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OOTB Reviews Archive

Back after almost two months, I think we at OOTB were a bit worried that people had forgotten about us. Thankfully that was not the case and we had one of OOTB’s most eclectic line ups ever. Peach was the excellent host for the evening and Jack Blimey was the sound desk guru.

Small Feet Little Toes OOTB 653Peach kicked off the evening as Small Feet Little Toes with some sparkling silver shoes to contain those feet. ‘Helium Heart’ showcased her unique style – beautifully crafted acoustica combined with a complex, barely-discernible lyric and a vocal which soars and dives like a mighty eagle. An impressive mouth trumpet during the instrumental break. ‘Tales of Blue’ was a song about addiction, featuring some very impressive guitar picking. This was intense – you could feel the addict’s acute pain. SFLT finished with a new song, currently without a title, which was a slower, hypnotic number. This will appear on her new album to be recorded in early 2018. Watch out for that! Read the remainder of this entry »

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OOTB reached its latest milestone this evening – 650 not out. Somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 original songs have been played on the way by hundreds of musicians, many only playing once. Tonight was another busy evening and, encouragingly, there was a heady mix of acts old and new, and those somewhere in between! Host for the evening was James Igoe with Malcolm McLean on sound.

First up was a debut for Becky Cole, with Berni Fitzsimmons on guitar. The first song was a jazzy number which reminded me of mid-‘80s pop-jazz acts such as Style Council and Everything but the Girl. Becky’s voice was warm and delightful, with Berni providing a sensitive accompaniment. ‘Can’t Be Wasting Time On You’ was a dynamic arrangement with a hint of rock and judicious use of silence. ‘Dragging You Out’ displayed Becky’s powerful, note-perfect vocals once more. A very promising debut from this young duo. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Maybe it was being part of Leith Late? Maybe it was the classy venue? Maybe it was Peach as host or Lisa Rigby as feature act? Or maybe the word about Out of the Bedroom is getting out in the ether once more? Whatever the reason, this evening was our busiest OOTB night for many a month.

Our host Small Feet Little Toes kicked off proceedings with ‘Sweeter’ written when she was in a bad relationship and dreaming of a better one. You could feel the pain and powerful emotions in every sinew of Peach’s being, bending the words leaving them often barely-discernible. Reminiscent of prime Amy Winehouse. Read the remainder of this entry »

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It was nice to see Woodland Creatures heaving this evening with a fair few people new and old in the back room. Our host tonight was the very talented Tina Avery with Jack Blimey on sound. Top snapper Malcolm McLean took photographs.

Lisa Rigby started the evening with the upbeat ‘Happy Hour’. Somewhat deceptively happy, as it is a subtle dig at corrupt politicians on this day of local election voting.

CJ was first debutante of the evening starting with ‘On My Own’. I’m guessing CJ is too young to remember the late ‘90s Blur classic with the same title! CJ’s impressive vocal range shone throughout this sad breakup song (“picking my pieces off the ground”). ‘Chandelier’ was a song of liberation dedicated to being free swinging from a chandelier. The softer, melancholy ‘Please Don’t Say You Love Me’ was my favourite of CJ’s this evening – well-constructed and an emotional performance.

Going up the decades, our delightful regular Michael started with a country number ‘Who’s Going To Care For My Baby?’ Written from the perspective of an inmate in jail, I could hear the spirit of Johnny Cash being channelled. ‘Waterfalls’ continued the questioning lyrics with a very personal and direct style as if he were reciting a letter to a dear friend. ‘Honey Honey Bay’ was influenced by Al Jolson, a very popular early 20th century act but not a common source of inspiration for many OOTB musicians. Ending with the refrain of “California, here I come”, Michael brought sunshine into our lives once more.

Skip the Android, aka Jonas, was another musician making an OOTB debut this evening. His deep, booming voice, reminiscent of James Grant mixed with David Cassidy’s breathy vibrato, gave extra gravitas to his performance. Listening was like floating in a scented bath, pleasant and sweetly intoxicating. A very different, less typically-Westernised style from the other musicians this evening.

Freeloadin’ Frank celebrated Spring and nature’s cycle of life with ‘Butterfly’. Frank managed to cram in many words rhyming with “fly” in this conversation between “Smithers” and his master. ‘Bloodshed on the Way’ was Frank’s nod to this evening’s political events (hopefully no bloodshed in Edinburgh City Chambers, though) and the song of Frank’s I had in my head today. Ultimately a reflection on the psychopathic nature seemingly typical of those in power. Frank’s first ever song, written when unemployed in the 1980s, ‘Yippy Dippy Doo-Dah’ had us all tapping our feet and singing along.

After the break, Jack Blimey hit the stage with his epic ‘Demolition Street’. Poetic, somewhat bleak and eerie and dreamlike all at once. A unique guitar style and tremulous vocal, the music gets under your skin and stays there as your subconscious slowly digests what you have just heard. The vivid scene of the street may just pop into your dreams, but don’t be scared!

Final debutante of the evening was the wonderful Jean Thomson. Having been to hundreds of OOTB shows, I thought I had seen almost every instrument played here – but no! Jean brought her mbira which is the national instrument of Zimbabwe and a very portable instrument; good for bringing to open mics. Jean told us that songs played on the mbira can go on for an hour or more as they are usually played in a round with other musicians. Thankfully, with our time constraints, Jean condensed the songs and played them beautifully. ‘The Snake’ was an instrumental which reminded me of a rattlesnake due to the mbira’s hissing sound – perhaps the origin of the song title? A unique performance, hopefully we’ll see Jean again soon.

Matthew Elton is surely one of the most improved songwriters and performers of the last year or so as evidenced by his musical craft this evening. The pastoral ‘Looking for the Shore’ was about appreciating nature in an optimistic way, embracing change. I can hear a hint of Talking Heads in Matthew’s style. ‘The Bridge’ was a pleasant song about happy memories of first love in Cambridge amongst the city’s concrete structures. The upbeat ‘Only So Long’ focussed on someone who is getting their life together while recognising that they only have so long to do that. This was my favourite of Matthew’s this evening and ended my favourite performance of his yet.

Guitar virtuoso Rui Alma started with a song he wrote yesterday while listening to his favourite violinist. I get nervous when I hear that someone is about to play a song they have just written, sensing that quality control might not be the best. However, Rui’s instrumental sounded very sweet with Jack’s reverb unit giving him the bigger sound that the song demanded. Rui’s final song was about keeping hope alive after a heartbreak and his pleasing jazzy vocals complemented the melancholy theme very nicely.

The excellent Tina Avery had the final open slot. ‘Memo to Youth’ was written as a piece of sage advice for her nephew who is planning to become a professional musician. A beautiful tune, with some nifty guitar picking from Tina. ‘Open Sea’ was dedicated to the refugees who continue to cross the Mediterranean hoping for a better life within Europe. This moving song included a pleasing musical resolution (consonance) to a discordant chord (dissonance). We can but hope this metaphor can extend to the refugees.

Lisa Rigby came back from family duties for her second song of the evening ‘Rain and State’. Lisa’s “da-da-dum song”, the lyric was about searching for how life could be – a recurring theme of the evening. Immaculately sung and played by Lisa.

Feature act this evening was local legend Cameron Phair. It is rare to see Cameron do a full set of his own material, so it was particularly pleasing he could be our feature act this evening. ‘Diamond Horizon’ is about his experience of growing up in Portobello and it was delivered in his awesomely powerful voice. ‘Sometimes Green’ is a romantic song and was played with great energy. Cameron has been recording an EP “for about four years” and ‘Older’, about getting older, will be on it. This is very much a pop song, think Ed Sheeran if he didn’t sound over-produced and if his songs were warm and endearing. ‘Groovy, Dreamy, Awkward’ were the catchphrases of Cameron’s course coordinator Richie Harrison and Cameron used this as a title for his next song which was an amusing reflection on his recent sound production studies. ‘Transient Town’ was a brilliant, melancholy tale of falling in love with people who aren’t allowed to stay in Edinburgh. ‘Anyway Down, How Many Ways Down’ was about being diagnosed with ADHD and embracing and accepting it. This reminded me of Elvis Costello, mixed in with Cameron’s many musical influences. The final song, ‘Love is in X-Files’, was about being fearful of entering a relationship due to fear of love and intimacy. This was another brilliant song from Cameron and an excellent way to close the evening.

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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.

James Igoe

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OOTB reviews 2001-2003

Posted 23/02/2010 By admin

It’s been a very long time since we’ve had the pleasure of reading a new OOTB review, sadly, but I just chanced upon a collection of OOTB reviews from 2001-2003 on Nelson Wright’s website! Check them out here, enjoy! – http://www.nelsonwright.co.uk/ootb_web_site/wbw.htm

I haven’t checked yet whether these reviews are the same as to be found on this site, but that’s half the fun after all.

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OOTB 9 – 27 Dec 2001

Posted 27/12/2001 By reviewer

No review was posted, but I have memories of the evening.

The smallest OOTB audience ever comprised of the three artists who took the stage plus Bruce Blacklaw, Graeme and Julia Mackel, Andrew Hunter (I think), Lorraine (American lady), and some guy.  Cracking night, with Freeloadin’ Frank given free reign on stage with two amazing sets!!  Jean-Marie was a lady with some peculiar views on life and a quite amazing falsetto (I remember she did a cover of ‘Woodstock’ – och the covers rule was relaxed for this one).  I made up the numbers.

Jim

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OOTB 8 – 20 Dec 2001

Posted 20/12/2001 By reviewer

No review posted this week… but I have done a summary from memory.

Summary: first Out of the Bedroom Christmas special.  I’m sure we must have worn party hats and had cakes.  No?

Notable for some excellent debutantes:

  • Danny Mullins would almost certainly have sung the hypnotic ‘Smoke Myself To Sleep’ in his laid-back style.
  • Lynsey Hutchinson would have played her macabre, densely lyrical songs about muder and characters in ‘The League of Gentlemen’.
  • Jimmy Spence read his poetry (poetry? yes, we were tolerant of such things in the very early days).
  • Scott Reilly would have had us in awe of his stunning, immaculately crafted pop songs.
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OOTB 7 – 13 Dec 2001

Posted 13/12/2001 By reviewer

This night was possibly the busiest and certainly one of the most enjoyable evenings at the Waverley so far. It was good to see so many venture out on such a frosty evening.

Free Loading Frank was back to start of the evening in a typically raucous fashion. There was a rare performance of ‘I’m In Love With A Woman Called Scum’ which was delivered with Frank’s usual gusto. The ‘Anti-Car Song’ resonated with a sincerity. A storming version of ‘Bloodshed On The Way’ got the crowd singing along – when is this man going to get a CD together? Soon, hopefully.

Newcomer Jan was next up with unfortunately only the one song, ‘Traveller’s Tune’ . His bass/baritone voice was a treat and I hope there’s more where that came from.

Another newcomer was John Hunt who’s a bit good. A performer of some pedigree, he was clearly at home on stage. A rich, cigarette-stained voice with some consummate guitar-playing. ‘Spiders & Flies’ was drawn from observations of men & women in pubs (possibly Monday nights at Whistlebinkies?). ‘What Is Your Drug?’ was perhaps the most memorable song and put forward the proposition that we’re all addicted to some ‘drug’ e.g. bingo, religion, football and – yes – cannabis; which may be contentious but it’s a good song and very funny. A talent who I hope we see again very soon.

The prize draw was made and the winner was the lovely Emily who won a pair of castanets.

Julie Dawid played her sensitive, uplifting tunes for her 3rd performance this year. A song for her friend ‘Lauren’ was reminiscent of sixties rock siren Nico’s early work in its plaintive delivery. Julie also performed a song she’d written the day before! That alone impressed me and I actually thought it was her best song on the night – see you when you get back from London, Julie.

Colin Donati played what I thought was his best performance at the Waverley so far. Colin kicked off with ‘Klingons’ and a fine tribute to George Harrison but an absolutely storming version of ‘Daniel (Get Out Of Jail For Free)’ stole the show. Accompanied by bongos, shakers and a variety of harmonies, it’s a killer song by anyone’s standards one of a few songs from these evenings that could trouble the pop chart (not that that’s always the sign of a good song).

Norman Lamont was again a standout with more new songs (to my ears) from his vast reservoir. Perhaps the rhythmic ‘Beirut’ (with bongos) was the standout of the newer material. My personal favourite ‘This Horse’ – with its hypnotic, drone-like guitar and richly symbolic lyrics – finished a fine set.

Sandy the photographer filled in at the end and actually had a good voice but played covers and broke a string on the house guitar so I can’t really encourage that behaviour.

I must stress the one golden rule of the evening – original songs, please. You can rip things off, steal and sample by all means but no cover versions, please.

I look forward to seeing you all sometime soon. Have a happy Christmas and peaceful New Year (or should that be peaceful Christmas and Happy New Year?)

Jim

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OOTB 641, Tuesday 14 February 2017

Posted 16/02/2017 By reviewer
OOTB stage at Out of the Bedroom 641

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.

Line-up: Vincent Gauchot, Nicholas Loveridge, Rui Alma, Tina Louise Avery, Jack Blimey, Nyk Stoddart, James Igoe.

 

Vincent Gauchot at Out of the Bedroom 641

Vincent Gauchot

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.

Nicholas Loveridge at Out of the Bedroom 641

Nicholas Loveridge

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 at Out of the Bedroom 641

Rui Alma

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.

Tina Louise Avery at Out of the Bedroom 641

Tina Louise Avery

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.

Jack Blimey at Out of the Bedroom 641

Jack Blimey

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.

Nyk Stoddart at Out of the Bedroom 641

Nyk Stoddart

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

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