The Miserable Rich – live review

The Miserable Rich
Cologne Stadtgarten Studio 672
12th February 2012

The Miserable Rich are a curious phenomenon. Having released their third album last year, they’re still struggling to make a major breakthrough in the UK despite gathering a loyal but small following, whilst their contemporaries such as The Leisure Society get critical plaudits and festival and prestigious support slots. In contrast, on the Continent, they’ve built on momentum from their early releases to the extent they can go on a month long tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and, despite the double-digit minus temperatures and the fact it’s Sunday evening, come close to filling venues like Studio 672 in Cologne.

The sound has been fleshed out for this album with the addition of drums and more guitar into the mix and it makes for a more robust structure to the songs live, but they still allow each of the band to show off their talents and the range of instrumentation including violinist (Mike), double bass (Rhys), guitar and piano (Ricky), cello and keyboards (Will) and new drummer Martin. The songs have been allowed to develop on the road and not stagnate and aren’t just running through the motions sounding the same every night as is the trap that many bands fall into.

However, their not-so-secret weapon, apart from a series of killer songs that allow them to play close to two hours without a dip in the set, is front man James de Malplaquet. He disarms the Cologne crowd, which can be notoriously staid, completely with part-pigeon German, part-English stories between songs of videos about squirrels (Let Me Fade), asking them to sing the “ba, da” line of their “one happy song” (For Heaven’s Sake) which will feature on their next album, introducing cellist Will as “the man with two hands” as well as engaging the crowd throughout with stories about the songs, the themes of ghosts, sex and death, whilst deriding his own German.

The Miserable Rich – live review

The set focuses on last year’s excellent “Miss You In The Days” album, the loose theme of which is ghost stories inspired by its recording at Blickling Hall in Norfolk. They even have the repertoire to leave last year’s Single of the Year (for me) Anything’s Possible, which was left off the album as it didn’t quite fit, out of the set. There’s still space for crowd favourites Monkey, which has undergone another radical reworking, and singles The Time That’s Mine and Chestnut Sunday as well as a short cover of Edie Brickell’s Ghost Of A Dog.

The main set closes with the highlight of the album and of the show, Ringing The Changes is a powerful call-to-arms on the record, check out this Youtube clip that works even better live as it builds into one big communal musical hug before dropping down to a quiet conclusion. Just as it draws to a close, a gentleman at the back simply says “Wunderschön” and it’s difficult to disagree with him.

For the encore, the band pick up equipment, leave the stage and ask the crowd to create a circle for them. The crowd are at first unsure what to make of it, but when they play requests for Pisshead, Boat Song and Hungover to total silence, apart from the odd clinking of glass from the bar, it’s clear that they get it. The band returns to the stage for True Love, another brooding epic track about spirits and ghosts from the last album to close the set and another successful tour of Germany.

The Miserable Rich played; Imperial Lines, Laid Up In Lavender, Honesty, On A Certain Night, Let Me Fade, The Time That’s Mine, Muswell, Monkey, Chestnut Sunday, For Heaven’s Sake, Ghost Of A Dog, Tramps, Under Glass, Pillion, Ringing The Changes, Pisshead, Boat Song, Hungover and True Love

Following the re-release of “Miss You In The Days”, the band are back out on tour in April in the UK, playing London Lexington (17), York Stereo (18), Preston Mad Ferrit (19), Manchester Deaf Institute (20), Oxford Jericho (21), Leicester Musician (22), Norwich Arts Centre (23), Sheffield Riverside (26), Chester Telford’s (27), Cardiff Ten Feet Tall (May 3), Bristol Thekla (4) and Brighton Green Door Store (5), before heading back to Germany. I’d highly recommend checking them out.

Previous articleNoel Gallagher : live review
Next articleNew band of the day : Dumbjaw – anyone ready for the grunge revival?
Having cut his teeth writing for Louder Than War, Dave set up his own blog Even The Stars and continues to make occasional contributions to Louder Than War. He also run Tim Booth from James' official website as well as the James fansite One Of The Three.


  1. I do believe all of the ideas you have presented for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  2. Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

  3. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  4. Great weblog here! Additionally your website so much up very fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate hyperlink in your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  5. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  6. I will right away take hold of your rss as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  7. Someone essentially lend a hand to make severely posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual publish incredible. Great activity!

  8. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here