixture of ‘folktronica, alternative rock and indie folk’, Meursault can’t really be categorised in to any superficial naming device.

Neil Pennycook, the bands lyrically and vocally gifted lead is almost like the creative director of the whole deal.

The emotion that pours out of him during the bands entire performance is other-worldly and gives their entire live performance an almost whimsical feeling to it.

One almost wonders how he tolerates the emotional turmoil that he seemingly goes through in each live performance.

It seems exhausting and by the end you feel almost emotionally exhausted from just watching him.

With their most recent album 2012’s Something For The Weakened being shortlisted for last years Scottish Album of The Year award, it is evident that with maturation the band have found their own niche and with it the spirt of self-assurance has been bestowed on them.

A highlight of the performance is a cover of ‘Lioness’ from Jason Mollina’s project Songs: Ohia.

The similarities in Meursault with this particular work is evident and the cover is flawlessly pulled off.

A joke about a comment on the dubious ‘songmeaning.com’ website about whether the song could be literally asking if the writer actually has sexual fantasies about lionesses is made to introduce and end the cover.

Anecdotes of this kind are aplenty and enable Pennycook to switch between two onstage personas: serious and laid-back.

The dizzying change from heavy to light is much needed respite.

Other stand outs included ‘Dearly Distracted’ with its expertly executed monumental guitar solo and sultry tones which emanate throughout the venue.

‘Flitten’ provides a more lively tempo and enables the band to have the crowd in its hands with the songs rapturous appeal.

As the night draws to an end, we are left with a taster of a new song, which includes the lyrics: “and i look round this park and realise that this is a good life and to enjoy it”, perhaps a nod to a more optimistic new outlook that could possibly be introduced in their work to come.

The crowd react ecstatically as the band leave the stage and as the applause fails to cease, the band come back on to what they say is “their second ever encore in Glasgow”.

Finishing with the sharp, piano filled ‘Settling’, the band end on the kind of energy that leaves you hollow and completely emotionally demolished, yet almost begging for more.

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Words: Katharine Gemmell