OOTB 643 review – Thursday 23 March 2017
The first night in our new home of Woodland Creatures and our new day of Thursday fortnight – very exciting! The compact, bijou and attractive back room attracted OOTB-ers familiar and new and it was a most interesting evening of contrasts. James Igoe was your host for the evening, taking photos of the evening.
Tina Louise Avery was first up and played three wonderful songs. Tina has been on a musical roll recently with a successful benefit gig for WaterAid she organised just two days before and a great performance with Vincent Gauchot last OOTB, as well as playing the Danny Kyle stage at Celtic Connections. ‘Riverman’ sounded amazing on banjo and the other two songs were haunting mellifluousness.
I saw Suhail for the first time this evening, though this was not his OOTB debut. ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’, a classic theme of an obsession with a girl, was reminiscent of the melody and energy of mid ‘90s British chart music (often referred to as “Britpop”). ‘Every Monday Morning’ was another pleasant slice of pop about “doing right” on a Monday morning – mysterious? Two short and sweet songs. Come back soon, Suhail.
Michael, like Suhail, has no web presence so we get to keep him to ourselves – great! Unfortunately his long-term music partner Geoff is unwell so this was Michael’s first solo performance. ‘Japanese Lady’ was a heartfelt love song for, unsurprisingly, a Japanese lady. A ‘50s rock ‘n roll style ballad ‘Please Don’t Turn Around’, about a tearful breakup, tugged at the heart strings. The finale finished us off – ‘Butterfly’ was dedicated to his late wife who he imagined had turned into a butterfly that landed on his shoulder one day. A very popular set – not a dry eye in the house.
Colin Whitelaw had a drinking theme running through his songs. Yes, Colin is Scottish! ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ was about how bad drinking is but how it can get you through the day. Some great chords here. ‘Sunday Afternoon’ was not about drinking but it was a sad song about lost love – bucket loads of character and feeling. ‘The Scottish Tango’ (aka ‘Chips for Tea’), about drinking and the Scot’s favourite food of choice from a chippie on the way home, is probably Colin’s most well-known song. It went down a treat and a fine way to end part one.
After the break, part two started with Frankie Sparks of The Orange Walls from Atlanta, Georgia singing songs that were bona fide Americana. Frankie is in the construction trade and he looked the part with his beard, tattoos and muscular frame – not a man to be messed with! The guitar playing ‘Heart’s Too Heavy’ was very professional and influenced by Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline and Kris Kristofferson. Not the usual OOTB influences and Frankie was genuine in his delivery. ‘Doing Dixie’ was a somewhat crass but humourous tale of “knocking up” a girl in a cheap grocery store for a bet. As you do. ‘Whisky’ was about lusting after a girl – “she’s so good at doing bad” – and I think I could hear this on Whispering Bob Harris’ Radio 2 country show. Great debut from Frankie.
Legendary OOTB soundman Jack Blimey was next out of his chair with ‘Tuesday’s Child’ about Copenhagen in 1928. A dense lyric with great choppy guitar playing by Jack in his inimitable style. ‘Another Prisoner’ had reverberating guitar and lyrics. Similarities with ‘The Partisan’ (a French folk song famously covered by Leonard Cohen) in terms of feel and lyrics focusing on the persecuted – in this case an unknown prisoner. ‘Demolition Street’ is written in stream of consciousness style – as dense, complicated, and opaque in its meaning as a Bob Dylan classic.
Roisin Russell – long time no see! It was great to have Roisin back and also, for Tina and all of the regulars, it was nice to have more than one female voice for a change. ‘You Don’t See Me’ was an emotional tale of being taken for granted and bullied but ultimately finding the strength to get out of a bad situation. Powerful stuff.
We were fortunate to have the wondrous Jim Bryce this evening. Not only as his music is great but, as he had just played a Pressure Valve gig nearby, thankfully he had the mojo to play two gigs in the one night. ‘Oh Yass’ was about the stereotype of the Brit abroad – an aural tour of the world with a bit of ironic ‘Rule Britannia; thrown in. The social awkwardness of train travel was explored in ‘Train Talk’ – Jim actually talks to strangers on a train being a truly gregarious human being. Jim’s set ended on a melancholy note with the beautiful ‘Grieving’.
I, James Igoe, played ‘Inga’s Eyes’ to end the evening.
So we were all happy with the new venue and that the performers like it, and relieved that the first night was not a disaster!
See you all here at this great Leith Walk venue some time soon.