Thursday, January 08, 2009


Arrived late at this Red Deer Club evening so sadly missed Carl Woodford. Not sure if this evening was a sell-out but the small upstairs room at Dulcimer was PACKED. Although it may have been difficult to get a drink, it certainly kept the crowd warm on this chilly January night.

The Random Family are a band-cum-promoters who appear to own/play/promote (?) at St Brides Church in Liverpool - and all of tonight's line up will be playing there 9 Jan. They are a four piece - two guitars (with occasional banjo, mandolin etc), stand-up bass and flute/recorder - with three of the band taking lead or dual-lead vocals and all four on harmonies at times. They started with a minimum of tuning up and preparation but became a bit more serious about 'getting it right' as the set went on. They play gentle acoustic folk-pop, the relaxed approach underpinned by highly accomplished playing. All three vocalists and the sound in general were never so distinctive that you could point to obvious comparisons or say that is was unique - so overall gently uplifting without knocking you over. The strongest moments were the three part harmonies or in the interplay between male and female lead vocals. More of this please. They had copies of their second EP on sale.

The Random Family
Caught In A Lullaby EP [BUY]

After writing about The Miserable Rich earlier this week it was good to see them live in Manchester. Tonight they appeared as a five piece: vocals, acoustic guitar, stand-up bass (again), cello and violin. The mellow chamber-pop on record was a bit more (relatively) intense live. The lead singer was by no means Ian Curtis but for the first two songs there was some intense glaring and grave looks. However once he started talking between talks the mood and the expressions lightened.

It was a short set - six songs in the main set ("this is 'technically' the end") and two for the encore ("this is 'properly' the end"). The set list included five songs from the Twelve Ways To Count album (Monkey, Pisshead, Boat Song, The Time That's Mine, Muswell and Merry Go Round) plus their version of Hot Chip's Over and Over. Merry Go Round featured some fine audience accompaniment for the clapping section. The two songs for the encore were new to me - new songs or covers? Further information welcomed.

Amongst the crowd in the packed room was (local resident) Badly Drawn Boy. It's a long time since I've listened to any of his music and I wouldn't have made the connection without seeing him on this night but I'm struck by the similarity between the finest (i.e. my favourite) of his songs 'The Shining' and the sound of The Miserable Rich. That's where the similarity ends - unless The Miserable Rich are soon to be scoring the next film adaptation of a Nick Hornby book?

The Miserable Rich are back in Manchester (and touring) with Woodpigeon in February (details here)

The Miserable Rich
Twelve Ways To Count [BUY]

Badly Drawn Boy
The Hour of Bewilderbeast [BUY]

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