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A mild February evening brought a few fresh faces and some welcome returners to Woodland Creatures this evening. Themes of the evening included historical characters, both real and apocryphal, Brexit, alcohol and chips. A good mix of topics!

Running order: Jim Bryce, Tina Louise Avery, Samantha Preis, Rosie Smith, Colin Whitelaw, Cloudland Blue Quartet, Note To Self:, Jacob O’Sullivan, DB Hews, feature act: Conor Michael Riordan.

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Tonight was Burns Night at Out of the Bedroom though, apart from the surplus Christmas shortbread supplied by host James Igoe, you might not have known. The one thing we had in common with this auspicious date in the calendar this evening was the quality of songwriting and sheer passion from everyone who graced the Woodland Creatures stage. Malcolm McLean was on sound desk and photography, with photos of the night on Facebook.

Running order: Suhail, Jeanice Lee, Metecandriu, Startled Bee, Julien Pearly, Izzie Walsh, Michael MacAneny, John Porro, Chris Fogerty, feature act: TG McEwan. Read the remainder of this entry »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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.

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

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.

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

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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