Friday, June 11, 2010
The Miserable Rich / Dan Whitehouse / Adelaide’s Cape @ The Glee Club, Birmingham, Thursday 10th June 2010
As the country (well some of it at least) goes Big Brother nuts one last time I prefer to lock myself away with a trio of darn fine musical lovelies...none of whom appear to be suffering from the kind of frankly terrifying personality defects that afflicts most of this year’s ‘housemates’. Maybe they should just seal the place up, switch off the cameras and leave ‘em all in there. Forever. Whoohahahahaha!
Anyways, first up Adelaide’s Cape (there is, it seems, no story behind the name) aka Sam Taylor. Sometimes he plays with a band but tonight he was all on his lonesome wearing some flip flops that he’d optimistically decided to wear for the whole tour. Given that it’s done nothing but piss it down for the last 7 days that probably wasn’t the smartest move, as he ruefully acknowledged. Playing a steel (bits of it were steel anyway) guitar there’s a touch of Arab Strap miserabilsm to AC/ST, which appeals to me no end. This, fused with a Nick Drake kind of wistfulness, lulled me nicely into a woozy early evening reverie. On top of his self penned stuff he gave a powerful rendition of Mr Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’ along with a jaunty Richard Thompson number about a bike, ‘Vincent Black Lighting’.
Next up Dan Whitehouse, someone it’s always a pleasure to see live. Another self assured performance and chatty banter in between songs that, once again, won over the audience. Pick of the set was a new song written for a forthcoming gig in a shed...yes...a shed. Given that there are 5 people in the band this might be a bit of a squeeze. Still, the track in question, ‘Landscape’ is, I can confidently announce the best thing Dan has ever done and, if there was a music industry left, it would undoubtedly have the majors a knockin’ at his door (shed or otherwise). Melodic but a little but edgy in places with some off kilter talky bits it’s a cracking number and I urge him to get it recorded...today...and stuck up on MySpace, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Reader’s Wives etc etc.
Finally, and for the third time in 12 months (that’s something of a record for me I think) The Miserable Rich! If you’ve not already fallen head over heels smoochy smoochy kiss kiss in love with them by now then there’s no hope for the world. Just in case anyone who reads this hasn’t yet given ‘em a spin they play a sort of lush chamber pop that’s a little bit classical, a little bit pop and whole lot of loveliness. Their lead singer James’ vocals have the kind of purity that make fresh mountain spring water seem a little grubby and he sings songs that simply make the world a better place to be. I don’t know how or why their music makes me feel like this, hell it ain’t worth analysing, it just does. So there.
This tour’s in support of their dead good (yep, I’m in a 90’s mood today) new album (their second) called ‘Of Flight and Fury’ , so naturally most of the set featured these tracks kicking off with ‘Pegasus’, a song about the unquenchable nature of desire (cider and chicken kebabs in my case) which showcased James’ soaring vocals better than anything the band’s ever done. Next up Somerhill, a jaunty little tale about..ahem...’carrying on’ with yummy mummies. Whether this is autobiographical or not, I didn’t get the chance to ask. Er, anyway, it all sound like going for a bike ride on a glorious spring morning (and on a yummy mummy too possibly), with lots of little tinkly bits and lively strings. Delicious.
‘Let Me Fade’ (inspired by James’ break ups) was a new one to me, but not even this subject matter could dull the life affirming nature of the Rich. It was prefaced by an announcement that all the tracks from the new album are going to have videos at some point. The one for this track features squirrels. Ahhh, bless ‘em. Seemingly the lady making the video had just spilt up with her partner however so it is, in James’ words, a little ‘psychotic’. Psychotic squirrels eh? Can’t wait to see it now...
Happily the band haven’t said adieu to their back catalogue though, so ‘Pisshead’ and ‘Monkey’ both got airings tonight along with a loving cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘Shades’. Then it was back to the new stuff with ‘Chestnut Sunday’ and really new stuff (as it’s not even on the new album) with a track called (I think) ‘Good Girl’’.
The set closed with ‘Oliver’ an everyday tale of...well... I’ll let James explain this one:
'Oliver, the humanzee, is a chimpanzee born around 1958. Captured in what was then Zaire, he was mistakenly believed to be the missing link: he had a flatter face than most chimps, walked on his back legs and was even thought to have a chromosome count closer to humans than chimps.'Exploited as a curio on world tours, he was later relieved from this strange life after it was believed he had fallen for his keeper.'Ostracised from his own species when very young, he had few chimp social skills, and was abandoned to a small cage in California, hastening muscle atrophy and old age. Older, blind and arthritic, Oliver ended up at a spacious, open-air cage – where his taxonomy was finally resolved. It turns out he is just a normal chimpanzee, no closer in genetics to humans than any other chimpanzee.'Still, that’s pretty close.'The satirical Church of the SubGenius, well known as ‘Bob Dobbs’ in Brighton for its parties, in a bizarre coincidence proclaims October 20th as The Feast of Saint Oliver the humanzee. 'Meanwhile, Oliver is no longer living alone: according to Wikipedia, a gentle female called Raisin now shares her cage with him, while Oliver attempts to impress her with his vocalisations and displays. We wish him the best of luck.'
Now you don’t get that with Coldplay do you eh?