Valentine’s Day 2017 and we were feeling the love from the Out of the Bedroom stage tonight. There was no obligation on the musicians to play songs commemorating the 3rd Century saint’s day but there were some notable tributes made.
Host for the evening was Vincent Gauchot who claimed the first slot, playing three instrumentals. The amazing ‘1001 Univers’ sounded like two guitars being played with an overdub: a rich, full, wonderful sound. The stage lights tonight changed colour in response to changes in sound which Vincent, and others, found a bit disconcerting but it brought a bit of psychedelia to proceedings! Talking of which, next up was ‘Kaleidoscope’, about living in Montreal and the extremes of harsh winters and hot summers. Impressive harmonics and a deeply atmospheric tune. ‘Silver Lining’, “a song about memories”, was a wistful, John Martyn-esque number with hints of Scottish folk music and several time signature changes. A great start to the evening: note to self – get along early to see Vincent when he is hosting.
Australian Nicholas Loveridge made his OOTB debut, showcasing his “baby” guitar – a guitarlele – and tonight may also have been the OOTB debut for that instrument. ‘Drunken Dissorder’ was a fun song with lots of “ba-baps” and “da-das” and was written some time ago in his not-so-distant youth. It was notable how much Nicholas used his body, including some intense facial expressions, and that is a powerful way to convey a song to the audience. ‘The Ukulele’s Perspective’, an instrumental with nice dynamics, was written when he bought a ukulele in Hawaii. Getting into tonight’s theme, ‘A Folk Musician’ was a “love song of sorts” which was a dancey number – funky and folkie at the same time – which seemed to be about becoming a folk musician to make someone love him (little does he know…?). Nicholas also played a memorable set at The Listening Room’s 15th birthday on Sunday – catch him in Edinburgh while you can.
Rui Alma was our second debutant of the evening, playing a couple of tunes improvised on a structure he had been working on. Unusually, perhaps uniquely, this was the third act in a row to play an instrumental as Rui opened with an intense flamenco-influenced, Jeff Buckley-esque number on his cherry red Guild acoustic. The lights were going crazy with all the guitar dynamics and I felt like an Andalusian senorita should have been clapping and stomping along to complement his onstage energy. Next up was a song about love (hooray!) based on “the value of silence and intimacy as a riposte against the noise we deal with every day”. Contrasting with the intensity of the opener, there were some nice, tender moments here and a surprisingly pleasant four-line vocal popped up about three or four minutes into the song. ‘Hersh’ was a tribute to Kristin Hersh, ex of Throwing Muses, whose interesting arpeggios he witnessed at her Summerhall gig last year. The song had an Arabic / Middle Eastern feel with a wordless vocal (again Buckley-esque) and was very avant-garde and original – OOTB is very much the place for experimentation. Great debut and I hope to see Rui again soon.
OOTB favourite Tina Louise Avery took to ukulele this evening and was ably supported by Vincent Gauchot on regular acoustic. Tina opened with ‘Riverman’, the studio version having been recorded by Daniel Davis who was in the audience. Vocals floated high above in the stratosphere overlooking us mere mortals and the guitar/uke combo worked a treat, surprisingly Vincent and Tina hadn’t played together for a while. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ featured a fantastic vocal from Tina beautiful harmonics from Vincent and with the picked uke this worked a treat. ‘Love’ was Tina’s Valentine’s Day song which was deeply evocative of spending a day with someone you are in love with. A great middle eight, with top-notch picking from Vincent. Tina is glowing with confidence post-Celtic Connections and this set was a treat.
After a break came OOTB soundman for the evening Jack Blimey. First song ‘Another Prisoner’ was “almost based on a true story” about being in prison and comparing himself with another prisoner (perhaps of circumstance / location?). Jack’s songs are ambiguous and densely wordy, like early Bob Dylan, and powerful and dreamlike in the themes they cover which seem to be an alternate yet plausible version of reality. ‘Wherever You Come From’ was a rare sentimental song from Jack’s repertoire, evoking a pastoral setting. The imaginative and very well-crafted poetry conveyed a vision of rural life that was simultaneously beautiful and nightmarish. ‘Those Weren’t The Days’ was a song to Jack’s ex-wives had he been married. Jack’s electric guitar playing was both incessant and melodic with a staccato style that is very much his own. There is always a subtle, cruel humour underneath the sweetness of the vocal which this song exemplified. A unique talent who continues to improve with each OOTB performance.
Not simply a Valentine’s special, this was the tenth anniversary of Nyk Stoddart’s OOTB debut at The Canon’s Gait. Nyk opened with the optimistic ‘Trust and Hope’, and this was a mighty song – beefy, bluesy and rocking and the loudest song this evening! Some excellent blues licks with a bit of jazz thrown in, this was a great performance. The plaintive ‘Fake Jazz’, one of Nyk’s signature tunes, showcased Nyk’s genuine ability to play jazz and I’m sure the recently departed jazz icon Al Jarreau would have approved. ‘The Girl With The Bubble-Wrap Lips’ was written five years ago but Nyk is still not quite sure what it is about. A romantic song of sorts, albeit in a post-modern world. A strange world, yes, but ‘twas ever thus? Great stuff from Nyk.
James Igoe finished the evening with ‘Older Women’, his tribute to his wife Sheena. “You can learn a thing or two from older women” – ever the old romantic!
The Out of the Bedroom AGM is on Thursday 23 February 7.30pm at Kilderkin and is open to all. We’ll hopefully see you there, If not, see you all next time at The Outhouse on Tuesday 14 March!
Review: James Igoe