Live review: Three Blind Wolves w/ Open Swimmer at The Arches 25/03/11

There’s little in life to make you feel more like you’re in a movie than walking, Goodfella’s tracking shot style, into an ongoing gig. I arrive at the Arches to find Open Swimmer in full swing, a huge crowd before them as they are perfectly framed by the stone archway. And the best part is that they sound great too – a laidback, poppy mix of harmonies. Single ‘Sugar Bowl’ is worth a listen for its life and immediacy but the bands quieter moments are their strength and they look like ones to watch.

The Arches is a big place to fill for a band in its relative infancy but as Three Blind Wolves take to the stage they stand before a healthy audience. For a time things feel a little flat and one wonders if Tut’s would have been a better setting but when opener ‘Hotel’ gets to its fantastic conclusion everyone is in.

Singer Ross Clark’s voice might as well have been custom built for these surroundings. As he belts out lyrics his distinctive vocals are focused and amplified by the stone walls and become far and away the most prominent aspect of the songs. On ‘Captain of a Ship’ in particular the vocals are an anchor (pun intended) upon which the song is formed.

The most impressive thing about watching Three Blind Wolves is how complete they look. This isn’t exciting potential, it’s a fully formed band with a strong set of songs that they are eager to show off. The quality of song writing shines through on every track and the band ooze enthusiasm as they rattle them off. ‘Echo on the Nightrain’ stands out as it moves between angular, jerky verses to sing-along choruses with consummate ease.

The only drawback tonight is the performance of the band. When they do loud and chaotic they are splendid, especially with extra members in place, but when things need to be tight and rigid there’s something wanting. Perhaps it’s the sound in the cavernous arch but nonetheless it’s a minor complaint amid an exciting set.

For an ending to the night the band jump down from the stage and perform in a little clearing among the fans. It’s a folky affair that requires some audience participation and works well as a fun way to close the set. One can niggle about the size of the venue and the sound of the band but good song writing is always a determining factor. With songs this good and a live performance to back them up it’s an exciting time to catch Three Blind Wolves.

Words: Alastair Mitchell

Photos: Stewart Fullerton

For more photos click HERE


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