The Miserable Rich
Blue Bird Festival, 2009
The Miserable Rich sit at the bar of a Jazz club in Vienna, joking around and interpreting lines from a Take That song. During the soundcheck just a few minutes ago some feedback problems occurred, but now all worries are resolved. The faces of the four band members are softly lit from the back when Will Calderbank tenderly starts to draw his bow across the strings of his cello and The Miserable Rich head into their song “Button My Lip”. The Miserable Rich’s music is a modern chamber pop that confidently ignores all trends in pop music. They trust on their elaborately composed songs, often include an ironic view on things. See tragicomic songs like “Pisshead” or “The Time That’s Mine” from their album “12 Ways To Count”. Or their bandname, that Will and singer James de Malplaquet came up with after having played as a wedding band for some rich couple in Rome. When The Miserable Rich played at Blue Bird Festival the same evening, James stated that he had just quit his job the day before. Maybe he shared his new experience on how to terminate a job with his bandmates at the beginning of the “Merry Go Round” video: “Sorry, I can’t come to work today, the beer has been delivered!” But that’s just a guess…
Blue Bird Festival
Whereas most festivals tend to avoid cities and occupy rural landscapes for a few days in summer, Bluebird has found its home in the very center of Vienna. The festival celebrates the art of songwriting and brings some of the best artists and bands of this guild to the stage. Since 2005, Bluebird has taken place annually on a weekend in late November at the Jazz club Porgy & Bess, which doesn’t see any pop acts performing for the rest of the year. Thus, the atmosphere is quite special, with some parts of the audience seated in front of the stage and on the balcony; the acoustics are amazingly clear regardless where you sit. The festival is run by the Vienna Songwriting Association (VSA), which has committed itself to the promotion and support of songwriting. VSA was founded in 2004 and hosted its first concert evening – a tribute to Nick Drake – at the end of November 2004. The Bluebird festival now celebrates this “birth” of the VSA annually, although there are countless other concerts set up by the VSA taking place in Vienna all year, in venues like Gasthaus Vorstadt or Haus der Musik. The selection of artists ranges from young Austrian talents to international Indie-favourites such as Okkervil River and SoKo, who headlined the sold-out Bluebird Festival in 2008. 2009 included singer/songwriter Howe Gelb, Laura Gibson or William Fitzsimmons.