Friday, November 04, 2011


"A haunted evening... with spine-chilling tales" promised the poster. Well there’s little spine-chilling or terrifying about Golden Fable (Rebecca Palin and Tim McIver late of Tim and Sam’s Tim and The Sam Band with Tim and Sam) but they were certainly spine-tingling. Especially when their seven song was at its simplest i.e. the recorded backing track took a back-seat and the live elements were foregrounded: Rebecca Palin’s glacial, haunting tones and sparse keyboard and guitar accompaniment. After four songs on the raised platform at St Philip’s Church, it was a brave step to move from behind the keyboard and mic stands and perform one song acoustically on the stone steps in front of the pews but it worked beautifully. They finished with current single ‘The Chill Pt.2’ but the whole set was a tasty appetiser for their debut album due next year.

A performance poet?!” Ms L wasn’t pleased at the prospect of Alabaster de Plume (possibly his real name) but he provided the ghost stories and song in an entertainingly eccentric manner. He veered swiftly and unpredictably from (one third) spoken word to (two-thirds) mannered madrigals all accompanied by some intense glowering eyes, like a young John Malkovich playing David Tibet playing Jake Thackray in his best stage voice. Odd but captivatingly so.

It was also an odd experience to see The Miserable Rich and not be familiar with their latest album “Miss You In The Days” released this week. And odder because the main set compromised nothing but songs from said new album, with the chamber-folk band’s sound rounded out by drummer and guitarist and then made even larger and rounder by the cavernous echo of the high-ceiled room at St Phil’s. However I found the newness of set-up and songs refreshing and enjoyable – and the six piece ably filled the large space comfortably. Singer James de Malplaquet was slightly, only slightly, nonplussed by the setting – “I’m not sure I can say what I normally talk about between songs”. But their songs about ghosts, death and sex, recorded in part in a haunted ‘Jacobean Palace’, felt perfectly at home here.

After a ten song set introduced by Alabaster de Plume (who later joined them on saxophone for 'Pillion') the six piece relocated to pew level of the church to ask for requests for older songs. The band offered a public vote to select just one but graciously played both candidate songs – ‘Pisshead’ and then a particularly lovely ‘The Boat Song’ - the poor drummer redundant whilst the rest of The Miserable Rich played unplugged. Returning to the raised platform they finished with a final new song ‘True Love’. A shame not to hear some more older songs but the combination of newness, gentle spookiness and relaxed bonhomie was a winning one.

The band continue their UK tour up to 12 November before heading off to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The Set List:

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