French Wives @ Captains Rest 18-06-09

June 29, 2009

FRENCH WIVES
Captains Rest, Glasgow, June 18 * * * *

It’s still early days but French Wives are definitely a new Glasgow band worth keeping an eye on. Sure there’s still work to be done – constructing a set list for starters – but there was more than enough potential on display tonight to suggest a bright future for the Glaswegians.
Buoyed up by a good turn-out, the five-piece got proceedings off to great start with Small Time Crooks, its simple trombone hook and frenetic bursts of violin and guitar making for an urgently melodic three minutes.
If their opener recalled shades of Okkervil River then on Capilano it was the influence of Arcade Fire that shone through. Thankfully however they managed to avoid the pitfalls that all too often catch out those who draw inspiration from the Canadians.
Throughout, frontman Stuart Dougan was a commanding presence. Towering over the crowd he was at the peak of his powers on Romeo & Genevieve, his natural delivery reminiscent of a young Evan Dando.
On the down side, the absence of any patter policing and a tendency to muck about with tuning between songs meant momentum was seldom maintained, while ending with an acoustic rendition of Sleepy Head from the midst of the crowd made for an underwhelming and slightly odd finale. But overall it was a promising performance from a band actually worthy of the much over-used phrase “ones-to-watch”.

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