Sunday, April 22, 2012
THE MISERABLE RICH @ THE DEAF INSTITUTE 20 April 2012
Writing about the debut EP from Arthur Rigby and the Baskervylles earlier this month I made a passing reference to how foppish and Edwardian their name sounded. Throwaway comment maybe but I genuinely expected to see the band playing their ornate baroque pop tonight wearing frock coats. So it was a surprise to see the five-piece version of the ensemble wearing casual checked shirts (all except the bass player who clearly missed the memo). Dress code aside, the band made a fabulous fully rounded sound together, making excellent use of electric piano and trombone (two solos in one song!) to give that sumptuous orchestral-pop roundness despite no string section tonight. Three songs from the “Tales From Pegasus Woods” EP here plus lots of others new to me but equally impressive and dramatic. Bring on the frock coats I say but more importantly bring on the debut album please.
If tonight was a first date with Arthur Rigby this was return match with Brighton’s The Miserable Rich. It was only when singer James de Malplaquet made reference to their third visit to the Deaf Institute that I realised I had seen those previous two plus the same again at other venues. “Let’s make tonight the best” he said. And the six-piece certainly tried their utmost in their own effortlessly elegant fashion: bringing their own smoke machine to accompany ghost songs, encouraging the crowd to drink toasts during new song ‘The Lighthouse’, getting someone to buy singer James a large malt whisky when he was taken by an “artistic cough” and playing songs from last year’s album “Miss You In The Days” with confidence, style and aplomb.
It was the delicate, poised chamber-pop of The Miserable Rich’s first album “Twelve Ways To Count” that first and instantly endeared me the band. It has been a long process to wean myself on to their newer, heftier - with DRUMS?! - sound but tonight was when it made sense. And I didn’t even notice the absence of first album songs in the main set. Instead ghosts, sex, death, red wine, whisky, story-telling plus a new cheery song with whistling.
The band were up against a curfew to make way for a following club night but were fairly blasé about this. At the time of said curfew, they announced they would play four more songs - two played from the stage and then the full band decamped to the venue floor for the final two encircled by the crowd. Familiarity makes me forget what genial hosts and good value The Miserable Rich are live.A swell, engrossing evening all round.
The Set List
Laid Up In Lavender
On A Certain Night
Let Me Fade
“Cheery song with whistling”
Ghost Of A Dog/Tramps
Ringing The Changes