Saturday, 19 February 2011

French Wives – Nice N’ Sleazy, Glasgow, 17/03/11

As the fog descends upon a sullen Glasgow twilight, the mood is set for a memorable evening at Sauchiehall St's Nice N' Sleazy where the charismatic quintet French Wives are launching their inaugural EP 'Feel Safe Small'.

At first glance it has to be said that ‘Sleazy’s’ looks anything but; the chic macabre exterior masks what lurks inside, down in the lower echelons where this extravaganza took place.

To my dismay I entered the place to the sound of the dying twangs of the first support act ‘i swim with sharks’, but I was informed in good faith that they had more than adequately piqued the interest of this predominantly ‘hipster-esque’ clan of Glaswegians. Hailing from Leeds, the dynamic three-piece set out at 11am in their “trusty van, Mabel” to show their love for friends French Wives. How admirable.

Follow-up act ‘Pilots’ bore  fleeting resemblances to contemporaries ‘Wild Beast’ and ‘Vampire Weekend’, and held the audience captivated with their jangly hooks and buoyant harmonies. “It’s a shame they’re not from Glasgow,” crooned Caitlin Macmillan, 18, whose enthusiasm for this band was clearly apparent.

After a brief respite, it was the moment for the apex of the night’s musical entertainment to grace the stage, as French Wives assumed their positions behind their instruments, greeted with a barrage of whoops and applause.

They opened with a very obvious crowd pleaser, ‘Big Brave Boy’ which supercharged the crowd into an electrified rousing of the chorus which was sufficiently bellowed back at the band just loud enough for singer Stuart Dougan to crack a smile.

“Thanks for coming to our party” murmured a humble Dougan, putting my mind to rest in regards to the question, “what’s with the multi-coloured ballons scattered everywhere?”

The band put in a stellar performance throughout their time on stage, with a near flawless rendition of ‘Give Him America’, it was evident that it wasn’t just Dougan’s enormous height that was raising the roof. “We love playing at Sleazy’s,” claimed Dougan after the show, “its something special playing to your local crowd”.

As the set came to a close, the inevitable appeal for an encore began to dance about the lips of the thoroughly satisfied throng and once they were appeased, they bestowed French Wives with a revered silence, giving them the respect they unquestionably deserve. The chorus however, triggered an eruption of singing from everyone present, creating a real connection between the crowd and the band, and it was clear that French Wives were having just as much fun as the rest of us.

The performance of last song ‘Halloween’ was one that is bound to stay with the band for a long time and perhaps become a defining moment in their time together. Speaking to Dougan after the show, he said he was “so happy with the reaction for the last song” and that it was “possibly one of the best moments we’ve had as a band”.

Overall the EP launch at Nice N’ Sleazy’s was an absolute triumph for French Wives, helping them cement their signature on the face of Scottish music, especially in Glasgow, where the infallible love for this group is overwhelming. They are currently continuing their UK tour, making 17 stops along the way at places such as Manchester, London and Stornoway.

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