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OOTB 344 – 26 May 2009

Posted 26/05/2009 By admin

Matt Snyder

Matt is our first debut of the night. His set is purely instrumental piano which is a refreshing start to what is almost always a guitar-fueled evening. His first tune is a jazzy number. This really demonstrated his passion for playing. I’d love to see him on a real piano, I think he would totally rock out! His second is a half improv classical piece, which was beautifully melancholic. He ended on another jazzy number which was definitely my favourite of his.

Jim Bryce

Jim’s first song was his self-proclaimed ‘screechy’ number. Played on the keyboard I loved his screechy, almost bluesy song, and with a bit of scat singing thrown in I thought it was brilliant. His second was an incredibly poignant ballad for an old friend. He finished on a comedy number about the British abroad. It was perfectly perceptive and funny.

Anna

As our second debut of the night, Anna silenced the crowd with her a cappella intro to her first song. She has a unique style which I enjoyed a lot. Her second song was equally as captivating. I’d definitely love to see more of her here.

Ryan

Bravely Ryan is performing a brand new song this evening. The subject is something we can all relate to; not turning into your parents. The lyrics were quite chilling. I’m guessing he really doesn’t want to turn into his Dad! In contrast Ryan’s second song is a very old one. He just plays two verses because apparently it gets a bit boring. I don’t agree at all, in fact it’s probably my favourite of his set. He ended with a song called soldier, which is a song about sex. ‘Not in a bad way’ he informs us……whatever that means!

Roger Emmerson

In the music circuit this guy is known as the ‘Blues Father’. I wasn’t sure if he would live up to this huge name but he did not disappoint. He started with a song about drinking and stereotypes. It had some great finger picking and that classic blues instrument, the harmonica. I am a total sucker for any tune that has a bit of that in it. He then moved on to a beautiful song called photographs. It was here where I really gave in to the ‘Blues Father’. I am now a fan.

Roger gives us a wee story about the name of his next tune, when he promptly tells us that it has nothing to do with that! Its called ‘Media’. With lyrics like ‘You are my Media…….. I am your Jason’, It sounds like a love song to me. He moves seamlessly on to a song about redemption. Roger assures us that he is old enough to sing this. No comment…..

He then picks up the tone with his summer song. As soon as it starts I know I’m going to love this song. Then he lets rip. ‘Lets dance!’

In contrast ‘A cut away’ was an incredibly poignant song about his brother. I enjoyed the passion that went into this song.

To finish Roger announced that he would do a cover. There were lots on sharp intakes of breath by the crowd at this but personally I loved it and thought that it was the perfect end to a great featured act.

Broken Tooth

Toothy, getting into it - 19 May 2009

Toothy, getting into it - 19 May 2009

With lyrics such as ‘If hell don’t want me, I’m going to crawl back to your side’, this was a true Broken Tooth set. I have to say though, I think this was probably one of my favourite times seeing him play. It was quite a diverse set with some, true to form, brilliant guitar playing. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Miller’s Daughter’ as I felt he connected more with the lyrics.

Jonny Pugh

Jonny, in true Pugh fashion delivered a set of beautiful acoustic tunes and accomplished guitar playing. He played the classic ‘On Fire’, which was sentimental and heartfelt. He then played two new songs. The first of which was slightly more melancholy but it was his last song that really did it for me. It was a great tune which left me singing the ‘hey, hey, hey’ part for a long time afterwards.

Furious

Although this is not his debut at OOTB, I have never seen him play before. It is an impromptu set he informs us, and if this is true I am pretty impressed. He starts off with a song called ‘Russian Dolls’, which is about what is going on in the world today. He then moves on to sing about being grateful for being alive. He also has a slight Scottish twang in his singing voice, which I do enjoy listening to. I hope to catch another set soon.

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OOTB 343 – 19 May 2009

Posted 19/05/2009 By admin

OOTB REVIEW 19/05/09

The Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground starts out with a bold guitar riff. His bouncy
chords slide nicely into some distinctive harmonics that his voice whispers through. He punches out signature sequences throughout the song, which are particularly effective. Nice bit of edge but not too in your face.

His second song “rain” was definitely appropriate for the evening, as we all
walked in “soaking wet through.” It has a nice mellow sound, and moves along nicely like the rain, as well as compassing a good use of repetition in
“rain, rain, rain” he seems to word paint himself away as his slot fades
out.

Calum and Jimmy Carlyle

It’s nice to finally hear the echoing voice of Jimmy Carlyle, as I had only
heard it on CD until now. Their first song opens up with the unusual sound
of the mandolin, it really shines through this unplugged evening, making its mark immediately, but yet it maintains a lovely flowing sound with Calum’s well played guitar part.

This happy, nice sounding story ironically turns out to be a song full of
angsty, Scottish Pride and it doesn’t take any crap. No-one can argue while it’s being proudly sung out.

Their second song is also a political song, this time it’s much more laid
back but yet still interesting and full of charisma. Calum and Jimmy open
this song with a very powerful yet cheering accapella verse that really
enhances the sound of their harmonies. The vocal melodies weave in and out of each other as the bassy guitar part drives the song along, leaving space for the mandolin to fill in the spaces.

There were some great gaps in the vocals, which really allowed the two
instruments to show us what they could do and definitely makes the most of the overall sound.

Calum and jimmy’s lively songs have a brilliant folky undertone and they
really brought the best out of their distinctive sound tonight. I thoroughly
enjoyed listening.

Neil

Neil’s voice immediately changes the sound, a great contrast to Calum and
Jimmy’s very lively performance. Neil’s gentle voice is quieter but yet still heard. He has a few subtle leaps in the vocal melodies which keep the
songs interesting, and despite the mellow sound in the opening the guitar
has drive and builds up into some firm strumming that keeps the song bold
and yet still maintaining the lovely gentle sound in his voice.

“I dance like a loon at 3 in the morning” “the red eyed monster in your
living room”

His quirky and interesting lyrics work well, keeping the attention on him. I
had the urge to sing harmonies throughout this song, especially during a few of the repeated melodies. I particularly like how Neil inverts the vocal melody as he ends his song; it is a really nice touch.

Neil also used some complex guitar parts though out the rest of his slot
which give a nice contrast to his gentle stuff and really enable the voice
to stand out, he keeps the beat well when he kicks in the strumming on the
guitar, then before ending the song he takes a different route up the fret
board and fades out nicely.

Broken Tooth

“If hell don’t want me, I’m going to crawl back Onto your side”

If anyone had fallen asleep, Jim definitely woke him or her up.

He opens with a gritty and involved guitar riff. Jim has a bit of a country
feel about him when he sings, reminds me a little bit of Jack White.

He has a really nice instrumental section where he really shows us what he can do on the guitar before layering his distinctive vocals on top.

“Caught up in a loop hole before you man the fuck up and move on”

It’s really nice to hear a guy sing about his weakness rather than his
strengths, because I find, it’s sometimes quite easy to forget that men have emotions.

I particularly like Jim’s passion and how he speeds up his guitar in the
guitar solo bits, it really changes the dynamic of the song for a while
before he returns to his original style. This makes the song more interesting especially as he maintains the stomping rhythms through out the
changes. The length of his songs seem to be the only thing that lets them down but he does however, maintain the use of interesting lyrics right the way to the end, which I think is particularly effective.

“There is a demon in the moonshine” and “I believe my time has come”

A great performance from Jim Thomson.

Ryan

Ryan gets more confident every time I see him. He is full of potential and
he’s lyrically brilliant, if not a little strange at times, but in a good
way of course.

It’s such a relief to hear people sing about stuff other than love… and
even when we heard his “love” song, it definitely was different to every
other love song I have ever heard.

Ryan starts off with an up beat guitar riff, his edgy voice cuts through the
guitar. He uses a nice mixture of bold singing and more beautiful melodic
vocals throughout his song, creating a nice contrast.

“I lost my faith, might, god and love and law.”

He uses a few nice pauses to great effect throughout which direct his
passionate words through well, delivered guitar playing.

“I don’t know how to tell you this” “I’ll say it once”

The word “once” creates a really nice dramatic stop.

His funeral song was short, sweet, and lyrically impressive and well, those
of you who missed it, your loss, you should have been there.

Ryan definitely makes an impact with his individual style and unusual, yet
interesting lyrics. I really enjoyed his slot again and I’m looking forward
to seeing how he progresses over the next few months.

Hopefully he will still be, “Running around with a butterfly net.”

Jamie

Jamie is another performer with drive. He has a very sophisticated voice.

“I don’t turn every corner in this maze of emotion”

The song changes only subtly throughout but yet he still manages to keep the attention on him. It was very well performed indeed; I wish I could convey such a presence with such little change in my music.

The pauses break up the guitar part well and make it more interesting.

“You walked away from me”

“Only wishes come true in fairytales”

This fairy tale song, he played because the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest sang a song about Fairytales… I have to say, that Jamie’s fairytale song is much better than the Norwegian, Alexander Rybak’s song.

Jamie’s second song was a very moving song about his daughter.

“In my life I try to be the best I can be, I provide for you and keep you
safe.”

His conversation style lyrics you would imagine would be spoken but he sung them, keeping them profound and full of emotion.

“I thank you” the lift in pitch in the voice towards the end of the song was
nicely done and worked well.

Jamie’s last song was even more moving. It was about the late Billie Mackenzie who committed suicide after the death of his mother.

“I hope you found what you were looking for.”

“So many people cried, the day his music died”

Jamie uses a simple but consistent guitar riff throughout this song, the
emotions conveyed and the tone hides the simplicity before he ends on a the
question “why?”

A very powerful and enjoyable slot from Jamie.

Angus

Angus breaks into his first song with the sound of a keyboard. This is the
first electric element we have experienced so far tonight. He does really well singing over the keyboard without amplification in the voice.

His conversational style singing really stands out and makes the song
interesting from the very beginning. He has a great sound and these
individual and well thought out lyrics stream out over some hammered on yet lovely sounding keyboard sequences.

“Bus to appear” “downtown San Francisco checking on your money”

“There is really only one solution do I have to spell it out?”

I really appreciate it, when songwriters ask questions in their music; it creates a lovely ambiguous feel. Despite this, and the content of his lyrics, his songs are still happy sounding and are easy to listen to.

The chorus in his first song is only subtley different to the previous part
of the song but it is very effective. His booming vocals keep everyone’s
attention as this San Francisco story is sung out.

“you’re never gonna change that law”.

I’d love to hear some of Angus’s music on a grand piano. His second song has
happy innocent vocals that work well with the keyboard and convey a little
bit of musical animation.

“My head’s full of strange ideas”

An inverted ascending scale in the higher register gives the song a grand
finish.

Bouncy, involved and with a consistant rhythm and good dynamic contrasts, Angus firmly ends a very enjoyable set.

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk starts with something mellow! Yes you heard me right, something mellow.

I like it, it’s nice to hear his softer side.

The first song has a finger picked opening.

“footsteps echo in my dreams”

“I feel the colour of evening, It’s nice to feel the wind”

Some lovely lyrics from Nyk here.

I love the gentle guitar playing that you would never expect from him.

Humming in the middle of some softly strummed guitar parts is another great
contrast to his normal sound.

His new song opens with muted chords, he sings out some words straight off an envelope, which is much more interesting than having lyrics written on a piece of paper.

The strumming in this song is a little harder than the previous mellow
sounding one, but yet it’s still not quite the crazy, normal sounding Nyk
song. This does give him the perfect opportunity to play his ascending and
descending gentle guitar solo’s which flow along nicely.

“Mr Sleaze” a requested song by myself of course.

Nyk’s bouncy chords open one of my favourite songs, partly because it was
written for me but also because it’s and awesome song!

“Mr Sleaze is an outragous and bad, really, really bad man”

“Mr Sleaze gets under the skin”

“Hey hey hey” is the returning theme that everyone likes to sing along to.

A great performance from Nyk.

John

Funky, intricate guitar part starts off John’s set.

This song has a happy feel and a folky storyline.

The catchy opening guitar riff is repeated throughout the song between the verses to great effect. This man is very good at the guitar indeed.

John has a nice voice, it’s full of character and conviction.

“We love to walk the cleavand way”

“I swear I could not love you more as these shadows lengthen”

A Happy unrequieted love song is next with an interesting guitar part and a
nice charisma.

“I used to be creative”

“I’m losing my grasp and I’m all burnt out”

John jumps about the register vocally aswell as with the guitar creating a
very folky, yet soulful sound.

Another happy sounding song ends his set, which is great at the end of the
night, I really love Johns style, if only there were more happy sounding
songwriters about.

“You’ve not got the decency to get off the floor”

“Pull up that blind and see the light”

“Forget these lies when you wash them all away”

These well written lyrics, full of imagery, lend themselves well to the
songs.

The rhythm is constantly challenged, breaking tonights boundaries with
interesting, effective and involved guitar parts, every single note falls
perfectly in time, even in his great spikey rhythms.

After a couple of taps on the guitar his song fades out, ending his set and leaving a mark on the Edinburgh Acoustic scene.

Nicky (written by Johnny Pugh)

Nicky is completely unfazed by the lack of vocal amplification, She blows
the audience away with this rendition of my favourite song of hers, “In
Hiding”.

This song really benefits from the accompaniment of the two guitars (since she is joined by Calum Carlyle)

The song conveys a sense of freshness and change.

“it’s been a long time, but my heart still seems to move”

“Catch my eye on you” is her second song. It begins with tense, broody
chords;

It’s a testament to Nicky’s vocal that she can over power the terocious
strumming of two guitars. Nice overlapping vocals from Calum. Songs of frustrated desire I guess, the angst of the lyrics are delivered
convincingly by Nicky’s vocals.

Nicky’s last song is “Between the floorboards”

The song starts with Nicky being poetic and reflective before exploding into a rock refrain.

“Because everything feels like… I can’t describe”

Excellent use of dynamics throughout the song, some intelligently plucked
chords from Calum add a touch of depth in the accompaniment.

A polished performance once again!

Review written by Nicky Carder with help from Johnny Pugh.

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OOTB 342 – 12 May 2009

Posted 12/05/2009 By admin

Debutants ‘Fitzroy Soul’ kick off tonight’s OOTB. They have a real ‘smoky bar’ sort of sound, with plenty of rock and blues influence on show. Nice harmonica playing as well. Their second is somewhat darker, a gently iterated fingerpicked guitar line gradually builds into an almost grunge-like sound. Some great guitar interplay at the end, in what I thought was the duo’s strongest of the set. The set ends with “Journeys”, which drops the tempo and reverts back to a bluesy sound. An interesting and unpredictable chord progression keeps the listener interested. Some nice lyrical ideas on show in this one; “as my world falls on a spindle”. Some really tight playing from a clearly well rehearsed duo, with some interesting and original songs.

Roger – It’s a real pleasure to see Roger return to OOTB after a couple of months; he is both a hugely talented musician and a gifted songwriter, which makes for an extremely entertaining set. “Cutaway” begins with furiously strummed chords which provide ample backing for Roger’s virtuoso harmonica playing, the harsh tones of which mirror the lyrical content; “I can’t sing about you” he bitterly laments. “Venice” has a different feel, the vocal line follows the staccato riff of the guitar. The lyrics tell the story of a doomed love; “strange love, so young is what I said”. Again the guitar work is highly proficient, with intelligently used hammer-ons and pull-offs. His last is an instrumental homage to gaffer tape, which has some purely inspired playing; most guitarists struggle to solo over the altered dominant chords Roger uses, so to do so on a harmonica in such an unpertubed manner is a little mind-boggling. Cracking stuff!

Calum Carlyle– Playing tonight under his alter ego Caramel Curly, Calum begins with the enigmatic “My penis is a gyroscope”- this is full of observational gems such as “you can get to heaven even if you’ve got a penis”. The whimsical lyrics and Calum’s adept performance make it easy to forget that this is quite a complex piece to perform. A great, fun start to the set. This is followed by (the now poignant) “Living Proof”, which has now become engrained in OOTB folklore. I say poignant because the ‘hippy’ in question now looks a lot less hippy-esque. However, the song is still a cracker, and it had the audience singing along as ever. Again, Calum is really skilled at writing lyrics which are equally humourous but also thought provoking, with some astute observations about nuclear power. Calum ends with one of his new bandmate’s, Nicky Carder’s songs “Ice Cream”. Calum brings out a different side to the song which I quite enjoyed; the vocal is perhaps slightly more restrained, which places the focus on the intelligently crafted lyrics. Another strong set!

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby – “Things to do when Nothings on the Telly” is a hilarious piece, with some excellent folky guitar. I always enjoy Bobby’s performance of this song, he always conveys the cheeky charm of the lyrics perfectly. His second is slightly more biting, taking electoral apathy as its topic; “Blame it on the martians/ they weren’t even there!” is a memorable line. Again, the use of finger-plectrums allows Bobby to pick out some complex rhythmic patterns, which make his songs sound all the more authentic. His last is an ode to the joys of busking on Rose Street “to pay for food and drink and hash”. As ever, Bobby supplements his performance with a great stage presence, an enviable trait for any performer.

Rob Sproul-Cran with Johnny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

1. Japan – this song is a delicate, delicate thing. The guaranteed hush occurs as Rob finds his ghostlike voice and the lyrics spill out in a remarkable melody. I’m humming along, trying to be objective, but I can’t. I love it.

2. The Day He Died – Johnny plays some sweet harmonics; Rob sings “Memories you forgot you had come bubbling to mind.”

3. I See Stars – this may be Rob’s strongest song. It has grown on me a lot over the past couple of months. The live version tonight is a beast and shows off their collaborative talent. But still, you MUST hear Rob’s immense recording at www.myspace.com/robsproulcran

4. A Nice Day at the Beach – Very cool and yes breezy tune with interesting chords. Johnny unleashes the monster of rock and the duo hits their stride. Awesome.

For the last two songs, Rob stands alone and brings out some very special stuff.

5. The rock song with unintelligible lyrics. There is a Zeppelin-flavored beat throughout and while I cannot understand the words I don’t care because I am filled with surprised glee at the sound of Rob’s blues. This is what makes him standout – the ability to stop your heart with one lilting song and then plunge a needle full of adrenaline into it with the next.

6. Father. So quiet tonight that I strain to hear what’s being said. This short, quizzical, lovely song always gives me a knot in my throat. I’m afraid to know what it’s about.

Wonderful set from someone who will go far. Were you lucky enough to have his website written on your arm?

Nicky Carder and Calum Carlyle

2/3 of the new supergroup around town Neoviolet take to the stage for a couple of numbers next. Although they have only begun playing relatively recent, their first song shows that their collaboration has all the ingredients for success. Calum’s assured musicianship compliments Nicky’s natural songwriting extremely well. “The Train Station Song” is another example of this; Calum’s accompaniment is never overbearing, and adds depth to the song which allows Nicky to really let rip in the vocal. Some great harmonies as well. I very much look forward to hearing a full gig from this outfit very soon.

Jim Whyte

A quick squashee from Jim next who provides us with a tub-thumping new song. I’ve never heard Jim sing like this before, and I must say it’s absolutely brilliant! Great to hear him doing angry bluesy stuff! Its a cracking song as well packed with (self referencing) nautical imagery. Good to see that Jim is on fine songwriting form and I hope to hear some more where this came from!

Jonny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Listening to Flux, I find myself thinking that Pugh is a songwriter in the Dylan tradition. He’s a very poetic lyricist and wonderful guitarist. My partner describes his voice as “warm chocolate.” Loose ends, written in his angsty period, is actually a pretty sweet song. “Am I holding you down? My love what will become of these loose ends?” Mmmm, pensive stuff. Lyrics on his last song are irresistible. “Your forgiveness when it’s blind won’t see you through. I hurt you the most, it’s true. And I don’t know why you love me, but you do.”

Johnny’s approach to the stage is humble and subtle, and that makes his grace as a songwriter fill up the room.

Cameron

Cameron’s first is an adaption of a poem written by his granddad. It has a really laid back sound, which belies the wistful tone of the words; it is testament to Cameron’s performance that the words sound completely original to him. Its one of those songs which really benefits from the sparse accompaniment of a single guitar. Great start. His second is a new one, but its played like its been part of Cameron’s set for years. Using intelligently placed harmonics, Cameron creates a dark brooding atmosphere, with long pedalled notes in the chorus. The tension is allieviated in his third with an up-beat carefree number, with a stupidly catchy chorus. “The only thing we fear is love” he sings. Nice, well balanced set.

Matthew

Another debutant, Matthew’s first is in D. It has some interesting musical ideas (I particularly like the move to the Gm chord), and the confidence grows as the song progresses. “This Town ain’t the best” begins with insistent strumming has some lyrical gems; “They left me no choice/ I stole a Rolls Royce” is frankly close to Shakespearean. Brimming with confidence in his last, we are treated to a good old fashioned rock and roll romp. Great to hear yet another new face at OOTB.

Slicewings

Another confident debut. His first is reflection on the human condition, to which there is “no easy way out”. Again, some nice lyrical ideas on show. On his second “Walking Along”, he is accompanied by a mysterious bongo player, which complimented the rhythmic style of the music well. A real foot-tapper. His last is the strongest of the set; it has a really psychedelic sound, with prolonged drawling vocals which had my head reeling (this may or may not have been helped by the fact I was on my 5th pint at this stage). An really original song which I enjoyed. My only comment would be perhaps to learn the songs a little better to ensure that the performance remains uninterrupted. Otherwise a strong debut.

Cracking night at the Tron, I thought it was a really high standard; see you on Tuesday!

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OOTB 341 – 5 May 2009

Posted 05/05/2009 By admin

A pocketful of Harmonicas”

or the review of 5/5/09

a multimedia play by Rego Gunloop the 17th

Chapter One – “Musos palace”

(Stage set: An open mic venue in the basement of the Tron, Edinburgh)

(Sound effects: baudy shouting from outside, whilst glasses clink, and a busty male barmaid laughs uproariously – the first character appears at the mic…)

Mr Broken

After thrashing Black Beauty to bits (metaphorically of course!) during the sound-check he starts “Summer Rose”. This reminds me of the time that a bargain basement sooth-sayer once said to me “ribbons and bows” but he was insane so I didn’t give him any money and he shot me with a water pistol. Oh, and Jim’s song is good – a sound about not getting any – esp. between 25-35. What a world!

He sounds like my gran on steroids sometimes though – “reach into the cage” he sings – I think he has a thing about hamsters – maybe not – next, he hoots like Little Richard with an improvised song. Finally, in “Guns in the desert” – the hero walks out of the saloon and out of the town because he realises we sold and they bought. We sold and they bought. The arms trade is an ugly business – and the less said about the leg trade the better….

Sam Barber

One of my favourite performers, who reminds me of haircuts – we see too little of him here, and so it’s most welcome to hear his songs at OOTB again. After trying to bribe me wiv 5p and a bit of chewing gum (students eh ?) I lied when I said I’d give a good review, so here it is:

“Story of my life” is a song that consist of C9ths as far as my myopic ears can tell – it is buskesque, but with a folky pop melody.

His speciality – his trademark is 12 string chordings which adds something chimey to proceedings. Whatever those are.

“Theory of everything” is an award-winning song – which has groovy key changes, and I’ll have a short back and sides please mate.

I wish I was intelligent enough to understand his lyrics though – but it seems like a mixture of Einstein singing a love song. Finally, “Thursday” – despite being sung on the wrong day, has a spangly and high-capoed sound with almost modal chordings – he also sings “yeah” in a hip way. We demand to hear more of your fine pop talents Mr Barber – please return soon! We also have a house pair of scissors…

Dave Robertson, aka Heroin in a Nutshell

A regular performer at OOTB who has been travelling all the way from Dundee just to play at our humble open-mic, Dave has been a most welcome presence here – one of the new van garde perhaps ?

“This is the real world” is a song about Celeb types – quiet intro then stabby loud/soft with some great melodic touches – proving Dave has much more talent than most celebs…

“Welcome to the jungle baby” he sings with a sincere & passionate vocal. Tarzan suddenly appears and draws a cartoon – or was that just in my mind ?

“Streets are fucking empty…you’d better hack it baby” is a fab catch-line – he sure can hit those high notes too – when the chorus kicks in it just sails away…

“Question” – Dave dedicates this song to OOTBs own musoprof Calum Carlyle, with some very striking and dynamic chords, and a mesmerising vocal. Has a delicious flamenco thing going in places as well. Nice key changes. And maybe a bit of “nu-Radiohead” perhaps (apologies for the comparison!) – which may mean mournful and reflective, but angry and dynamic. It’s always a worth-while journey for Dave to play here, for him and us, as we always look forward to his songs.

Ryan

He states that this first song is his oldest surviving song – he writes loads apparently, but like Victorian children only some make it to adulthood…

“Mexico” – which has nowt to do with Mexico, with words like “bones structures mainly, god and love. Say once, once!

“Talk amongst yourselves” has some very intricate finger-picking here – which reminds me of James Taylor again, but it slides into a resolving major-fifteenth, so that’s all right then…James Taylor is the name of our sheriff in these parts by the by – he wears a badge, but has no gun…so that’s all right then.

Overall, some cool songs…hope to hear more soon!

John Watson (debut)

Driven up from Scarbourgh today – “Ace in my pocket” is a great picking blues – you can tell he’s played a few places – within a few bars – he’s captured everyones attention. “Slidey backshifting devil of a man” he sings whilst playing great, well-placed blues riffs. “Station master in this godforsaken town” is a slower tune but just as well played – even Billy the Kid would keep in his guns, and hide behind the busty male barmaid, after such great playing.

“We’ve got our problems” finishes with it’s jazzy, but bluesy feel – but with sophisticated progressions. Truly mind-blowing. We hope you return sir! – your amazing playing keeps us from complacency!

Bill Phillips

OOTB’s poet laureate recites his most famous poem

And we all say “Intermission!”

In a surreal twist of theatre, the narrator steps up to the mic. Darren Thornberry takes over the story…

Nyk Stoddart adjusts his spectacles mid-song like the consummate professional he is - 2 June 2009

Nyk Stoddart adjusts his spectacles mid-song like the consummate professional he is - 2 June 2009

Nyk Stoddart

MantlePeace is a pensive little ditty. Nyk hears footsteps in his head, which may or may not be a good thing. The tune here is funerary, mournful, lyrically abstract.

Mr. Sleaze – ahhh, this song deals a fatal blow to its subject. Nyk shows off some vibrato and the modulation is a nice layer to the song.

Kitten in a Bong. Who me? No one will own up to actually putting the cat there, but as Nyk indicts the ancient hippies it would be foolish to deny the funny fantasy. After all, it’s just a made up story.

The Narrator steps through the saloon doors, and as people dive into corners, expecting a showdown, a figure appears on the far end of the bar and the narrator faces him…

Jim Whyte

The ancient mariner of OOTB sings his new song “Ship” – “do de doo do dee do” on a stormy, jaunty sea – he’s trying to “fit my ship together” – like airfix ? – I do like those model planes. From the lyric “Sailing across the sea” he goes into a more plaintive mode…but soon it gets louder and louder…I think that’s called “rousing”.

“I’ve found love” is one of my favourite songs of his. Genuinely moving, it’s about finding something you didn’t expect…how love makes you act strange…

“Live feed” – this song may be about reality TV, where he “blacks out my windows – turn on my TV…there’s a fly on the wall…watching it all”…Then there’s the Jerry Springer bit…fab!

Jim has obviously not lost his talent to mesmerise an audience…more new songs soon Jim!

Darren Thornberry

I can’t possibly do a review of this man’s work, and do it any justice, but nonetheless:

Our very own Darren Thornberry plays us .”Chips and Curry”.

“Chips!”

“Curry!” the audience scream.

Darren then plays his love song to Edinburgh, whilst mentioning “South and North Bridge” and the moving lyric “The silence has no mercy so we talk awhile instead”. Beautiful.

“Is it true ?” is a melancholy number with his signature heartfelt singing – class.

Darren has a rare talent for song-writing and performing, that combines honesty, catchy melodies, and memorable lyrics. When he departs these shores for the US pretty soon, he will take a part of us with him…not literally obviously, as that would be messy and painful…seriously though, OOTB won’t be the same without him.

Ha! I get the final word, maybe. I’ll dodge the bullet after all, thanks to the incredible writing skill of Darren Thornberry:

Nyk Stoddart

Mutant Zombies – the ultimate show closer goes down a treat. Nah nah nah nah nah. Full stop.

The director shouts “Cut!” – and the barber comes out – does everyone’s hair, and everyone leaves. Everyone’s forgotten the sheriff, however, and he’s gone wrong…in fact he now looks like Yul Brynner…

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OOTB 338 – 14 April 2009

Posted 14/04/2009 By admin

Mutant Lodge

Nyk started off with a set of new material, the only thing you can expect about Nyk’s songs is that you don’t know what to expect. Mr Sleaze was a bright and buzzy satire about a music night host who only opens his mouth in order to change feet. Well that’s my interpretation anyway. “Kitten in a Bong” Nyk insists is just a made up story, but it must be true because I read it in The Metro, “Ancient hippies sit around all day long, listening to Gong”… quite! The set finished with burst of frenetic weirdness with “Calypso”, a surreal moment in anybody’s life.

Peter

Peter’s set featured a harmonium and Mongolian throat singing, I promise that I’m not making this up! I’ve heard throat singing before, on paper it looks like it should be impossible as the singer generates an overtone to their own voice so that they’re singing two notes at once. It sounds a bit like a Step Phaser or some kind of high pass filter. Peter used the Harmonium as a drone note as he sang in a clear tenor voice, liberally incorporating celtic melodies and high Bel canto notes. The first two songs were about Selkies, a Scottish version of the mermaid legend in which some seals have the ability to shed their sealskins and take on the form of a beautiful human. The stories about them usually don’t end well with some poor love struck human falling in love with a Selkie when they’re walking on the land and stealing their sealskin so that they can’t ever return to the Sea. There have been a number of folk songs written about them over the years, and I’m sure Pete’s second song was based on one of them. There are some singers who can make calm descend over a room and silence an audience, Peter certainly has that enviable gift. A beautiful voice… perhaps someone to consider for a featured artist slot, the ruling junta at OOTB can ponder that one. In any case it would be a pleasure to have him back at some point

Brokentooth

So I was up next and at a bit of loss as what to follow Peter with. For the record it was:
Guns in the Desert
Hearts and Spades
Muses Song
I gave a little speech about my strange belief that music literally is Magic. We talk about music quite happily in magical terms, ie “enchanting, bewitching, evocative, spellbinding” etc In the middle ages composers were encouraged to avoid using the devils interval, a flattened fifth, because of the belief that it really did conjure up Ol’ Nick, Beelzebub, the Adversary, The Prince of Lies, Set, Satan, The Lord of this World, Lucifer himself. Not that I believe a word of that b*llocks! Oh by the way the flattened fifth became the backbone of the blues and heavy metal.

Calum Carlyle

Calum opened with “The Acid Test” which sounded slightly reminiscent of Jimmy Page’s guitar work, maybe it was just the 12 string that he was once again using to great effect. Shirat HaYam (Song at the Sea) is based on a song from the Old Testament that Calum took the brave artistic decision to learn phonetically and sing in the original Hebrew. Interestingly the song name checks Elohim, a name for God which can be translated as “Gods and Goddesses”. Well I find it interesting as it seems to suggest to me that the early Jewish people didn’t believe in a monotheistic patriarchy. On a lighter note the vocal line at the beginning, homage to “Paint It Black” at all Mr Carlyle? Calum slipped in a cheeky cover of Storyville a song by Hannah O’Reilly, you’ll hear more about her and the song later.

Ryan

Young Ryan commanded the stage next with a song called Trotsky’s Ghost, apparently about a middle management type wigging out on crystal meth and imagining that he’s being haunted by the spectre of the dead communist; in terms of theme and music it reminded me a bit of Morrissey and The Smiths, or similar intelligent literary rock. The second song was called “Destroyer” about the end of the world as we perceive it; I love it when songwriters don’t do the regular “boy meets girl saga”. Again another cover was brought to stage on this relaxed night with a version of a Joanna Newsom song. It translated very well from the original harp and squeaky voice of the original, which Ryan let me have a swift listen to when we were outside for a fag during the break. Hope to see you back down the Tron again soon, Ryan.

Nicky Carder and Calum Carlyle

This was the first time I’d seen Nicky and Calum play a set together properly. Nicky’s songs have always sounded to me like they’ve been written with a full band in mind, so it was noteworthy to hear the first stage her sound being fleshed out with more musicians. The interplay between the two guitars was a respectful dance with Calum proving to be an effective foil. Nicky seems to skirt close to a lot of potential pitfalls without actually falling in any of them. She’s got gift for strong melodies and the songs are instantly accessible, but the lyrics are intelligent and quirky enough to avoid becoming lightweight pop rock. Nicky’s got an impressive amount of raw talent (she rides a mean unicycle too; I promise I’m not making this up). It’s going to be interesting to see how her style gets further refined as she’s come an awful long way during her journeyman period with us. A little bit more diversity, with some light and shade, and exploring some different keys could perhaps broaden her appeal. Right now though it’ll be intriguing to find out how the band sound once the ground work has been fully realised.

Hannah O’Reilly

With her opening song I think Hannah pulled a first for Out of the Bedroom by playing a song that had previously been played by another act that night. “Storyville” is about EJ Bellocq a photographer from the early 1900’s based around New Orleans. After his death a portfolio of 89 relaxed and realistic sepia images of whores from the Storyville area of New Orleans, (the city’s notorious legal Red Light District and the legendary birthplace of jazz) were discovered on the original glass plates. With the song Hannah performs a trick similar to the photographs themselves, which aren’t really standard erotica, in creating something slightly melancholy and beautiful from something potentially sordid. The chorus references the unfound series of prints that Bellocq was supposed to have taken later in the opium dens of New Orleans Chinatown. “And then the opium flowed as far as we know, time stood still in 1915.” Apparently Hannah doesn’t really think of herself as a piano player, which is a little unfair as the arrangements are handsome yet understated, and slightly unconventional. Her last song, a new one for which she was still on the book, featured a weird quirk of not having the tonic chord from the key she was playing in. Eg playing in the key of G, but without a G major cropping up. HA! Told you that I’d explain the theory behind that Hannah!

Gordon

Gordon 14 April 2009

Gordon 14 April 2009

Gordon, who I think was a first time performer at the Tron, gave us a harmonically rich piece with sparse lyrics and an indie rock mumble, the guitar carrying most of the piece which segued neatly into his second song in a similar vein . I was talking to Gordon about Bob Dylan before his set; it was only his last piece, a more conventional singer-songwriter acoustic number that has anything of the Zimmerman about it. It would be good to see Gordon back again at some point, as the material certainly had potential and I’d be interested in hearing what else he can bring down to the basement bar in the Tron.

Alex

Alex and Matt split the last three songs between them, Alex was up first and sang in a rich baritone with a very slight country tinge to it. He struck me as a man who is all about the song in a very meat and potatoes, back to basics kind of a way. That’s not a criticism, just because you’ve got a simple set of bricks doesn’t mean that you can’t build something interesting out of them, in fact second song, and my favourite, wouldn’t have sounded out of place being played by the Band or some other .60s/70s luminary.

Matt

Squeezing in one song at the end, Matt in flannel shirt and baseball cap gave us the first airing of a new song, a summery yet heartfelt number which rounded off the night nicely.

Review: Jim Thomson

Compere: James Whyte

Sound: David O’Hara

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OOTB 336 – 31 March 2009

Posted 31/03/2009 By admin

Review 31/03/09

Tonight was no ordinary OOTB- as the banner across the stage proudly proclaimed to all and sundry, tonight’s OOTB was all in aid of Oxjam; this could mean only one thing: bring on the covers!

Rosie Bell – Rosie’s first is a wistful piano ballad, singing of “making a world of music”- Rosie’s lyrics are full of acute observations, and really engaging. Her second is a hilarious cover of “hallelujah”, castigating the plethora of performers who constantly murder what at heart is a great song: Rosie sings about “the critic scribbling ‘this song wrecked my night’”- quite the contrary in this case; Rosie sets the tempo for a cracking night.

Cameron and Scott (and the shaky thing from Ghana) – This duo begin with a cover of a song by Angus and Julia Stone (no, I haven’t either). It’s a real foot-tapper- the shaky thing from Ghana is certainly a sound investment. Really enjoyed the backing vocals at the finale; fine performance. Anyone could have been forgiven for expecting some sort of ZZ Top tribute on the second song given the matching black guitars; instead we get a cover of PJ Harvey (I personally breathed a sigh of relief)- another strong rendition, some tight harmonies, and neat guitar interplay on show- the duo brought a rawness to the song in its stripped down arrangement which may be lacking in the original. Good stuff!

Nicky – Nicky begins with a cover of a song by ‘Soil’ who are a really heavy rock outfit apparently. This is what a covers night is all about; Nicky really makes the song her own; it’s a different style to her original material, but the heavy rock chords provide ample background for her trademark powerhouse vocal. I can really imagine not liking this song in its original incarnation, however I thoroughly enjoyed Nicky’s rendition; perhaps not as much as our compere this evening, but I did so all the same.

Her second is just a brilliant concept: Bonnie Tyler sung as hard acoustic rock- I certainly wouldn’t have recognised this one, and with a bit of polish, this could be a cracking cover when Nicky performs it at the unsigned competition she’s in; best of luck with it Nicky! Now all together…. “I NEED A HERO!!!!”

Broken Tooth – Jim starts with a song that confirms a fear which we all subconsciously harbour…yes, ducks would given half the chance “mock your hair style, and sleep with your wife”. Definitely one very few will have heard before on tonight’s bill…ha ha. Never mind… his second is an acapella rant about “What keeps mankind alive”- this is almost a piece of acting; Jim really portrays the anger, with fine enunciation and lots of vehemently rolled ‘r’s. We saw a really different side to Broken Tooth tonight and a really entertaining one at that.

Out of the Oxjam – For the first minute or so I don’t think anyone in the band let alone the audience knew exactly what was happening- but the OOTO band gave us a fantastic country jam version of “Don’t Look Back in Anger”- it was a venerable Band Aid of OOTB stalwarts, with Broken Tooth and Cameron joining the whole jamboree on stage. The performance was infectiously jaunty- solos and dischords were added at each performer’s discretion, though kept on track towards the end by Peter, who sang the song powerfully- I particularly enjoyed the line “Please don’t put your life in the hands/ of a country western band”. A raucous romp through a britpop classic. Brilliant.

Hannah – Dusty Springfield on a ukulele; what’s not to like? I thought the arrangement on this was a really original idea; the sparse backing of the uke focused attention on vocal, whose purity and pitch gave the lyrics a real sweetness. There was even room for a whistle solo; again, what’s not to like?

Sam – I must profess something of an interest at this point because Sam begins with a cover of one of my absolute favourite artists, Ryan Adams. This was an unbelievably accurate rendition. If you closed your eyes, it pretty much could have been the man himself; Hannah’s backing vocals added a layer of authenticity to this Americana acoustic ballad “Strawberry Wine”. On his second, Sam shows great versatility in the vocal singing a Kings of Leon song (can’t remember the title), proving he can do rock as well as ballads. Another original cover, and another cracking set from two of the most exciting new acts at OOTB at the moment.

Calum Carlyle – Calum really enters into the spirit of the evening playing covers of OOTBers. He starts with crowd favourite “Gimp Boy” (originally by Nyk Stoddart)- Calum’s snarling vocal gives the song a nasty edge which was well suited to the song; as usual the audience joins in with the triumphant chorus. Next, we hear a cover of Nicky Carder- really interesting to hear this; although the arrangement was pretty similar, Calum gave a very different rendition in the vocal, less angry than Nicky’s perhaps, but it gave the song a different perspective. Calum didn’t seem too happy about his performance, but I thought it was a fine tribute to both performers.

James Bligh – I’ve not seen James play before, but I was very impressed by his skilled finger picking. Very Jose Gonzalez-esque. I particularly enjoyed his second which had a wonderfully ethereal ending. The vocal could do with a bit more confidence, as it was a bit quiet in places, but there’s no doubt the talent is there. Strong set from James, I hope to see him return soon.

I then took to the stage to play a cover of Rob Sproul Cran’s “Japan”, and “Build me up Buttercup” (not written by Rob Sproul Cran). This is what our irreverent host Mr. Calum Haddow had to say about the whole endeavour:

“Jonny Smells of win.”

One for the myspace methinks. Thanks for the fine praise Calum.

Scott – Really good to hear another poet at ootb, however this performance seemed a little rushed, perhaps because of the 10 minute slot. The material was difficult to engage with because there were scant breaks between each piece. Scott is undoubtedly a skilled poet and I would be interested to read his stuff – his material is peppered with acute observations, and there is a breadth of content on show. Next time though it would be great to hear a more ‘in depth’ set with fewer poems, which would allow the audience to really engage with the material. Hopefully we will get the opportunity to at some point.

Nyk – “Mr Sleaze” is a scathing character piece from Nyk – perhaps influenced by Calum’s snarling vocal on his cover? Interesting to see Nyk doing this different sort of material. Next though we are treated to classic Stoddart, with unfettered acoustic psychadelica. Class.

Anthony (debut) – Anthony may have been a wee bit nervous before coming on, but he delivered a confident performance. “Policeman” is a great idea for a song, with some fantastic lyrics; Anthony really paints a picture in the words, which are convincingly delivered. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of his second, but it begins with furious strumming, and sings of more conventional songwriter fare (broken hearts et al.); nothing wrong with that though! Anthony clearly has an ear for a catchy melody, and hopefully we shall hear some more tunes from him soon. Promising stuff.

Gerry - 21 April 2009

Gerry - 21 April 2009

Gerry – Gerry’s first showcases his impressive voice, with some excellent sustained notes, over intricate hammer-ons and pull-offs on the guitar. “I’ll take my chances and run” he sings. His second “Dogs coming in” is a rockier number, with a really memorable chorus. Again the performance is committed, with another strong vocal performance. A really enjoyable set, from a clearly talented performer.

Cameron – Next up, Cameron treats us to some heart-rendering original material- he sings of dying “by your side”, silencing the audience with a desperate tale of loss. His second is a confessional piece, which lends the performance an air of authenticity, as he sings about “the trouble with the straight and narrow”. A really engaging couple of songs!

A tense bidding war ensued for the final two songs of the night (which saw £12 go to Oxjam); then clouds descended, the horseman of the apocalypse appeared, a woman fainted…Calum Haddow had taken to the stage. He performed a swing version of “New Born” by Muse. I don’t really know what else I can say. You had to be there.

Cameron (returns)! – the joint victor of the bidding war supplemented his earlier set with a fine cover of “Disco 2000” by Pulp. I had never heard this done acoustic before, but it worked really well, and had the audience gleefully singing along. A fine way to end an absolutely cracking night at OOTB!

review by Jonny Pugh

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OOTB 335 – 24th March 2009

Posted 24/03/2009 By admin

OOTB 335 – 24th March 2009

It’s another mammoth pot-pourri of excellent music tonight at OOTB, so without further ado, here’s what i wrote about it, hurriedly, and on borrowed paper…

Furious (Willie) – Furious starts us off with a ninetiestastic slice of what was once enthusiastically called Britpop. It’s quite nice that Britpop’s lasting legacy is the singer-songwriter ethic. Furious exemplifies this well. His second song recalls the nineties as well (for me anyway), and it’s another slow one. His third picks the pace up a bit though, it’s called Curiosity which, given his stage name, would look great on the cover of a single. It’s quite complex and entertaining. This is my favourite of the three for sure.

http://www.myspace.com/furiousthesoloartist

Alex & Donald (Seven Deadly Sins) – They start with Miss Parker, a bittersweet country pop song, a bit like a strawberry milkshake on a hot day. The bridge has a bit of harmonica which is nice. Good harmonies too. They carry on with Silver on Gold, more twin guitar countryness, there’s some lovely lead guitar on this song. They quickly plug their band (Seven Deadly Sins) and finish with a song which is a bit groovier, sort of a timechanging rock folk acoustic vibe. Colin mentions to me that the chap on the right has “good hands”, surely a compliment!

http://www.myspace.com/thesevendeadlysinsofficial

Nicky Carder – This is the first public performance of Nicky’s newest song, I’ll Find You Unexpectedly, about a chance meeting between three musicians in Glasgow Central station, an upbeat pop number with foot tapping rock overtones. Nicky’s busy guitar playing is a great backing for her soaring voice. Secondly she plays Little Purples, it’s a quieter, contemplative number made all the more poignant when you realise it’s about her shoes! Finally, one of my favourites, Between The Floorboards. This is the song Nicky played when she successfully qualified for the regional finals of “Vodafone Live & Unsigned” (which will be held in Newcastle on 2nd May). Always a pleasure!

http://www.myspace.com/nickycardermusic

Broken Tooth – I personally think it’s fine to use some of your fifteen minutes to state your opinions, but Broken’s comments about the arms trade seem to be a bit lost on the audience. Still, he keeps it short and appropriately plays his new song Guns In The Desert. The guitar part in this is particularly nice. Mister Tooth does a great job of making a six string guitar sound like a twelve string here. He tells us a quick story about the Hellfire Club and launches into Hoodoo Man, one of my favourites off his CD actually. I like the atmosphere f this song and it’s been a while since i’ve heard it. Again, lovely guitar. Finally, a new one, Muse’s Song, about songwriting. He did this recently at the Blazer, more confidently in my opinion, i feel like Toothy sometimes comes across better in a lower tech setting, though to be honest the highly lamentable lack of a monitor speaker at OOTB may well be the low tech setting that’s putting him off his game slightly in this song. If so, he’s coping valiantly.

http://www.myspace.com/electricwhiteboy

The Angel Conversations – Nice to see these guys again, still playing as a duo rather than as a larger band as they used to do. It doesn’t stop them playing some powerful ballads though. They introduce their second as one they’ve “not quite written yet”, but to me it sounds like a good one with plenty of highs and lows, with a good combination of quiet verse and noisy chorus. They finish with Rain and Shine which is very well sung and very well played, and it swells up beautifully for the middle 8. I think my favourite of the set was the new one though, which is always a good sign.

http://www.myspace.com/theangelconversations

Townhouse – Playing as a three piece band, a configuration i haven’t seen them in before, Townhouse sound professional from their first note. Lisa Paton has a really powerful voice and it’s backed well by the band. Interesting songs too with plenty of hard hitting lyrics. Key changes and unexpected harmonies crop up frequently too, but always in the context of the song, like a well folded cake mixture. Very smooth and very tight, but still very real.

I’ve heard Stuart and Lisa separately before, and playing as a duo, but with the full three-piece band they take it to another level, it really works. They’re really good at singing harmonies with each other. By the third song, Lisa’s got her mandolin out. It’s excellent to hear mandolin driven songs at OOTB, there should be more of it. Keep it up Lisa! The third song also features a whistled hook line from Stuart which genuinely sounds as good as a flute.

Townhouse were only going to play five songs but luckily they relent and play Stuart’s excellent song about childhood social conditioning. It’s great, one of my favourites of his actually. You should hear it. They finish with a stormer of course and leave us wanting more…

http://www.myspace.com/townhousesound

Lorraine McCauley and Peter Michael Rowan – Lorraine and Peter are two thirds of a soon-to-be-unleashed band, the third party of which is Rob Sproul-Cran, should be interesting. Anyway, Peter plays a different instrument for each of the three songs, mandolin (yeah!), fiddle and guitar. Lorraine has a lovely voice made of chocolate and camembert, and Peter’s accompaniment is very complimentary to it. He knows how to add to the music without obstructing the song. I’ll certainly look forward to hearing the full ensemble. Their first Edinburgh gig as a three piece will be at the Blue Blazer on Sunday 17th May (get there for 8pm, free admission).

http://www.myspace.com/lorrainemccauley

Colin Milne – Playing his much talked about glute he tells us “all these songs are sort of true, with exaggerations, you know”. Colin’s unique. He gives us three surprising songs as usual(!). Colin’s got a unique songwriting style, a unique outlook on life and a unique demeanour in general. Not only that but his lyrics are enough to make anyone blush! He’s a true performer, and i don’t think he plays his songs many other places than Out of the Bedroom, we’re lucky to have him!

Calum Carlyle – I played a song next and when i got back to my seat, the following review had magically appeared on the page! Written by Mr Pugh possibly, here’s what it says: Whispers in the Wind – an intelligently picked chord progression around G effortlessly accompanies Calum’s gravelly vocal. Not his usual vocal style but I think it’s a really effective change for this song. Laid back, but upbeat song, really catchy chorus, again with some great bassline runs.

http://www.myspace.com/calumcarlyle

Ryan – Ryan seems a bit nervous, but he performs admirably regardless. He says his first, Soldier is “the oldest song I’ve written that I don’t hate”. He manages to rock out though, despite technical issues. His songs are slightly uneasy, slightly apprehensive, but there’s a certain unashamed amount of rock in there somewhere. His final song is a murder ballad, one of my favourite subgenres at the moment. This one’s about euthanising your loved one after she’s been shot, not played for laughs at all, which is good. He assures us he’s never done this in real life, which is a relief to me at any rate.

Sam – Sam’s great. He’s a powerful performer with a strong voice and lovely expansive guitar playing. Beautiful fingerstyle guitar parts and really catchy vocals, he’s a joy to listen to actually. It turns out i have heard Sam before at an event in Orkney, here’s the review: http://www.orkneyfolkfestival.com/23.pdf Many people had left by the time Sam came on which was a shame because i thought he was one of the best solo performers this evening. He’s a bit like if David Gray was incredibly good and could also play guitar like Bert Jansch.

http://www.myspace.com/twoscompany

Ivor – One instrumental from Ivor, another interesting fingerstyle guitarist. It’s lovely and it involves quite a lot of interesting harmonics and hammer-ons. Quite an organic piece, it’s the sort of thing that could easily go on a CD as the first track even though it’s an instrumental. Nice work, Ivor, worth staying up past bedtime for!

Jonny Pugh Compered and Jim Whyte did the sound (i think) and Calum Carlyle (who?) did the review.

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OOTB 334 – 17 Mar 2009

Posted 17/03/2009 By admin

OOTB 17/03/2009

An outstanding night, filled with so many new performers of great quality. We old-timers are wondering if the new vanguard has arrived.

Martin

Martin sports tea cosy hat like Cat Douglas, all around me are worried about what his teapot is wearing.

His first is called Gravity and is about measuring things.

He loses the knitwear for his second, which the very erudite Nyk Stoddart informs me is based on Cannery Row, the classic Steinbeck novel set in 30s depression America – the book is apparently great, the song is well – not so great.

Death by design is about being killed by your own inventions, I wonder if songs can be fatal.

Calum Carlyle

The webdude extraordinaire steps up to the mike. I might as well be positive because Calum is the one who posts out these reviews.

First up is a new song which is very high in his range – If I were you, I would put this later in a set, to give your voice a chance to warm up before hitting the ionosphere.

His second is rather funky, think about Stevie Wonder and you won’t be far wrong. Jim Thomson is enthroned upon a green settee, enhaloed by a spotlight, his flowing locks shaking to the groove.

There is a really cool imaginary bass player doodling along to Calum’s third. Calum manfully attempts to play rhythm, lead and bass lines all at once. I rather liked it.

Ross Neilson

Another tea-cosied performer – perhaps I am just behind the times. Tonight he gives us his new more folky material.

Camouflage Myths is out of Ross’ normal territory – it has a singalong chorus.

His second he performs differently tonight, more gently than I’ve heard it before – and it suits it.

Calum says it’s British Amerifolk, I think its rather like Jim Ponter with its insistent repetition of chords – no bad thing, although I’m informed that someone else complained about this, so I can’t be far wrong about the comparison.

Cameron

Cameron tells us about being accosted in the street and told to work hard at uni and not be a butcher – which he has made into his first song. It laid back and he has a nice voice. He follows this up with a Christmas song – in March? His last is somewhere between Jack Johnson and Damien Rice and cool changing time signature with a repeating pattern of 3 3 3 4. I’m wondering if he’s had some vocal training because he has a middle voice – never heard one before at OOTB. Good job.

Mayhew

Mayhew are normally a 5-piece, but tonight are a 3-piece with two guitars and a cello. My instant reaction is that it is lovely – these guys are clearly the pros in the room. The cellist is the finest I’ve seen on the acoustic scene – lovely tone and sympathetic playing. The singer has a fine clear voice – they announce a gig in the Jazz bar on the 1st April – I’m hoping that is not a joke, and would strongly encourage you all to go along.

Mark Roper

Mark just has a squashee tonight, and has ditched the laptop for the evening and brought along a guitar. I think he is considerably more confident with this approach and connects significantly better with the audience.

Broken Tooth

BT has become an evangelical atheist and give us a wee sermon with touches of Hitches and Dawkins – can’t say the audience responded too enthusiastically, but I thoroughly agreed with the sentiments. He launches into ‘Sing at my Funeral’ with some fervour – probably the best I’ve heard him.

Greg Taylor (debut)

I’m not sure if Greg is American, but he looks like he just walked off a 1950’s TV programme – clean cut and big grin. The songs all have multiple sections in different rhythms and tempos. The powerpop bits are quite catchy, but his voice is rather pitchy in the more lyrical sections. If marks were given for confidence he’d win hands down.

Henryk

Henryk is the singer from Chateaux Greyskull – which is a genius name, so I’ll not hear a bad word said about him. Strawberries and Cream has a jazzy backing, but harsh as sandpaper vocals. I rather liked the guitar. Fugue in G was his somewhat mysteriously titled second song – it was in G, but had no sign of a fugue, actually fairly straightforward blues. His third was a new song – and everyone agreed that it was almost Lou Reed. A good and varied set, I wonder what the band is like.

Sam (debut)

Sam and his girlfriend Hannah have just moved up to Edinburgh to be with Adam, and all three are making debuts tonight. His first is about getting your heart broken – it has touches of Noel Coward, but the falsetto passages are almost Matt Bellamy – this is a powerful and thick falsetto. His second lies somewhere between George Harrison and the Weepies. His third completes three tunings in three songs – always a nifty trick (I wasn’t paying enough attention, but from memory I think the first was standard, the second something open, and the third drop-d).

His music is all heavily jazz tinged, and it is great to hear such a variety of chords and clear understanding of harmony. I’d be hard pressed to think of another acoustic player of his calibre in Edinburgh. Hannah sings backing vocals – strong, good harmonies, great voice.

Adam (debut)

Adam (friend of Sam) has a similar jazz background. He is no slouch on the guitar himself, albeit in a rather different style. He has a nice voice with just a hint of smokiness. He plays ‘1984’ and ‘Coming Down Slow’, two fine songs. I have to say the debuts are the finest slots of the night tonight.

Hannah (debut)

Hannah plays ukulele in an uncomplicated but rather charming manner. She apologised for her skill, but I was rather taken by it. Whilst she can sing the jazz with Sam, her own material is slightly more country. She would sit quite happily on a bill between Lisa Paton and Emily Scott – in fact, I think I’ll recommend it.

Freelodin’ Frank

Frank gives us his Gaza protest song, I’m in Love with Scully from the X-files and I Wish Someone Would Kill Rupert Murdoch. Tonight the somewhat younger crowd seemed less interested than usual, but I’m a sucker for the funny ones.

Douglas

Says he has a bad cough and indeed the voice is struggling tonight, he’s a bit croaky, so I guess we’ll excuse him that. Lets hope he’s back soon in fine voice.

Reviewer: Daniel Davis

Compere: Jonny Pugh

Sound: Dave O’Hara

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OOTB 333 – 10 March 2009

Posted 10/03/2009 By admin

Tonight, a golden night of stars, wishes and other things maybe…With the moon, full up ahead – which seems to glow in the shifting sunset of the evening…

Rob Sproul-Cran
Robbie states that he sees stars…this is a new-old song which he sings in his characteristic high stiletto voice that aims to still the heartbeat of an amazed and expectant audience. “Frost-bitten fingers…sky wrenched asunder” adverbs Rob – which just bounces along – very much like the audience at this point.
No, i don’t know what that meant. This is a review by me remember!

Davy Watson
Sitting on the “elf-seat” surrounded by the stage – Davy deftly plays through one of me fave songs of his – “Black Light” – which is also a great title BTW – with its gloomy shifting minors and majors. He plays this song from a place deep in his heart, and has the audience spellbound.
“Try to comply…shows you blind on your side…ghosts of the past” evokes Davy as he hypnotises the audience. “I love you three” is a song that Davy gave to Spamborksee/Sparrowhawk/Spam originally a while back – and it’s fab to hear the original played by the original (?!) – i think this performance adds extra heart and powerful emotion. “Made up my mind” He sings “I left my heart outside” which he picks with flowing fingers – i hope he
plays more often at OOTB in future, as he is a class act!

Lindsay Sugden
Talking of class, What better way to celebrate a full moon than with a set from Lindsay Sugden – although bereft of the storm for tonight, she pulls out her solo set remixes.
“Promises can fade in the daylight” she sings whilst dancing, spindly chords form around the catchy melody line. This is a piece that has grown over a period of months, and fulfills it’s promise as a fascinating and atmospheric song. “On the wire” is one of her “greatest hits” you know – “Let me see your epiphany…i mean it…” she states, and i for one believe her!
“Time stands still” – Lindsay notices that often “amazing ideas fall on deaf ears” –
and that is while she reflects that “a lifetime away…where a miracle lies” – she sings this with a fragile beauty that evokes fantasies and dreams projected upon the world from a wistful heart.

Broken Tooth
Mr Broken brings out all the hits tonight – there’s no way that i can do justice to the intricate lyrics and varied musical styles this man embraces, so i’ll just witter on about haircuts and other military things…
“Hold fast” is a statement on atheism, and its many subtleties apparently – he bellows that this “ship ain’t sinking yet” whilst fast and slow bits smelt into a rising crescendo of prog. Yes. Prog. As in Prog. Rock. I say it again. Prog.
“Guns in the desert” We sold weapons to Morroco apparently, and he also mentions refugee camps – two reasons Why we should not travel there…propping up their economy and the damaged excuse for reality that is called their government.
“Borderline” an older song where he sings that “There’s no such thing as the devil” “What you know about the devil ?” he wails, along with a great central riff! The Prog blues king rulz! Yeah!

Daniel McGeever – Feature act
“It’s everywhere” Our feature act for tonight is the well respected Daniel McGeever – deceptively simple songs with lyrics like “Should have woke up…a long conversation with a good friend of mine…understanding feelings that are hard to say twice”
In “A visitor from Mars” he is discussing the images on the TV screen – he sees sci-fi through the lens of a real alien !
“On your way” has Davy Watson on harp – a travelling/driving song with the blues twist.
“In my heart” has a slow, sad harp from Davy – it tells of “trying to be myself again” “I don’t want to go home” with its images of New Orleans, Cleveland, Montreal etc. give it a rambling but interesting and kaleidoscopic quality. “What can i do” – “is it too late to change your mind ?” he asks while he weaves this into an intricate pattern including the line “I’ve got a feeling tonight that everythings gonna be alright” Next is a song that segues on from that in “Alright” – which has a bit of comping from the acquired taste that is the “Revolution 1” re-mix thing – something to be heard at any rate. “Felicity Vaughan” – A very pretty but simple love song.
An encore is requested and he plays “Everything’s coming my way…” which has jazzy, melodic chordings. A professional finish to a polished collection of songs – he has everyone glued throughout his entire set. Although not literally, as that might be very unfortunate…

Johnny
A sort of American indie – accoustic number or two. Two songs exactly the same – he states- not quite…there is the start of some interesting ideas here and hopefully he will return again with his spangly haircut and decisive chops as he obviously makes a strong impression on the audience. I must mention the hair again. “Fantastic, where DOES he get his hair done ?” says someone in the audience.

Calum Haddow
Eccentricity. Electricity. in human form. in the shape of a bat stapled to a leopard. In “Tetsio/Tesaro/Tesco” he sings that it “rains so hard the aeroplanes fell from the sky in giant drops”. class. “No name” because he didn’t want to offend Mr. Radiohead by its original title “Wolf at the door”. my fault for telling him. duh! he casually mentions that “All of my tendons torn…” and that something is “screaming at me in wolf”. Geniusmad.
“First Aid” Never has a song had such an apt title. It’s a bruised, jaunty, singalong, merciless mother of a song. Leadership training for overactive toddlers.
And that was Calum Haddow. Madness in a bottle – stapled to a gazelle.

Johnny Pugh takes over the reviewing reigns as Nyk Stoddart plugs in “Black Beauty”. Neigh!
“Indefatigable” says Rob Sproul-Cran “Gimp boy” a smile ripples across the audiences collective face as Nyk launches into his firm favourite.
Instantly recognisable from the catchy riff. Few people could say the words “Gimp Boy” to a roomful of people and still be considered something of a genius. Nyk is one of them.
“I dreamed my life away…” Psychedelic sounding intro. with chords sliding about the fretboard. This is one of Nyk’s “serious” songs (you can tell because he’s taken his Russian hat off) and it offers an effective contrast to his first song. One of the darkest I’ve heard from Nyk as he sings “I dreamed my life away”. “Bad Blues” – Davy Watson adds a real authenticity to this blues number. Underlies the vocal really well. What’s this ? Broken Tooth on the bongoes ?! A positive plethora of blues talent on show !

Thanks Johnny…(the tenners in the post BTW!) and now back to er…me…again…

Cameron
Cameron strides onto the stage, he very quickly shows that he has a good voice with an effective range. In “Won’t you save me ?” he sings plaintively of the possibility of rescue. “Try to stop” Has floating chord sequences with strumming on alternate beats. “Inside my mind” Is a more introverted tale, with his voice rising over lyrics that tell of many a night of dark introspection.

Rosscoe Galloway

Rossco Galloway and Friends 21 April 2009

Rossco Galloway and Friends 21 April 2009

Rosscoe hasn’t been to OOTB for a while…and it’s great to hear him back. An oak-seasoned pro just back from the alternate olympics, he begins with “Into the light” which shows his solid songwriter abilities. “Get Free” is a very catchy song – one of my faves – with interesting lyrics mentioning the Galapolas islands of all things – a signature song for him. Rosscoe is a songwriter and performer that writes from the heart and conveys many different meanings each time i hear him. To finish, Rosscoe does a Tica Douglas cover “Home from Home” with extra grunge – great to hear another version of this amazing song – a bittersweet finish to the night as Tica Douglas herself is now back over the pond in the U.S. – and Rosscoe does her song proud – capturing her almost-but-not-quite hip hop mellowness and mixing it in with his unique steadfast folkiness.

Now the stars go out, one by one – to the noise and the traffic of the Edinburgh streets – their paths which were entwined become difuse again, while the moon looks sagely on – as it has for a very long time – do i detect a smile from the face on the moon, between those craters and loose rocks ?

review by Nyk Stoddart

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OOTB 332 – 3 March 2009

Posted 03/03/2009 By admin

Out Of the Bedroom  332

Review 03/03/09

Willie (Furious), Eddie (machar granite), Ross Neilson, Nicky Carder, Mark, Mia, Tommy, Gerry, Jim Bryce, Dave Robertson, CBQ, The Victorians and Mayhew.

Willie (Furious)

Willie starts the evening with a lively performance. His energetic, bouncy rhythms definitely kept the audience engaged and stopped all background chatter immediately. He has a great voice, full of passion and charisma. He uses some lovely dynamic changes, some great pauses and a nice rallentando to end his first song. Willie’s imagery stayed with me this evening, “army inside you with the rainbows shining through” He is “always on the move” using a harmonica to create a nice contrast to his rocky style. He definitely keeps “making impressions” on everyone watching.

P.S I like the colour of his guitar strap.

Eddie (machar granite)

I always look forward to Eddie’s performances and he definitely didn’t disappoint.

He opens with a great guitar riff and some good imagery.

“Watching from the windows as the world rolls by”

His words and melodies seem to flow from him. I drift away to his voice as his Scottish accent shines through beautifully.

A guy that keeps pigeons is the theme of Eddie’s next song. His finger picked guitar works brilliantly with his lyrics. “Circled overhead and in formation”, his sound is full but not too busy, and his voice is used gently to great effect. He puts “ words in our mouths so we have something new to say”.

Eddie’s themes give his song substance and meaning so when his flowing storyline subtly changes into a bold new guitar riff, it lifts the audience to the very end of song and keeps us watching while he slowly fades away.

Ross Neilson

Ross is a familiar face now at out of the bedroom and it is really great to hear some of his new songs.

His country sound is a good contrast to the previous performers. “I know you so well, I know you can’t tell”. His music has a Bob Dylan feel. He used a good bit of diminution in his intro and outro, which helped round his song off nicely.

His guitar rhythm works nicely with the vocal sequence and the held note in the voice is particularly effective as it gleams through the guitar riff.

“Shattered dreams don’t seem real” His conversation style vocals are quite complacent and help show off his softer side. A very good performance.

Nicky Carder (written by Calum Carlyle)

Nicky breaks the 1st commandment by doing a cover (though you’d never know it, she makes it her own completely)

I always smile when Nicky sings “everyone is watching me, I should have so much more to say”. We all know that feeling but the irony is that Nicky’s style is captivating, no wonder everyone is watching.

She finishes with another firm favourite, “ in hiding”. Tonight, she’s very much in control on her songs. This has been my favourite version of “in hiding” so far.

Mark

Mark is a breath of fresh air. He shifts the genre so dramatically, that if there was any sort of boredom out there, it has been completely eradicated.

Boogie has just been given a completely new meaning. If this guy can’t make everyone smile, no one can. His humorous tone and lyrics really steal the show. His self-created backing tracks boom in the background as he and everyone else in the room sway and nod to the music.

“We’ll both get older and we’ll both get fatter”.  His amusing lyrics and brilliant use of “oooh”, mean that I’ll most definitely go home singing his awesomely catchy but cheesy, in the best possible way, songs.

Mark’s “L.O.V.E” song takes the average mainstream love song and turns it completely inside out. “ I don’t know if I should move to the bedroom or the door”.

His melancholic vocal tone is well balanced with the happy sounding constructed backing track and really enhances the humour aspect of his performance as well as his writing skills. There is a musical style sound in his music but he makes it realistic, creating a musical for everyday life. As the synth solo bellows out, he has time to grab a glass of water before finishing his very entertaining set.

Mia

Mia starts off her set with an extremely rhythmic guitar riff, which entwines with her individual and bold voice. She captures a touch of soul in her music. This is another nice contrast to the previous performers. Mia has such a full sound, her words are crammed with content and interesting phrases and yet she still maintains a happy feel as well as a great drive and a constant rhythm.

“I’ll stand outside your window and do my best to shine”.

She works her way around her chords and stretches her voice showing off her control. She lifts her chords up the fret board towards the end and paints out some intriguing, but yet focused, scat singing before ending her song, as she fades out she leaves her impression firmly with us.

Tommy

Tommy open with a good beat, his folky style is very apparent as he speeds up the strumming. He adds in a bit of harmonica and keeps everyone nodding along.

Tommy has a distinctive husky voice full of character and a lovely undertone that shines through. He keeps a tambourine under his foot, which helps fill the sound and carries the song along nicely. He slides his way around the guitar, including some a cappella pauses, which really highlight the tone of his voice. These pauses also really enhance the returning guitar theme. His Scottish accent edges every word and sounds out amongst the workings of the fret board. “ I can’t touch this flame”

Tommy had a very good slot this evening. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gerry

Gerry confidently makes his way onto the stage with the noise of his fan club beating down around him.

Hammer-ons form a simple but effective guitar accompaniment, which work well with his powerful but controlled voice. He shows off his style with leaps in the melody.

“She can read my mind”

A subtle vibrato flows through his voice as he produces some well-written and very catchy melodies and yet maintains a confident but still relaxed feel.

“People come and go” “how can something that feels so right, feel so wrong at the same time”

Gerry uses some pretty heart-felt lyrics along with some great held notes, which are sung amongst well-constructed guitar playing. He continues to show an impressive sustain in his voice. He also makes some good changes in the tempo of the songs to keep them interesting and to maintain the attention from the audience, not that he needed too, his audience were listening intently to every word.

Gerry ends his slot with a very memorable chorus that I particularly enjoyed.

“Until my legs won’t carry me no more”

A great performance from Gerry.

Jim Bryce

This man needs no introduction. He was well anticipated and has not disappointed.

“He took up his fish slice and fried her in crumbs”.

Jim makes some weird mouth noises and combines them with even stranger lyrics to compose a very atmospheric and entertaining song.

“He sliced his brains to the bone and had them with pasta for his tea”

This particular song had a haunting feel to it, reminded me of an Addams family song or something. Jim has great animation in his voice as he tells his dark story amongst an individual use of finger picked chords.

Jim’s next piece is a contrasting song with some beautiful sounding piano and vocal melodies. He keeps his voice animated and turns his songs into something which sounds like a signature song for a character in a musical. This man seems to be very good at acting as he easily manages to grasp the glances of everyone in the room.

“I can’t shut my eyes for seeing pictures in my head”

He uses accents to punch out his words, he also makes use of dynamic contrasts and uses a nice bit of repetition.

Jim’s final song “moon and water song” starts with a penny whistle. He effectively bends the notes and displays a beautiful tune with acciaturas and long notes which are immediately followed by some melancholic but convincing a cappella singing. These nice sequences fill in the spaces and captivate the audience without the need for an accompaniment.

Jim’s songs combine humour and also a deeper and more serious under tone, they are brilliantly constructed and are received in admiration by every musician in the room. A very talented performing indeed.

Dave Robertson

I can tell that Dave listened to the same kind of music as I did when I was younger, It was nice to know that at least one person recognised the Soil cover I played earlier.

Dave has a very impressive vocal range. His voice includes a great deal of edge, which keeps his notes very bold even when he is singing in the higher register.

This guy is definitely into rock, his angsty, passion filled voice booms out and engages the crowd. He most definitely is not “invisible”.

Dave’s bold opening guitar riff jumps about in dynamic and rhythm. He really highlights his voice in the softer and more exposed areas before he explodes back in volume.

His great rhythm and accents drive his songs, which are full of power, his controlled screaming fades in and out as his songs develop.

Dave is becoming very confident and I particularly enjoy his unique balance of metal melody lines on an acoustic guitar.

CBQ

CBQ’s gentle sound is yet another good change in the atmosphere. I think there has been some higher force organising the programme tonight, as every act seems to have made an impact. CBQ’s soft sound floats around the room and into the distance after every phrase creating a very mellow and relaxing feel.

“I’ll see you around, don’t worry about the money”.

“I wave to the car as you drove off”.

His deep thoughts linger in everyone’s minds as he sings them out nicely.

“Don’t answer the call”

CBQ maintains a subtle but consistent drive throughout his songs as vibrato creep through his voice.

“When I come into the room, one thing that strikes me is the time”

“Play dead when you feel nothing at all”

He definitely makes up for his gentle voice by turning out deep and passionate lyrics that leaves everyone lost in thought.

The Victorians

The Victorians steal the show before they even touch the stage. Their magnificent stage present captures everyone and draws them in even if they don’t want to be drawn in. I’d like to see someone try and avoid making eye contact with them, the Victorians would probably storm out and drag who ever the culprit was and bring them onto the stage for the rest of their slot. As well as having great stage presence and a really nice jacket, the Victorians managed to construct the official out of the bedroom theme song.

“You’re going to find me at out of the bedroom, the Tron on a Tuesday at out of the bedroom”

As for their songs, as well as being ridiculously entertaining, they were very well formed and very well performed. The second vocal part was a nice subtle addition that really brought the best out of their music.

Lovely gentle voices peer out of humorous, well-spoken sentences, in beautiful harmonies.

“ I still put our affair in the past tense!”

The Victorians stamp away to the bouncy guitar rhythm.

“Don’t mind me I’m just passing through to somewhere more civilised, a little more me, a little less you”.

There was conversation happening mid song and la la la counter melodies in the background that not many people could pull off quite so well. This cabaret style duo had the best audience interaction I’ve ever seen and probably the most entertaining performance I’ve seen yet at out of the bedroom.

Thoroughly recommend them to anyone as there is only so much a silly little review can cram in, especially as a lasting impression is guaranteed.

Mayhew

Mayhew had a hard act to follow but they did so beautifully.

An ambient sound breaks out as harmonics and bass notes drive their song into existence. The cello seeps through, capturing a dark and beautiful sound that truly captivates the audience. My hand was glued to the paper as I scribbled down everything I could hear until the vocals came in. I had to put down my pen, this distinctive and beautiful voice flows amongst the guitar and cello perfectly. Words can’t describe such a full and beautiful sound and how much of an impact this particular combination of folk, classical and ambient rock melodies can have.

The music continues to lift and entwine with the words, constantly driven by the counter melodies of the guitar and cello, while the echoing voice carries effortlessly. The mixture of folk and classical guitars is very distinctive and takes the sound to the limit without it sounding too busy. I particularly love how consistent the beat was despite having no percussionist. The instruments take it in turn to lead the music, keeping it full and varied.

“torrents came out of nowhere”

The imagery becomes its own as it appears gently in the words.

“Frozen fragments” “tonight we hide, from view” “we’re standing in shallow water, the warnings came down in torrents”

Mayhew’s performance was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen.

A band that everyone needs to see.

Review by Nicky Carder

Compere – Calum Carlyle

Sound by Daniel, Malcolm and David!

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