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OOTB 640, Tuesday 17 January 2017

Posted 26/01/2017 By reviewer

Back to The Outhouse for the first OOTB of 2017. Backdrop left at home and no guitar tuner to be found but with a bit of soft lilac lighting and a few good musical ears and the night got underway.

Line-up: Tina Louise Avery, Sam Brown, Tau Boo, Nyk Stoddart, Jack Blimey, Freeloadin’ Frank, James Igoe.

Tina Louise Avery with Jack Blimey on desk OOTB 640

Tina Louise Avery

Compere for the evening James Igoe introduced Tina Louise Avery to the stage. Tina was to play the Danny Kyle stage at Celtic Connections the following weekend – very impressive – but withheld this information from us on the night, possibly to manage our expectations. No need, we expect Tina to be great and she didn’t disappoint. Tina started with ‘Travel Writing’ featured on The Listening Room Volume 1 and it was a very pleasant version with the refrain “I will sit by the fireside tonight” staying in my head long after the night had ended. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ is possibly my favourite Tina song: a haunting, beautiful piece of melancholy reminiscent of late ‘60s Judy Collins and mid ‘80s Suzanne Vega. ‘Diving Under Water’ was written after the Victoria shootings and is possibly one of the nicest sounding songs about mass murder that you will ever hear with some impressive guitar picking.

Sam Brown debut OOTB 640

Sam Brown

The first, and only, debutante this evening was Sam Brown. We were lucky to catch Sam this evening as he is off to India for three months. Song 1 was about taking the wrong path, featured the refrain ‘Sleight of Hand’ (his first two songs didn’t have titles) and was accompanied by some funky guitar playing. ‘Wisdom Teeth’ seemed to be about growing pains and had a descending guitar phrase which reminded me of early Cream. Keeping his best to last, ‘24/42’ had some impressive slap-jazzy guitar playing, reminiscent of local guitar genius Graeme Mearns. A very promising debut, I hope Sam comes back soon after his trip.

Tau Boo and audience OOTB 640

Tau Boo

The vocal ranges this evening descended from alto (Tina), tenor (Sam) to the deep bass of Tau Boo. First song ‘Daydream’ featured his trademark vocal: like Paul Robeson if he had been primarily influenced by early ‘90s shoegazing bands like Chapterhouse and Slowdive. Seriously epic and full of Zeppelin-esque time signature changes. The atmospheric Song 2 featured the lyric “catch the wind in your sails my friend”. ‘Your Eyes’ was slightly more upbeat than the previous two (lyric: “beautiful, then fade away”) and Tau had an interesting trick of making his 6-stringed guitar sound like a 12-string without any effects pedals.

Nyk Stoddart OOTB 640

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk Stoddart showed his more serious side tonight with a trilogy of reflective songs written for an intriguing new musical project. ‘Out in the Sun’ was a romantic song about a warmer time of the year and featured some excellent guitar picking from someone who knows his way around a fretboard. ‘Fly Away’ – no relation to the Lenny Kravitz chart topper – was a mellow love song with the lyric “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be with you”. ‘Mystery in the Universe’ featured some demonic picking and seamless strumming with sample lyric “there is a mystery in the universe that is love”. A heartfelt set from Nyk.

Jack Blimey OOTB 640

Jack Blimey

After the break, Jack Blimey ventured from behind the sound desk to the stage with his Schecter electric guitar and showcasing his very original style of songwriting. His opening song had a sound that could be described as pleasantly psychotic English folk, while showing an understanding of the blues. ‘Wherever You Come From’ was in the murder ballad tradition of Nick Cave with a deeply poetic conversational lyric. ‘War on Terror’ talked about the beginning of World War 3 which we might be in already. I wonder if this was written as a poem? I can hear this going down well at a performance poetry session. Cracking chords and excellent guitar playing from Jack.

Freeloadin' Frank OOTB 640

Freeloadin’ Frank

Freeloadin’ Frank played just before an operation on his nondominant hand so we valued his contribution even more than usual. ‘Butterfly’, written in his back garden (currently being developed by dodgy builders), is a conversation with “Smithers” about a sunny day in May. The epic ‘King Kong’ was a love song written from the perspective of the colossal ape. This sounds like a song The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band could have written in their late ‘60s prime. The open mic classic ‘Magic Cornflake’ took us on an imaginary tour of the world – both inner and outer – or maybe it was just a song about a nice breakfast? Classic Frank.

James Igoe OOTB 640

James Igoe

Like Frank, James Igoe played a three-song set that would be familiar to open mic goers over the last few years. Starting with ‘Inga’s Eyes’ a “song about lust” and taboo hair-stroking. ‘Braveheart Beggar’ followed, written before his belief that Scotland should be an independent country it is a critical account of hypocritical Scottish culture in the mid-late 1990s. ‘Cowboy Song 2’, a song about travelling, was dedicated to Sam and imminent his trip to India.

Due to a slight dearth of acts this evening, those who had played earlier had another opportunity.

Sam Brown played ‘Meet The Bones’ (a play on words with “meat on the bones”?) in his jazzy style – very pleasant.

Tau Boo played again, but unfortunately this reviewer had to spend a penny so this song will remain a mystery.

Nyk Stoddart played ‘Aeroplanes’, a mainly-instrumental, acid-drenched song closer to the style of the songs when he first made his name at OOTB in the Canon’s Gait.

Jack Blimey played ‘Desolation Street’, a dark tale of a dysfunctional neighbourhood, with a chord that impressed the aforementioned local musical genius Graeme Mearns some years hence.

Freeloadin’ Frank played ‘Rupert’, his “leftie” song, noting that the protagonist Mr. Murdoch helped put the incumbent President Trump in the White House. Lyrics were updated to reflect recent political changes in the USA and UK.

Plenty of great stuff this evening, if perhaps not a classic, well-attended OOTB. A promising start to 2017 and hopefully there will be many great OOTB nights to look forward to this year.

James Igoe (review)

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OOTB 6 – 6 Dec 2001

Posted 06/12/2001 By reviewer

A very fine evening upstairs at The Waverley was had by all with a completely new songwriter line-up and clientele from last week.

The show kicked off with compere Nelson and soundman Jim playing a spooky tune called “The Weather In June” originally premiered with the band Scatter (The Pigs Are Coming) several moons ago.

Next up was a gentleman from Manchester by the name of Trip Fontaine. Following in the footsteps of fellow Mancunians the Smiths, Oasis and the Bee Gees may be daunting for some but not Trip. He has that gift of being able to write songs that you think you’ve heard before but are in fact original and very tuneful, too. Playing a well-worn 12-string guitar, he took the audience on an almost spiritual journey with his simple, melodic and uplifting music. Starting with “Here She Comes” and “Final Cigarette” you knew a star of O.O.T.B. was born. “Freeway” was the first tribute to the dog from popular US 80s TV programme “Hart To Hart” that we’ve had at the Waverley. Finally, “Mr. Sunshine” is a summer song that bursts with colour at any time of the year. A very fine debut.

A familiar face to regulars of Edinburgh Songwriters’ Showcase (R.I.P) at The Tron Tavern, Jim Bryce is a musician and showman extraordinaire. He started on keyboards with the awesome “New Directions For The Blues” – a commentary on the depressing nature of the news media. “Waiting For The Man”, is folk/blues with a definite edge, with very impressive guitar-work.  “Moon And Water Song” was a haunting, spiritual piece with a most harmonious penny whistle moving like the tide in between Jim’s vocals. A Christmas song “Pictures” was the first such seasonal offering at the Waverley and a sentimental, pretty song it was too . A one-man variety act with, it seems, a vast reservoir of good, tuneful songs. (Jim Bryce is in panto at the Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh in ‘Sleeping Beauty’).

There was a welcome return for Julie Dawid who played a couple of weeks ago. This young lady from London entertained with a smile on her face with bittersweet tales of love lost. She gets better every time she plays and is a regular at Kin, a music/poetry/book reading evening that runs fortnightly upstairs at the Café Royal, which is worth checking out. In the style of a female Nick Drake, she started with a song (“In The Ground”?) about that eternally favourite subject of songwriters i.e. death. We were treated to a song, “I Wish You Wonderful Things”, she’d only ever performed at her brother’s wedding, a very touching song, and I felt privileged that Julie played it on our night. On “My Garden” – a “back to the planet” song – she was accompanied by Nelson on bongoes. Her song “City Dreams” is perhaps the best, a song about her home village of London and it flows very nicely indeed.

The raffle was then drawn and Mrs. Trip Fontaine won the prize – a swanney whistle for her jam sessions with her husband!

Mr. Trip came back on for a couple of numbers and Jim and Nelson also ended with a brace to end the evening.

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OOTB 500, Saturday 8 December 2012

Posted 10/12/2012 By reviewer

OOTB 500

11 years, 5 regular venues, 4 CDs, and countless performers after that enjoyable, if sparsely-attended, opening night in November 2001, Out of the Bedroom is still very much alive and well.

It’s hard to quantify the effect OOTB (to use the acronym) has had on the Edinburgh music scene. OOTB has been chucked out of more pubs than Amy Winehouse, no million-selling rock stars have emerged (we missed out on KT Tunstall!), and, in the company of many of the best local music nights, OOTB has been almost completely overlooked by the mainstream Edinburgh media.

Yet the packed house and warm appreciation from the audience tonight underlined a collective feeling that OOTB provides something special and unique. The nights are, and have consistently been, well-organised and artists are welcomed and appreciated – whether old or young, familiar or unfamiliar, expert or novice.

Compere par excellence Scott Renton opened the night in his own inimitable style. It was a great pleasure for me to hear Scott performing for the first time in ages too. ‘Waverley Nights’, based on Kiss’s ‘Crazy Nights’, was endearing, 100% Scottish and very distinctive. The lyric, written when OOTB left its original home of The Waverley Bar, was updated for OOTB 500 and was an amusing, brutally honest tale giving his reasons for coming to OOTB. I’m sure both Gene Simmons and Iain ‘Smiler’ Walker would be proud.

I, James Igoe, played next and think I was the only person this evening to cover a song by another OOTB artist. Norman Lamont’s ‘Nicole’ was dedicated to the Nicoles loved and lusted over. There was not much sympathy for my sad tale of Paris but that’s something I’ll just have to live with. J The lurgy I had all week affected my preparation but I think it went okay – Norman was appreciative.

Edinburgh open mic legend and champion of all things counterculture Freeloading Frank was next up. His version of the sensitive Beatles song ‘I Will’ was morphed into a heartfelt paean of self-love, inspired by his own reflection. Frank updated (“remixed”) an old song ‘Rupert Murdoch’ changing the target of his ire towards the heinous double act of Tories David Cameron and George Osborne. I felt the crowd were on his side.

Master guitarist Graeme Mearns went completely left field and played a supper club jazz version of The Ramones’s punk classic ‘Blitzkreig Bop’. Coincidentally I was listening to The Ramones version in the car coming to the gig. I thought it was a great, highly original re-imagining of the song, though I think the late Johnny Ramone might have been spinning in his grave.

Next up – a new act! Not only had Trouble in Paradise never played OOTB, the trio had never played together live before. They rehearse via Skype which is quite unusual even in this age of ubiquitous internet access. For lead singer Alice this was her first ever gig though you would never have guessed from her onstage ease and confidence. ‘Modern Woman’ had some very nice harmonies supplied by the two gents on guitars. The chorus of “are you a modern woman? / do you pleasure yourself?” got a few minds racing among the rapt audience I’m sure. Their acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ was very endearing with Alice singing with a near cut glass BBC accent, very different from Ms Lauper’s Queens twang. They cheekily sneaked in a third song about old fashioned love in a digital age, which was very well received by the audience. The old fella (a Kilderkin regular?) at the end of the bar shouted that she had a nice voice, and he was right.

Julien Pierrefeu has brought musical intensity and lyrical depth to many an OOTB evening and this fine performance continued his sequence of top notch performances. Accompanied by Tom Watton on guitar, Julien’s bi-lingual (French/English) song was a romantic tale which reminded me a bit of mid-‘60s French-inflected pop music and I could imagine an accordion. This was very pleasant.

Tommy Mackay lets his creative juices flow in the Scottish comedy circuit after some years as an OOTB stalwart. In his alter ego tonight as The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band, Tommy played what I thought was my song of the evening – ‘Wee Country’. It was an original, heartfelt, patriotic and serious song about modern day Scotland, with part of the lyric challenging one of the scourges of Scotland – sectarianism. I think this should be a contender for the national anthem, or at least part of the soundtrack for the 2014 election. I’d vote for that.

One of the longest serving OOTB committee members Calum Carlyle played a Radiohead song which Calum introduced as “track 4 off the 3rd album” (‘Exit Music?’). Calum sung this in a Jeff Buckley-esque manner, no mean feat, and played it immaculately on the guitar. Calum’s second cover was George Harrison’s ‘Long Long Long’, perhaps one of the lesser-known tracks off The Beatles’ ‘White Album’. I felt Calum really made the song his own and gave it a new life, seamlessly fitting in with his previous cover, in a new Carlyle sound? Flawless guitar playing and a strong set from Calum.

Next was the break when there was some bidding for the 500th raffle ticket, which reached the dizzy heights of £1.70 rather than the standard £1! As well as chatting to some old and gold individuals I was also casting my eye over the rather fine 500th anniversary guitar-shaped chocolate cake courtesy of Tina Avery.

An OOTB original Colin Donati started part two with his own song ‘Various Moons’, using the powered-up house guitar nicknamed ‘golden retriever’.  Colin’s slick jazzy guitar playing was a bit of class and it’s great to see Colin playing regularly after a while when he was pursuing other creative outlets. His pre-gig Kilderkin pizza set him up nicely, I’ll make a note for future reference.

Cake-maker and current OOTB committee member Tina Avery began with ‘80s classic ‘Luka’ by Suzanne Vega. I remember the song practically single-handedly resurrecting the singer-songwriter genre in the 1980s. Tina gave a faithful cover version of the song, beautifully picked and sung. Out came the ukulele for Tina’s last song ‘River Man’. It’s not easy to play a picked uke and make it sound good but Tina had no problem, managing to play the instrument admirably. This floaty, dreamy song had the audience rapt with attention and quiet which was a blessed rarity this evening.

Perhaps the youngest performer this evening, Tomas was fresh from being out busking and was unaware of the significance of the evening. John Farrell helped him with some guitar strap problems. His two songs were social commentaries about living a young working class life in 21st century Edinburgh and received warm applause.

Tau Boo is one of the more unusual performers I’ve ever seen at OOTB. This is principally because he has perhaps the deepest voice in show business, giving the late Paul Robeson a run for his money. His song ‘Standing in the Steps of Giants’ uses natural vocal reverberation that has echoes of ‘Starsailor’-period Tim Buckley. It’s a haunting sound that stays with you long after the show.

The previously-covered Norman Lamont  played Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’. I think Norman managed to play the song with two chords, and still retained the interest. For such a densely lyrical song I was impressed that Norman didn’t need a lyric sheet (voice in head: “it’s called practice, James”. Okay, thank you voice-in-head). Norman’s next song was new and jazz-tinged, in keeping with the style of several songs this evening. Unfortunately ‘Big’ James Whyte who was due to accompany Norman was otherwise engaged tonight. On this evidence, I look forward to hearing the forthcoming album ‘Watching Paint Dry’.

The great Fiona Thom has been in great form musically all year, currently recording her album. She played a jazzy version of ‘Love, Peace and Harmony’, which featured John Farrell on guitar. Fiona stop the song halfway through as the altered timing didn’t fit the metre of Fiona’s lyrics. Fiona picked up the guitar and played the more familiar version and sounded much more comfortable. The new album should be very good indeed.

Scott announced that John’s friend, and friend of OOTB, Fraser Drummond was not feeling well and couldn’t make it this evening. Scott spoke for us all in passing our best wishes on to Fraser.

Another of the newer committee members, Jack Blimey played two originals, saying he considered covering one of Nyk Stoddart’s songs but the thought of that almost made his head explode! The somewhat brooding and dark ‘Tuesday’s Child’ was played on electric guitar. The style was minimalist, in a kind of Duane-Eddy-meets-The-XX style. Classic. ‘Demolition Street’ was about a place where he used to live and featured some neat, precise, almost metronomic, guitar playing and technically very good. I think Jack is a bit like a male version of Virginia Astley, who I’d put money on he’s never heard of.

A new band to me were Forgotten Works, with one chap wearing a guitar strap made out of jeans and the other chap was Jen and the Gents double bass player moonlighting! The style was John Martyn / Richard Thomson which is difficult to do well but these chaps achieved that level with ease. The first song (titled ‘Digging Holes’?) was gently hypnotic and pleasing. Last track was an instrumental ‘Horse Steeped in Jam’ which continued the good vibes. I was impressed that the double bass player was also able to play tambourine with his foot at the same time. Ones to watch out for.

A night with much vintage talent on show wouldn’t be complete without seminal Edinburgh open mic organiser Tom McEwan. Tom started the Edinburgh Songwriters Showcase 20 years ago next March, which might be another good cause for celebration! Tom played a spirited version of Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ which included a harmonica solo where Clarence Clemons saxophone once was. Upbeat and enjoyable stuff from Tom – Bruce would have been proud.

Robert King lit the sparklers in the form of numbers 5-0-0 on Tina’s cake and we all sang happy birthday to the entity of Out of the Bedroom. The cake tasted lovely Tina!

Darren Hendrie is a regular; the night clashes with his regular slot at the Jazz Bar but Darren dashes down, usually getting a squashee slot at the end of the evening. ‘Morningside’ showcased his skills – relaxed, timing perfect, vocal measured and controlled, a proper musician. One of the most improved musicians I’ve seen in recent years.

Stalwart OOTB committee member Nyk Stoddart dedicated his set to two people in the scene who are not very well at the moment in Malcolm MacLean and the aforementioned Fraser Drummond. Nyk went electric with a distorted electric guitar which has a compressed sound that gave it a new wave, Skids-like feel. Nyk played the crowd favourite ‘Mutant Slash Killer Zombies From Planet X’ which achieved the classic ‘na-na-na-na-na’ sing-a-long.

It was a pleasure to see Tom Watton again as I hadn’t seen his face around town awhile. Scott requested that Tom didn’t play any epics as we were tight for time so he played the 7-minute ‘Matty Groves’! It was requested by a few in the audience and Tom really went for it, with plenty of resonance in that guitar of his. On this form, Tom would have given Jeff Buckley and Percy Plant a run for his money, such was his unbridled vocal range.

The raffle – I drew my own ticket out (to cries of “fix”) and then Robert won the extra prize.

The dreadlocked Robert King was another debutante this evening and it was fitting to end the regular slots this evening with a newbie. The song, which I think was entitled ‘Rainbow Unfurled’, had plenty of positivity which I was trying to channel in my flu-like exhaustion. I think it worked. More positivity please sir, you’re welcome back to kick off the next 500!

We finished with Tommy Mackay’s ‘500 gigs’, based on a famous Proclaimers tune, as sung by the The OOTB Chorus (or cat’s chorus as some may have said about the drunken rabble)! Legendary! As Tommy said himself: “sheer poetry – shambolic to the end”.

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OOTB 5 – 29 Nov 2001

Posted 29/11/2001 By reviewer

Hello you music heads,

Thursday’s shenanigan’s at The Waverley Bar were kicked off in lively fashion by none other than Freeloadin’ Frank. His country-tinged tales of wit and humour were put momentarily on hold while he delivered a full broadside to the vehicle industry with his anti-car song (don’t know the real song’s name!), which has one of the eeriest alternative guitar tunings I’ve ever heard. Quite brilliant, and as Norman Lamont opined “He should do serious more often”. Then the spell was dispersed in the best possible way with his irrepressible “Magic Cornflake” which despite having, shall we say, “possible pharmaceutical references” is widely enjoyed by children across the land, due to it’s instant chorus and catchy good-naturedness.

Next up was Devon Perry who hailed I believe, from Canada, reciting his poetry. Not something that we do a lot of at OOTB, but sometimes we feel like letting someone do it. Devon’s rapid fire, beat style, stream of consciousness poems were appreciated by the crowd, and anyone who can speak that fast has got my respect, especially when they’re saying big words.

OOTB bedrock Norman Lamont climbed on stage next, opening in a jazzier mood than I’ve seen the fellow in for a long time. Very pleasant, then that was followed by two effects drenched raga-like droners, namely a radically re-worked “She Said” (Beatles) and Norman’s majestic (only) “The Sea”. The set culminated with a new song to me, “Portobello Slam”, which conjured the image of a huge brawl on Porty beach.

After a short interval, next up was OOTB newcomer Shane Knight-McGrath, who was the possessor of a splendid red acoustic guitar. His two songs had a picked guitar backing, and the vocals had a bluesy feel slightly reminiscent of Robert Plant, although not everyone agreed with me there. His “Face Of An Angel song” had a particularly plaintive, haunting quality.

Kin stalwart Ally Price then betook the stage, and as Jim remarked, she certainly has improved her vocal projection a lot over recent months, displaying her intricate vocal talents to good effect. At times echoes of a female Cat Stevens, but her “Castle Song” was all her own, even to her spoken introduction, where she wondered if the castle itself had remembered her visit, somewhat spookily.

Not to be outdone by a fellow non-British English-speaker, Anne Easthaugh (from Australia) also did a quick poem before launching into a very pleasant strummy acoustic pop song. Jim later found out that she was leaving the country and won’t be back for several months, but we wish her a speedy return to OOTB.

Last week’s keyboard sensation Claire Milne was in a more experimental mood this week, with her beautiful “A Matter Of Time”, preceded by the “Bridge Song”, which had some very nice strange notes. They’ve probably got proper names like suspended ninths diminished or something, but I don’t know much about that. Still good though.

Topping off a damned good evening was Graeme Mearns, who like Claire, also used to play at the Tron Songwriter’s Showcase. His blistering version of his own “Cinderella” has to be seen to be believed, and it’s a wonder that Shane’s guitar survived intact. A damned catchy tune though, I found myself cheerily singing “Everyone one’s a whore, nothing less and nothing more” days later. Can we expect a fuller set at some later stage, I wonder?

So, an extremely varied evening of performers, and well attended by non-performers too. The raffle? That was one by Claudia who for some strange reason didn’t want a pair of boxer shorts with Homer Simpson on them, so she took Jim up on his gallant offer of some blank cassettes instead. Next week we’ll have to raffle something else!

Nello

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OOTB 428 – 14 June 2011

Posted 14/06/2011 By admin

The incredible Tom Watton has written a review of OOTB 428! Awesome! Here it is…

    Out of the Bedroom #428 

    A review by Tom Watton (and Calum Carlyle)

Paper Truth

The evening starts with a trio of songs on our keyboard from Paper Truth (aka our very own Colin Walmsley).

Colin’s style is a quirky take on the surreal imaginary paper world truth with dogs regularly eating other dogs, Lady Ga-Ga eating other dogs all juxtaposed with Colin’s keyboard talent. Keen to get on next weeks OOTB playlist Colin will be arriving at the Montague (For all those who don’t know (shame on you) the Montague is on St Leonards, and used to be called ‘The Maltings’) a day early next week – launching his new album on Monday the 20th from 8pm. For more information please check www.papertruth.co.uk

Lake “sometimes I’d rather be lonely” Montgomery

What a shame that this is a squashy set from Lake Montgomery, but lesson to be learned from this is that you must “arrive before 7.30pm, if you want to play”.

With the Moral of the story over, we can go back to the joyous task of reviewing Lake Montgomery. Her simple but effective guitar technique is overshadowed by her wonderful voice; although on occasions her vocal embellishments distract from the well crafted songs. Her song ‘Sometimes I’d Rather Be Lonely” is a strong statement of independence from the useless masculinity. With the body of an angel and a bucket full of holes.

Kim ‘not balls’ Ralls

Kim’s first song is called ‘Judas’. No this is not an declaration of treachery, nor is this the evening’s second reference to the “Pop Queen Diva Lady Ga Ga”, its actually a good song. Kim has a powerful rock voice and he writes in a simple early 60s style.

His final song gets some members of the audience (Caro) yelping for home. Kim conjures images of post war Britain and working class fun with the words “A friday night in Norwich in 1954”. Beautiful songcraft.

TAU BOÖ! (aka Craig)

The name Tau Boo [t-ow! Bou] comes from an astronomical reference to Tau Boötis, a distant star in the Boötis system with orbital planetary satellites, known as Tau Boötis A and Tau Boötis B. All this being said I think the name Tau Boö, would be a good name for a band, or an album, but doesn’t really work to describe an individual (just my opinion, and why I will from now refer to Tau Boö as Craig).

Craig has been before (on a recce mission), but this is his first performance at Out of the Bedroom and he sings with a confident self assured baritone style, which supports his dominant songwriting technique.

All Craig needs is a bank of synthesisers and accompaniment from Lisa Gerrard on a yangqin (hammer dulcimer) and other worldy vocals. In my opinion Craig is very similar in style to Brendan Perry, which is not bad thing. One thing that lets Craig down is over use of tremolo on the vocals, which arcs attention away from the powerful deep notes that he has been hitting. I think that the tremolo technique would be really effective if used once or twice in each song, to the most climactic parts of the songs.

Craig finishes the set with a powerful glance up, similar to that of ‘Neo’ in the ‘Matrix’ after ‘the kick of power’.

Calum Carlyle (CC)

Calum starts with his fast paced multi-genre political pastiche ‘Politics, Politics’. A popular number with fast changing chord progressions and even faster lyrics. During this song Calum sings like a youthful Frank Sinatra, a boisterous Chris Barron (spin doctors), and a brilliant Calum Carlyle.

In the middle of a three gig tour of Edinburgh & Leith, Calum shows no signs of tiring.

Calums second song ‘Get Over Yourself’ is a more soulful number with a vocal sound inspired by the great Superstar soul&swing singers of the 40s and 50s.

‘For the Rest of our Lives’ can be described simply as – clever guitar, cleverer song writing, and even cleverer vocal skills, performed superbly, and this on top of hosting the evening. A confident performance from our very own “CC”

Lindsay & The Storm

Lindsay & The Storm is the name of Lindsay Sugden’s band. Lindsay recently launched her long awaited first album. The band line up has changed since the Storms featured set in February, and the new line up keeps Nelson Wright on percussion, but sees a new and improved strings section, of Cello and Violin.

Lindsay’s stage presence has doubled since February, with clear and confident singing, a good rapport with the audience and a sense of style only beaten when she dons her phosphorescent cycling garments.

The precision of the strings is pleasant, and although this might go unnoticed, it is rare to find such a good balance of tone, technique and tembre in a pub environment – well done Peter and Jen! It would be nice if over the next few months the musicians could lose their scores, as it masks some of Jen’s Cello’s natural resonance.

Nelsons percussion must also be recorded in the review. Nelson has great passion for Lindsay’s music, and with his eyes closed he recites the well written percussion parts perfectly.

Lindsay’s music is both sophisticated and appealing, with a sound which is not unlike Martha Tilston & The Architects or the Unthanks. This is in part down to the professional sounding harmonies provided by Anne Lazaro (and kicking noises from the baby within).

Lindsay’s album is a great buy and you can find more information about the album and upcoming gigs at www.lindsayandthestorm.co.uk

Nick Splinter Smith

Nick played well tonight, but I would like to withhold my review as a protest as Nick only returned to the venue (since leaving after booking a slot) at 9.20, well into the featured slot – which I don’t feel is within the spirit of the community of songwriters. – but a good set nonetheless.

Sir Tom Watton (Review written by Calum Carlyle)

‘Days Out in The Sun/The Cropredy Song’ reminds us that June is traditionally a summer month. Even in this quieter song, Tom takes the opportunity to fully perform the song, in good voice as usual. [Despite slipping in a few wrong chords] …Tom’s performance was rock solid.

For his second number, it’s a rock number with some ‘soultastic’ vocals. Quite remeniscent of “the sixties”, some might say. Like a generous slice of Christmas cake with brandy butter.

His third tune stays in Drop D, and Tom shows his ability to properly play the heck out of a guitar in his sea shanty/ballad “The Coupland & The Amelia”.

Caro Bridges

Caro’s new song is penned clearly with the intention of her band (The River) in accompaniment, thats not to say that she shouldn’t be playing without her band, because clearly Caro is one of the best musicians in Edinburgh and her music is of the moment.

‘Time and Again’ is a nice song with daring rhythms intricate guitar, and she is joined on stage by the irrepressible Matt Norris on Banjo. Superb

“Make me love/laugh” This is a very nice song, but I wasn’t sure whether the song is called “make me laugh” or “make me love” but either way, it was well performed and great to listen to.

*by this point in the proceedings my hand written notes are beginning to show signs of alcohol consumption, as there are beer stains, and almost illegible scribblings on the page – but never mind.

Matt ‘Nozza’ Norris

Matt learned several lessons tonight, including to make sure his flat keys are in his pocket before he leaves the flat. This mistake meant that Matt missed an opportunity to get an earlier set.

Moral of the story over….etc. Fresh from banjo duties, Matt tries his unnamed new song first, and despite a few memory problems ( the song being so new) it sounds like another real shindig maker (any song which when played confirms the status of the evening as a proper shindig).

“When the Sky falls” is a Seth Lakeman/Steve Tilston style masterpiece. I didn’t want to write while Matt was playing, as it was so impressive. Well done. “When the Sky falls, When the Sky Fa-aa-alls” (Me singing at home from the memory of the song). In hindsight – the packaging should read just add oboe.

Matt finishes the set with a classic Moon song, and the audience partake in much foot stomping – Grrrreat!

Blair Durward

Blair opted to have his squashy after everyone else had played. Blair played a good song and finished off a long, and full OOTB.

See you all next week for an acoustic performance of Neoviolet (a fabu-diddle-doo-docious band – I honestly can’t wait!)

review: Tom Watton

compere: Calum Carlyle

sound: Malcolm McLean

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“THE BAND WERE TIGHTER THAN A CHAFFINCH’S CHUFF!”

 A Strategic Review of OUT OF THE BEDROOM #410 (with doodles)

Reviewed by Tom Watton, Steve Tonge, and Garret Morgan.

 Nick Splinter Smith

Fighting on behalf of all 70’s teenagers, the Splinter’s rock/jazz/blues chord fusions a lively kick start to the 410th occurrence of Out of the Bedroom. Nick’s tunes remind the panel of T-Rex – BOLANESQUE !

 Nick is appearing at the Forest on the 20th February at 5pm with the Transcollective.

 Colin Milne

Colin starts the set with his unique and subtle guitar style. Listening to Colin is always a pleasant reminder of homely family gatherings. Colin performs with a refreshingly traditional style, and really takes the audience to paradise and back again. Colin received an impressive applause which crescendoed spectacularly. Colin you left your music stand at the Montague – we shall endeavour to protect it for you !

Toby ShippeyToby Shippey

Toby starts his set with electronica style guitar and a soft semi-spoken singing style reminiscent of Shawn Mullins. Then Toby reveals his secret falsetto range set to an imaginative melody to introduce the chorus.  Great singing – !

Toby’s second number is one which was well received at ‘The Listening Room’ the previous Sunday. Toby was joined at the LR by Gavin Taylor on the Slide Dobro (resonator); (which we were bowled over by). Today however Toby reminded us that he can deliver quality all by himself.

 Tremendous.

Garrett Morgan (reviewed by Steve Tonge, and Tom Watton)

Garrett MorganSlicker than a car salesman at a pomade convention, Garrett’s OOTB inauguration is well received. Over the last few weeks he has made some regular appearances at several Edinburgh based open mic nights. Garrett has often played covers on these occasions, something which he admits he is not comfortable doing. Garrett should stick to performing his own material as it is a more relaxed recital of his melancholic songs.

Garrett is one American import that we really don’t want to see sent back across the North Atlantic. Keep ’em coming buddy!

Andy Paul

Andy has been the exciting new addition in the last few weeks of the local open mic scene.

Andy’s complicated flamenco derived full hand brushed crossed- rhythmed guitar riffs (which he makes look easy) provide a wonderful setting for his creative and clever lyrics, which draw inspiration from an urban style.

Andy puts body and soul into his performances, and he makes his out of tune guitar sound purposeful. For a preliminary listen to ‘Andy’s records’, go to soundcloud.com/andy-paul.

Andy’s appearances have guitarists, singers and songwriters nodding along and surrendering the genuine heart felt applause.

Owen

Owen is a very confident performer, and his songs are ‘singalongable’. Owen’s jaunty style belies his deep felt lyrical pain. Owen only had a ‘shorty’ set (remember if you want a full set please come down at 7.30pm).

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk’s natural range has a very haunting and cinematic sound. Nyk is often overlooked and shelved along with the abstract lunatic rambling category; in keeping often with the subject and presentation of many of his songs.

Today though I really believe that Nyk puts his hat in the ring to be considered the best of the open slots at #410. Nyk is clearly more than capable of composing truly moving songs with sophisticated chords and sealed with an inverted cadence.

Johnny Pugh

Johnny will be appearing at OOTB on March 15th with his band Atomic Pigeon.

Johnny’s songwriting style solders together a Jusif Islam (Cat Stephens)/ sound with a Celtic vibe which would not be out of place in a Capercaillie album. Johhny won the new look crazier than crazy  raffle and was duly awarded the vibrant and joyous prize of the recorder! – TOP NOTCH!

 INTERVAL – during which we reviewed the Montague!

 The Montague

The Montague is a relaxing setting for OOTB the white sofas and arm chairs are comfortable, if not a bit over crowded with instruments, musicians and friends of musicians. The bar is clean, but homely, and the bar is bright and spacious, without the empty or soulless feeling which you may get in an urban chain pub.

The Tommy poster and other various film and music memorabilia in the OOTB half may provide inspiration for our performers. While the library around the other side of the bar is stocked with good reads.

We should mention that we are all very grateful for the enthusiasm which JeanYves Van de Kieft has shown us in the first few weeks of the new look OOTB.

End Of Interval!

A Bridge

A Bridge

Caro Bridges and the River

(Featured Set)

with

Caro on Guitar, Songwriting, and Vocals

Matt Norris on Violin, Mandolin, Banjo and backing vocals

Thom MacColl on Double Bass, and Backing Vocals,

Emily Nicholl on Violin, Percussion and Paper

Caro is a well appreciated and established acoustic act on the Edinburgh scene. Whether with her band or not, Caro ‘never ceases to keep us entertained‘. Caro started the featured set with the History of Aviation, a musical narration of the history of man made flight.

The band were thoroughly rehearsed and to coin a phrase were tighter then a chaffinch’s chuff. 

Caro has many creative songs, and its a shame that we only got to hear a few of them. Caro’s style is hard to describe because she is an accomplished guitarist and is therefore not limited to the same four chords that many of us feel bound to. Each song therefore is its own genre, the second of which whisked us away to a Mediterranean/Moroccan space. Accompanied by Emily on the violin, who plays the fiddle with a proficient tone.

Our personal moment of total bliss (demonstrated by an exuberant outburst of “yes”, coinciding with much air-pulling) during the set was caused by Matt’s wonderful banjo augmentation during the jazzy number. Described by Garrett as ‘sick’, and my self as ‘explicit’. It really brought the set into the next tier of quality sounds, usually reserved for the likes of Martha Tilston, and Rosie Doonan. The bass at the same time was sounding both clean and clearly defined, with lovely movements that we have come to expect from Thom MacColl. Tremendous.

In fact, so tremendous was the whole performance I was inspired to draw a demonstration of Air-pulling, [and thus leaving you without a review for some of the performance – which if you were there you know was brilliant, and if you weren’t there – that is your own fault, not mine!] here is said diagram. 

air pulling

Caro Bridges and The River will be supporting Matt Norris and The Moon at Sneaky Pete’s on the 3rd of March – more info coming your way in the next few weeks.

Debbie Kate

Another newbie to OOTB, Debbie has an amazing voice, and truly is a great songwriter. Her song ‘Pennies to the Ocean’ had Garrett sitting himself ‘on a sandy beach being warmed but the sun‘. After some confusion between me (mainly me) and Steve, we agreed that Debbie had an early Cerys Matthews vocal sound (and not a Kerry Katona sound). The self proclaimed ‘Edinburgh Virgin’ was much admired by the then relaxing Caro Bridges, who liked her to an organic Norah Jones/Ellie Golding. A really relaxed and professional appearance, and we look forward to hearing more in the future!

Weather Underground

Deep Man; Deep…

…Very Deep…

…Like, Super-Deep. A Solid showcase.

Gabriel

Gabriel has a very spacious sound. An in answer to his song – we believe it too!

In the words of Garrett “So nice, so so nice”.

Julien

Accompanied by Matt Norris on Mandolin

Next week’s OOTB will be the day after St. Valentine’s Day, and Julien’s music is suitably Romantic, eat your hearts out girls!

Even though Julien is singing alone, it is easy  to imagine the sound of a hoard of choristers maximising the potential of these great songs.

To summarise… Romance is alive and Waltzing is the new black!

Gavin Taylor

Gavin, mentioned earlier for his Listening room duet, treated us once more to the resonated sounds of his Dobro. Gavin’s performance is calm cool can collected and the  sound of the slide is reminiscent of early adventurous Richard Thompson. Gavin’s natural guitar sound transports you to an ‘O’ Brother Where Art Thou?’ American depression. Impressive.

Steve Tonge

Reviewed by Garret & Tom

In Honour of all those left handed guitarists who go to open mic nights, this is left aligned*.

Despite some technical issues Steve managed to pull together a quality performance. Steve’s acoustic performances are great, although like an episode of The Thunderbirds, we know that the spectacular explosions we are witnessing should be taking place in a larger context.

The larger context that Steve’s songs sit in is with his band ‘Supermarionation’, whose album ‘On the Fly’ is out now. Supermarionation are playing at Cabaret Voltaire on the 26th February.

Sir Tom Watton (renamed Sir Pedro Whatton by the reviewers!) (Reviewed by Garret and Steve [with some supplementary after thoughts supplied in square brackets from me!] )

“Metal-core-post-ska-dub-folk” with a hint of Spanish guitar. The messiah to small town country kids, breathing life into their chilly winter nights with excellent reviews and Spanish riffs.

Shameless self promotion of upcoming gigs.

[Feeling like Steve and Garrett were maybe in a different pub when I was on. Here’s me spending ages reviewing and this is all I get! – Nothing about finishing the night with a song about going home, nothing about his new song which he part improvised I mean come on – this was meant to be team work guys. Well thats it!, Now look what you made me type! lol]

To round off the evenings review…

             …a great time was had by all, everyone who played was appreciated, and next week will undoubtedly  be brilliant, so don’t miss it! 

Reviewed by Tom Watton, Steve Tonge & Garrett Morgan. Edited and arranged by Tom Watton.

 Sound: Malcolm Mclean

Compere: Nyk Stoddart

* – actually the rest of the review is left aligned, this is the only bit that is right aligned – (pedantic Calum)

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OOTB 407 – 18th Jan 2011

Posted 18/01/2011 By admin

One of the things we used to do at OOTB was to provide a review of every performance. This was done on a voluntary basis, and a year or two a go, the volunteers dried up, so we haven’t had reviews for some time. To celebrate the return of OOTB, however, i got out my pen and wrote reviews of each of the twenty two performers who got up to play at OOTB 407 on Tuesday night. Also included here are some nice photos by Malcolm Mclean and a couple of not quite so great ones by me. Click on the images to see full size versions and click the performer’s names for more info.


Nick Splinter Smith

Nick Splinter Smith

OOTB’s first performer of 2011, Nick swaggers up to the stage and confidently starts his first number “Easy To Please”, a sparkling tune with a catchy beat. “See what difference an inch makes” he quips as he adjusts his guitar strap. His second, “High Definition Man”, is another psychedelic folk classic, remeniscent of a more modern, musical Bob Dylan. Nick’s been doing a lot of playing, writing and recording recently and it shows through in his performance.


Jackie

Jackie

Jackie has a lovely clear and strong singing voice and she can certainly reach the high notes! She plays quite a simple accompaniment on the guitar, but the quality of the song shines through. I’d love to hear this material performed by a duo, with a few twiddly bits and some harmonies. Her second, “It’s A Hard Road”, has a different sort of rhythm but still shows off her voice to great effect. One to watch.


Dan Gillan

Dan Gillan

Another powerful voice steps up. Dan’s songs are quite rich. I find they get into your brain with repeated hearings. His first, “Impatient Soul”, is powerful and catchy. I want to say he sounds like David Gray, but somehow that wouldn’t be fair. He finishes with “What Have You Done”, one of his more memorable songs. A spirited performance with some lovely guitar work and soaring vocals. Nice work. Cameron says Dan’s like “good Dave Matthews” which is probably closer than what i said!


“Someone should be taking
a photo of that Colin Milne,
don’t you think?”

Colin Milne

His instrument plugs in! That’s new! Colin makes his own instruments and tonight he’s brought a nylon stringed beauty (possibly his trademark “glute”). A unique performer and songwriter, he begins with a lovely folk song, though i think our amplification puts him off a bit, and he summarily unplugs in protest halfway through his first number (causing instant technical consternation!), and still holds the audience’s attention. Malcolm almost convinces him to plug in again for song two but i think i agree that Colin simply comes across better unplugged, and i haven’t even touched on his clever, and daring, songwriting. Anyway, Colin’s our featured act at OOTB 416 on 22nd of March so come along and hear him for yourself. Also, my apologies to Colin, he’s the only performer we didn’t get a photo of.


Ben

Ben

He’s an OOTB debutante with some good self penned folk songs. He’s a little nervous i think, but once he gets up to the high notes his voice has definitely got what it takes. His second, “Cruel World”, takes on a slightly jazzier tone, the sort of song that’s catchy enough that you think it’s a cover even though you can hear it’s not. I like the way he pauses for effect before each chorus on this song.


Tina

Tina

“I hear she’s fantastic” Cameron says by way of introduction. I think Tina’s another OOTB debutante. Her first song, “All The Ghosts”, is an interesting song, and she plays a nice haunting guitar accompaniment. But i thought this song would suit a quieter environment, Tina seems a little like she’s fighting to be heard, though this didn’t stop me enjoying her songs. “Travel Writing” is a bit more upbeat and captivating, though still with a slightly “fighting against the background noise” feel.


Nicky Carder

Nicky Carder

Introduced as “the wonderful Nicky”, Nicky Carder does one of her newest songs, as yet untitled, powerful as always, she does a great solo performance, though she’s obviously not too happy herself as she apologises mid song. Excellent song, i thought, can’t wait till it finds its way into Neoviolet’s live repertoire.


Julien Pearly

Julien Pearly

Julien takes a quick break from filming the entire evening to do one song, “A Man And A Dove”. “It’s in French”, he tells us. A very unusual accompaniment for sure. Instantly interesting. His voice, guitar and songwriting are all quite unusual and attention grabbing. He finally switches from English to French in the second verse.


Atomic Pigeon

Atomic Pigeon

Cameron Robinson’s new band debuted last week at Edinburgh Unplugged as a four piece band, today they appear as a trio. They’ve got some cracking songs and they’ve really worked them out well for the band, and i’m a sucker for anything with a ‘cello in it. Having said that they’ve got really good songs and i hope we hear more of them very soon. Speaking of which, Atomic Pigeon are our featured act at OOTB 415 on 15th March so don’t miss that.


Sir Tom Watton

Sir Tom Watton

Tom starts off with some casual syncopated drop D harmonicky fingerpicking and gives us a lovely sparkly song that i don’t think i’d heard before. Tom’s become such a friendly and familiar face at the Listening Room and McEwans Ale House open mics that it’s hard to remember that he’s another OOTB debutante. Tom sort of bends the no covers rule for his second song and does the traditional folk song “Matty Groves” (you can hear a version of this song by Tom and Broken Tooth on youtube, from a recent Listening Room performance). He certainly makes the song his own, anyway, it goes from subtle pleasure all the way to screaming pain. Although tonight’s is a more subdued version than usual, i think i prefer the song this way.


Sarah and Sarah

Sarah and Sarah

More OOTB debutantes! They’re a keyboard and violin duo, who are two members of a band called Luz Da Lua. I didn’t catch the name when they said it onstage, i’d say it’s definitely important to say your band name clearly on stage. Really interesting songs though, Sarah has a great voice, and Sarah starts off by playing low accompanying notes on the violin and then stands up to join Sarah on the keyboard for the rest of the song! Definitely original. Their second, “Stormy Weather”, has a very pensive feel, very rich. Nicely different from their first song, and it’s lovely to hear the violin and keyboard together, creating a lovely layered effect. Ones to watch for sure.


Stephen Harrison

Stephen Harrison

What a lovely sparkly sound he makes! His first song, “Nobody There”, reminded me of “I Know My Babe” by John Renbourn from his second album. A bit like Ralph McTell doing a Richard Thomson song, or maybe the other way round. His second song was equally lovely and emotive. Stephen’s a very good fingerstyle guitarost and he knows how to use what he’s got.


Northern Poetry

Northern Poetry

She’s another OOTB debutante, i think, with a nylon string guitar and a couple of very catchy and listenable songs. Her first song sounded a bit low for her voice actually, a capo could be the extra 10% the song needs, possibly. Her second was an incredible acoustic rap number. Must be heard to be believed. Try and hear her performing live soon if you can.


Flick

Flick

This is maybe the second time i’ve heard Flick performing solo (the first being at OOTB 400 i think, though my memory is often wildly inaccurate). She’s got some great songs and a lovely voice, though it’s not a voice that cuts through the hubbub too well. Nevertheless she does a great job tonight and i really enjoyed both her songs. I’m not sure if Flick’s got any gigs coming up or anything, but if she does, they’ll be worth going to, especially if they are of the the sit-down-and-listen variety.


The Weather Underground

The Weather Underground

2011 is the year of artistic endeavour and the Sun, so i’m told. Something of this rejuvenated energy finds its way into The Weather Underground’s set tonight, and his social commentary songs seem somehow more optimistic than usual. Anyway he’s full of beans tonight and it shows.


Hannah Werdmuller

Hannah Werdmuller

It’s great to hear her being this spiky (for her first song anyway), she’s got a stunning voice and a charismatic stature, she starts with her ear catching murder ballad “Canny Man”, rapidly becoming my favourite murder ballad! Her second is a lot more introspective, totally different but still very skilful. For an acoustic performer, she’s electric! I got a copy of Hannah Werdmuller’s new CD album “Pre-Apocalyptic Love Song” last week at Edinburgh Unplugged and i’ve spun it two or three times since and thoroughly enjoyed it. Go and get yourself a copy, before they sell out.


Andy

Andy

He’s got a strong voice, a relaxed guitar style and bouncy songs. Maybe this is sacreligious but his voice reminds me of Leo Sayer (but in a good way!). He’s really interesting both to watch and to listen to as well. He retunes for his second number and treats us to some bluesy John-Renbournesque guitar. I don’t think Andy’s been to OOTB before but i certainly hope he comes along again.


Owen

Owen

Smooth voice, smooth guitar style, a little jazzy, more like intelligent acoustic pop actually. It’d be really nice if more performers gave their full name. Now i know that i like Owen’s music, there’s no chance i’ll be able to find more of it by googling his name. Both his songs are really interesting and i hope he comes back. Daniel commented to me “he should have been on earlier when all the student girls were here”


Calum Carlyle

Calum Carlyle

(reviewed by Steve Osborne, because i could hardly justify writing a review of myself!)

‘Octopus Man’, because Nyk said so, and ‘He Turned Up’ because Dave said so. A vigorous presentation of his perennial favourite “Glad Rags” and very impressive at that. Even the ‘mistakes’ sounded good. Could knock the spots off an elephant. A killer rendition (with a fancy ending). “Something Worthwhile” followed, and it certainly was, Calum makes playing something so complex sound easy to do. One of the best renditions i’ve heard him play.


Nyk Stoddart

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk treats us to a melange of unusual notes and chords, it’s like moving up and down the dial of a comedy acoustic radio. Finally the dial settles on “Bad Blues”, a Nyk Stoddart classic and a very good rendition it was tonight too. It seems the new year/new venue has kickstarted quite a few of tonight’s performers and Nyk’s no exception.


Jamie

Jamie

He does one song, “Strategic Lady”, almost an acoustic rock number. Interesting timing, and quite inyaface lyrics. I quite liked the chorus, but i wonder if the song might really be looking for a band to do it justice.


Caro Bridges
and the River

Caro Bridges and the River

Very interesting to hear them all plugged in and with Tom playing an electric bass guitar rather than a double bass. Very captivating. Caroline’s voice was a tiny bit lost in the mix but her band are really good, so it didn’t matter too much, and incidentally they’ve got enough hair between them for almost another band which is always a good sign i think. These guys are playing an acoustic gig on Saturday which i’m really looking forward to (but by the time the OOTB email comes out it’ll be past, so tough luck. Or not, if you were there!) Usual set finisher “Cardboard Boxes” is tight and impressive as usual. It’s well worth hearing this band when you get the chance. Caro Bridges does have a CD as well, which i do suggest you get a copy of, but i hope there’s a full band CD coming from these guys sometime in the near future too.

Compere: Cameron Robinson, Sound: Malcolm Mclean, Review: Calum Carlyle


That’s it! A fully successful OOTB relaunch. I’m not going to be writing a review every week, by any stretch of the imagination, but i may do one every now and again. However, if you the people would like to see more reviews, there’s nothing to stop you reviewing a night yourself. You can see roughly what’s involved from my review above. Basically, make sure every performer gets a few sentences said about them, you don’t have to review every single song, and one very important point, send the review to: reviews@outofthebedroom.co.uk by the Saturday following the night you have reviewed. If you send it in late, you’ve simply wasted your own time, because it’ll be too late to put in the Out of the Bedroom weekly email. Because we’re not doing reviews on a rota basis it might also make sense to try and make sure there’s not someone else reviewing on the same night as you too (or split the review between you if there is). Anyway, till next time…..

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OOTB 403 – Another Evening of Treats

Posted 29/07/2010 By admin

Out of the Bedroom 403

 

I’d like to start this weeks review with a rant, a rant about misconception. There are still many out there who shun open mic nights, as being dark, dingy and more often than not, full of ruefully untalented musicians. I’d like to assure everyone of that mindset, that you are wrong.

Out of the Bedroom, as one of Edinburgh’s premier open mic events, is the perfect example of this. Held in The Tron, which as far as good pubs go is an institution, the event can be measured by sheer longevity. How would such an evening, without some justification, have lasted so long? Furthermore, the justification is simple: Out of the Bedroom has built itself a reputation for being the first stage of many successful artists, ones who have progressed to great heights and who still remember their beginnings. But I am not asking you to believe me, I am asking that if you have ever had a doubt about the quality, the atmosphere, or the sheer skill of the artists on show, get yourself to this Thursday’s event.

 

Rant over, let me tell you about OOTB 403. I arrived as Broken Tooth was closing his set with a classic, blues-rock number. His clever guitar work left me wishing I’d arrived sooner. After a short break the night’s feature act got under way: OOTB’s Cameron Robinson (who was compère two weeks ago).

I was excited to see Cameron play and his music did not disappoint, despite admitting that an hour before, “in true rock and roll style”, he had broken his high E string and replaced it with a B. He admitted that going from a set of three songs to six had been hard, and that three of his songs had consequently been written in the last few days. His first to songs demonstrated great emotion, with a variation of chords and picking, on both an acoustic guitar and Cam’s ukulele. The next two songs continued to showcase a strong vocal performance, and the lyrics in ‘Ghosts’ were quite potent. He overcame a technical error with his ukulele very professionally and with a cry of “Everbody” the final chorus swung through. He did seem to be struggling with his tuning a little, but the fact he was playing with the wrong strings was not noticeable, and very impressive. The different tunings made for a nice variation in the tones of his songs as well. His last song, ‘Keep it going’ was about casual relationships and like the others was quite short. But this didn’t matter, it was the emotion in Cam’s songs that set him apart, and also how relaxed and comfortable he was as a performer.

Next on stage was Stephen from band Collar Up. I had a strong feeling that I had seen him before, but could not remember where. Regardless, I was more than happy to see him again. His first number, ‘A Jam Jar Full of Wasps’, is a political rant targeted right at the expenses scandal. The line “Don’t justify it to me”, was incredibly powerful, and made me want to record the song, and blast it through the Houses of Parliament. His strong Scottish accent adds heart to his songs, and enforces the sentiments. A hangover was the topic and inspiration behind the second song and the third, ‘Pay the Cost and Drive On’ could be a modern day anthem for the masses. With occasionally shaky vocals, the skilled piano/keyboard work really carried the set through. Stephen is playing Secret CDs on 11 Aug, meaning the Pheonix Cellar Bar on Broughton Street is the place to be that night.

Calum Carlyle appeared next and this was the first time I’ve seen him play since Acoustic Edinburgh in April. ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ was his first song, written just a week ago, and was certainly not lacking in spirit. There was some great slide-guitar in his second piece, and the again strong lyrics shone through. The set closed with ‘Something Worthwhile’ which was a fantastic last song. The questions within create confusion, and a sense of begging for some form of clarity from the world.

Back again was OOTB regular Nyk Stoddart, stating that this time he would “start ballad style, then melt the guitar in front of you.” Opening with ‘Someday All These Things Will Make Sense’ he stayed true to the first part of his promise. This is a beautiful tune and created real emotion. His second song, ‘Calypso’ demonstrated some rather random lyrics but was nonetheless a very enjoyable tune. Finally in ‘The Blues’ Nyk showcased his ability to truly “melt the guitar” with a fantastic blues solo and some clean, lightning-fast shifts.

For the third week in a row the final set was provided by Felicity, and there is no-one I’d rather have do it. The second song I her set was a new one to the stage, the line “please don’t break my heart, it’s yours” sticking most poignantly in my mind. She dealt well with the distraction of a noisy audience, who stayed right to the end of the evening – good for OOTB and good practise for the artist. Despite the crowd Felicity never fails to please and seems incapable of hitting a wrong note. The now familiar line of “Susie says she loves you” as clear and crisp as ever. I would recommend trying to see Felicity if you can, and look forward to hearing her play a longer set.

And so ends the third Out Of The Bedroom VO has covered. We hope you enjoy the review and if so, come along next week and enjoy the music! Thanks again to the OOTB team, we hope to see you all soon.

if anyone would like to review or photograph for us, they can get the appropriate details on our Facebook page – just search “Visual Opinions”

Review – Adam J Bell

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OOTB 402 – 22 July 2010

Posted 22/07/2010 By admin

When I arrived, this week’s Out Of The Bedroom (OOTB) was already in full swing. I arrived in time to see the compère, musically known as Broken Tooth, play a filler song in his dark, blues-rock style. It was a strong performance, with big chords and big vocals, and broke me nicely in to the night.

The compère finished playing and introduced the featured act of the evening, a man of many names, tonight playing as Jason Kyrone. I must admit that the first song I heard reminded me initially of Coldplay, but I was soon proven very wrong indeed. The emotions in Kyrone’s songs are much more profound. He introduces his second song with a story: “This is about a famous tramp on Leith Walk, called Arthur.” The song is upbeat and the fast strumming creates a strange positivity. He sings of “A little black book of inexplicable plans”, a beautiful lyric. His next piece, “The Tickle Monster” is about the lies that parents tell their children to get them to behave. The lyrics are humorous but the arpeggio guitar makes the song incredibly heartfelt. “Compatibility” was his next piece, and I noticed how his strong Scots accent, used when introducing the tracks, was only noticeable in parts of the song. It helps make the overall tone very reflective and soulful. He has a great vocal range, with wails easily traversing high to low. The penultimate track was introduced as “A story about a one dollar bill.” He mentions the sentimental value of the piece, and the gentle plucking reflects this. “I made it into a plane and flew it instead”, he sings, a great metaphor for freedom. His last song, simply called “More to Us”, rounded of the set and left me in no doubt that this man is an accomplished performer, who could hold his own on a much bigger stage.

Steve was next on stage, and told us that the three songs he would play were all new, never before played outside of his house. That being what the evening is all about, the audience were immediately engaged. He apologised in advance for any mistakes, though it soon became apparent he need not have bothered. His first song, laid some calm, mournful lyrics against a strong bass-strum style, and instantly established his ability with an acoustic guitar. His second piece was faster-paced and more hopeful. Clean chord changes were indicative of a simple yet powerful song, and the steady rhythm carried the lyrics. Freedom is one of my favourite themes in a song, indeed one my own writing centres around, and this tracks lives up to all my expectations. A nice flourishing solo at the end concluded the track. His final song was slower again, with feelings of being oppressed and strong metaphors about love or marriage. There was some intricate guitar work again in the bridge, which was very impressive.

Following this performance was Nick Splinter Smith, who came on stage with an acoustic guitar and a mouth harp – not something we see very often. As a big Dylan fan I was instantly captivated, and Nick did not disappoint. His first song, “Brotherman” was a bluesy piece that used both instruments to great effect, contrasting the tune to his dark, husky vocals. The song was very powerful and sounded classic, but maybe with a slightly modern edge to some of the chord progressions. His second piece, called “Patience has left the building” is from a book of songs titled “Living in Skyland”. It was a much more mournful piece, with some great minor chords and a strong rhythm. The strumming was mixed with some tricky picking that gave the song a great texture, as he played backwards and forwards across the sound-hole, fading the sound. His final piece was “about how the prohibition of certain substances has made a small number of people very rich.” Again the guitar was solid throughout the track, and supported a heartfelt rant about the way things used to be and perhaps should be.

Hannah O'Reilly at OOTB 402

Hannah O'Reilly at OOTB 402

We were then treated to a track by Hannah O’Reilly called “Kill the man”. Her big voice was at once very popular and very West-End. The track sounded like it had come from an acoustic version of “Chicago”. She had an incredible control of her voice, from deep and dark to high and loud, with an incredible vibrato.

Paper Truth was next and I was glad to see him back from last week. His first song “I have to wonder” came up against a very loud bar, but he was not perturbed and played through it, beating the crowd into submission. He mentioned a new song available on his myspace: www.myspace.com/papertruth, which is well worth a listen. Introducing his second piece he asks us to “Not imagine the usual guitar solo, but imagine a keyboard solo.” He is once again very comfortable performing in front of an audience. The song appears to be about a struggle, the fast guitar emphasising a chase or toil. The chorus of “Get down” really rings true. His last piece again makes the most of his deep voice to produce strong vocals for the potent lyrics. The racing guitar manages to stay under control and the upbeat nature of his set means its over before you expect. I could certainly listen to more of this chap.

Joe at OOTB 402

Joe at OOTB 402

The penultimate act was Joe, accompanied by his friend John. The first track utilised a mic-ed up nylon acoustic guitar, a change from the standard electro-acoustics, producing a gentler tone. The lyrics were very humorous, but we must question the fact that John was reading them from a sheet. The audience seemed happy to laugh along. The second piece was similarly unprepared  but the performers were friendly and the crowd seemed willing to forgive. Their last piece started with some walking guitar on an electro-acoustic followed by a flutter from the other guitar, as they read the statement, “This is not generic”. The rhyming was hilarious and the room laughed aloud as they sang: “I ordered a drink to do some drinking. I think I had to do some thinking…I like this link ’cause I like linking.”

It was left to Felicity to close the evening as she had done last week, and there’s no-one I would rather have do it. She played the same set, but this time she had a male vocalist with her. The first song again reminded me of Martha Tilston, but Felicity was much more relaxed this week and her own unique style shone through. The plucking in the track was beautiful and the harmony of the voices was just right. Her second piece seems to be about the confusion of love and trying to unlock its secrets. The guitar work has some fantastic, folky sounds and the dual-tone of the voices is very emotive. The line: “Suzie says she loves you, and I can only love you to” is very powerful. As a solo performer Felicity’s style can certainly hold its own. This week’s set was just as good, the two-voices creating a very different sound. The final song of the night contained a strangely hopeful, fast-paced guitar line, betrayed by the haunting lyric: “We can never be together”.  The two singers overlapped lines of the chorus, to create a final, moving end.

The compère closed, thanking both the artists and the audience. “It takes us up here and you down there, to make a night.” And another brilliant night it was.

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OOTB 4 – 22 Nov 2001

Posted 22/11/2001 By reviewer

Hello Music Lovers,
Well, as you may have noticed, the times have been a’changin in the tower of song. Not content with making the night FREE for performers and audience alike, the management team (well, Jim and Nello) have also changed the name of the artists’ night formerly known as Sounds Like Edinburgh. From now on, we’ll be called Out Of The Bedroom, reflecting the place from which many performers issue.

It was a cracking night on Thursday, pretty much HEAVING with people, due to the influx of new performers and a group of what turned out to be people from Australia, Canada, NZ and America (I think). The night was started up in traditional fashion by Jim and Nello, who really should get down to practising at some stage, so they can play songs newer than seven years old.

Then Norman Lamont strode manfully into the temporary void for a jam with Nello on “Beggar Of Love” and “This Horse Is Dead” (I think), and a jazzy one that Nello didn’t have a clue about. It sounded pretty good to me at the time, but I had started drinking, and I haven’t heard the tape yet. Incidentally, if any performers want a CD of their recordings, just let us know, and we’ll do it as quickly as we can. It costs only £2, which we use to further fund Out Of The Bedroom. Just essential items, stuff like silver curtains, you know.

Next up was OOTB first timer, but Kin regular Julie Dawid. Despite owning of the coolest looking spanish guitars and case (apparently her Dad’s) that I’ve ever seen, she chose instead to play Jim’s battered acoustic. It was a very melodic set, full of lyrical twists and nice picked accompaniment that showed off her soulful side, and it went down well with the crowd. Not the easiest thing to do to play to a room with drunk New Zealander’s in it, but she managed it very well. She can play percussion too, and may be working on something with Norman . . . so watch this space.

Another performer who’d also played at The Tron and elsewhere was Claire Milne. Another first was that she played the house keyboard for the first time, and boy, did it sound sweet. Despite the keyboard being a mid to late eighties monstrosity, Claire effortlessly coaxed mellow tunes and vibes from it, backed with her own very clear vocals. One song was introduced which detailed the pitfalls to Australians/NZ’ers etc in trying to start a relationship in Britain, which seemed to find favour with our overseas friends, as with everyone else in the room. The set culminated with her acapella song “Portobello” which is both very memorable (for all the right reasons) and very funny, and once heard will never be forgotten.

OOTB regular Norman Lamont finished things off in typically Protean fashion, mixing his tales of love lost, Jacques Brel, eyeballs and whatnot into something quite compelling and individual. The golden cup for cleverest lyricist of OOTB would be a grim and bloody battle, but I think that after it, Norman could well be standing atop a pile of bodies, breathing heavily, clutching the aforesaid vessel.

After all that, what more could be done apart from drawing the raffle, which was one by the Aus/Nz/USA contingent. The prize, for a miserley £1 stake? A splendid woolly hat, that’s what!

Looking forward to it on Thursday at The Waverley. See you there!

Nelson Wright

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