Thursday already...and my third gig of the week so far. Oh what a rock n’roll lifestyle I lead, in between watching Bargain Hunt and Deal or No Deal that is. Tonight I was back in the Glee Club studio, a lovely intimate little venue (which I actually prefer to its big brother, da Main Room).
First up, Dan Whitehouse. The last time I saw Dan (a few years back now) I think he’d just come back to the Midlands from London and was in the process of pulling together a band. Back then he played an impressive acoustic set, packing in the kind of emotional intensity that a lot of singer songwriters aim for but few achieve. Tonight he’d got this band together (keyboard, violin and percussion) and gave us a charming, assured performance culled (I think) mainly from his series of self released EPs. Chatting in between tracks he quickly won over those in the crowd who were new to him and, judging by the number of people clutching his CDs near me, gained himself quite a few extra fans in the process. Check out his MySpace page for a whole bunch of live videos and tracks.
The Miserable Rich were one of my great musical discoveries of 2009 - beautiful, heart breaking music and lyrics, lead singer James’s angelic vocals and a group of musicians at the very top of their game. Their debut album (12 Ways To Count) is a must have in my book and, judging by some of the tracks unveiled this evening, the follow up’s sounding every bit as strong (it’s due out in May I believe). After all, if it ain’t baroque don’t fix it eh? (that’s a ‘witty’ play on words by the way, the band are kind of baroque chamber pop...so now you know). Tonight was the third time I’ve seen them in a year and, once again, from the moment James opened his mouth to the second the last of the applause died away at the end of the set I was in musical nirvana. It’s like having someone sing you lullabies while a thousand angels stroke your furrowed brow. Sigh. James seemed on fine form tonight, a little chattier than I’ve seen him before and happy to regale us with tales of stalking Yummy Mummys and his Chilean girlfriend (who seemingly thinks she’s a wolf). I normally narrow down the highlights of a band’s set to a couple of tracks but that’s not so easy to do with the Miserable Rich. Suffice to say it was long highlight, but, in no particular order the waltzing ‘Somerhill’ (new single – out on March 29th), the drunk’s lament ‘Pisshead’, the paean to freedom from the working week ‘The Time That’s Mine’ and, still my favourite, ‘Boat Song’ were all life enhancingly gorgeous. Do me a favour. Please. Just listen to it. Now. Shut your eyes and listen to it. If that don’t move you then you’re probably clinically dead.
Their last Glee Club show pulled in just a few of us, this time it seemed close to selling out. When the rest of the world catches up with them...and they will...you mark my words, they’ll be selling out much bigger venues in the blink of an eye. Catch them, up close and personal, while you can.