Friday, August 09, 2013

Coquettish Humanitarians,

On scrolling through the listings, I noticed that Three Blind Wolves were in the area. Despite not being instantly swayed into a state of awe, I’ve always kept an eye on Three Blind Wolves from a distance, due to my appreciation of the talents of Ross Clark, the singer and band leader. I bought his Anthems in Clams EP and he wrote back a lovely note of thanks and donated a few extra CDs as I was apparently the first person to place an order. Three Blind Wolves have left behind that indie-folk, anti-folk, sappy-folk thing that Ross might have become embroiled in and created a sound that is influenced hugely by Americana, this is not necessarily my favourite taste, but I trust Ross and I couldn’t ignore the band when they turned up in town.

First on the bill was Stanley, a local band from Aberdeen. Everyone must start somewhere but I have no great memories of the ‘bottom of the bill local band’ and I was tempted to stay at home but I dragged myself down there early. I made a wise choice, Stanley are quite good. The singer has a voice similar to that of Neil Hannon, indeed, their songs employ the sweet, tinkling percussion and the marching stomp that The Divine Comedy often do. Where they better or vary from The Divine Comedy is in their vocal harmonies, the other band members often step up and their chorus gives the group a different dimension. I hope to hear more of them in the coming months.

The deciding factor in whether I attended the gig was the presence of Washington Irving on the bill. I’d read the reviews and seen their name around other like bands, Admiral Fallow, Woodenbox, Loch Awe, Meursault, etc. If I was to draw comparisons, I would be thinking of The Pogues and The Decemberists due to their use of guitars, mandolin and flute. You’ve Seen theLast of Me is particularly anthemic but I enjoyed all of their set.

Time was wearing on and I was sleepy, in an act of top duffing, I decided to avoid sugar and caffeine for the remainder of the evening in hope of a better sleep when I eventually arrived home, I’m not proud to admit but I was on the verge of retiring before the main act. When Three Blind Wolves started with Hotel and then Parade, two of their singles, I thought they might have peaked and that I wouldn’t miss much more if I went but I dug in and I stayed. I’ve always loved Parade, it sits alongside Anthems in Clams in terms of quality, but I found the whole set to be of an equally high standard. By the time of the final song, Echo on the Night Train, I was yearning for the pillow but the encore was served up - a Ross Clark solo (good, old times) and a lovely rendition of The Weight.

I grabbed the poster and ran.


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