The Broken Family Band, The Miserable Rich, Jeremy Warmsley, The Accidental, Darren Hayman

Joe Clark 18/12/2008

My first thought was that End of the Road may not be best suited to a Christmas party in Shoreditch, given their penchant for folky wistfulness. Surely their ideal habitat is the rural, autumnal festival? Well, yes, and inevitably, no - the eye for detail and fun that makes their weekender such
a laugh is on display here with hot cider, presents and piñatas. The noisy sold out crowd did drown out some of the bands' quieter moments though.

First up on the live stage are The Miserable Rich - double bass, cello, violin, guitar, and vocals - producing a beguiling chamber folk. With soulful vocals, they create a warm, dark sound a bit like Tim Hardin at times. A noirish cover of Hot Chip's Over and Over and Pisshead are highlights. The band start to a nearly empty hall and finish to a crowd growing in size and interest - I text Santa to add their debut album Twelve Ways to Count to my Christmas list.

Next up was one of the special guests of the night, Jeremy Warmsley, playing a set of covers from The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs in reverse order, with help from The Little Words. Apparently this was to make up for being too drunk to perform this set at 2am in the Bimble Inn at the EotR festival. No-one here was complaining as they cantered though Papa was a Rodeo, Washington, D.C. and my personal favourite The Book of Love. The simple, beautiful songs are more digestible in smaller chunks like this and I'm sure I won't be the only person inspired to spend some quality time with the originals over the festive season.

The Accidental continued the folky flavour to an increasingly chatty and lubricated throng. Their looped tunes and four part vocals can get drowned out at times, but Wolves and Illuminated Red are where it all came together, the female voice cutting through like the lime in your gin.

Second special guest Darren Hayman then appeared with his uke to steal the show. His short set finished with the crowd shouting back, Love don't stop
no wars, don't stop no cancer, it stops my heart
, proclaimed as both incorrect and the best line in modern rock music by headliners The Broken Family Band.

Distributing party hats and poppers is always a great way to get the audience on side but TBFB were already preaching to the converted. Like a grown up Wedding Present or a less annoying Hold Steady, their tales of love, loss and lubrication are taut lessons in truthful storytelling, lapped up by a now fully pissed posse. Cinema vs. House is a highlight, but your correspondent has to admit that he was a bit the worse for wear by this stage, reaching his own End of the Road. As the piñata got shredded and the shouting got louder the mournful country metal seemed the perfect soundtrack to the end of the office party. We slope off to leave someone else to wipe down the photocopier. MERRY FUGGIN CHRISTMAS!

The Miserable Rich Myspace

Jeremy Warmsley Myspace

The Accidental Myspace

Hefner website

Broken Family Band Myspace