Monday, November 09, 2009


Seeing The Miserable Rich only 3 weeks after seeing the band play in a church in Salford feels like a luxury. Seeing them for FREE feels like sheer indulgence. This was a Red Deer Club night - three acts for nowt, with a cup passed around for donations, in the upstairs room at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington, South Manchester. A cup?! Should have at least been a large mug...

Kathryn Edwards was on first without her usual accompanying cellist who ("cow") was on holiday. Six or so gorgeous songs about heartbreak, parting and weirdoes, lovely relaxed guitar playing but best of all her voice: quietly powerful, soaring and given extra charm through the occasional flat Northern vowel. Not just your run-of-the-mill folkie but something quite special. Her "Play A Game" EP is on sale via Piccadilly Records.

Inspector Tapehead are a three piece from Scotland (although that lead singer sounds suspiciously English). They provide a ramshackle Scots hoe-down on drums, guitar, organ pedals, keyboards and electronics. Final song ('Forensic Tear'?) featured a whistling duet and a kazoo that lit up and reminded me of a lo-fi Beta Band with a bit more human warmth.

The Miserable Rich were in town for a Marc Riley 6 Music session - listen again here until 15 November. Crushed into a standing-room-only corner of the upstairs room of a veggie cafe in the heart of studentville, singer James said (understatement) this would be a more "informal set". However even just playing for fun this was quality stuff - superior songs and great musicianship.

The band broke their self-imposed rule and played two covers in one set (well they do have an EP of covers out on Monday) plus four songs from their second album due early next year. A small and appreciative crowd managed to get a second encore out of them (obviously no stage to leave) which was generous of the band given they then had to drive back to Brighton after finishing.

The Set List:
Early Mourning
The Boat Song
Bye Bye Kitty
The Time That's Mine
Golden Brown
Chestnut Sunday

Three artists - plus all the others involved in putting tonight on - giving their time and their music generously for free. I just don't understand the economics (if any) of the music business sometimes. Odds are you weren't there and couldn't donate to the tip jar. However don't let that stop you checking out all three and if you like what you hear, putting some of your hard-earned record dollars their way. Deserving causes all.

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