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OOTB 15 – 7 Feb 2002

Before I launch into this weeks review, I’d just like to say that there’s an extremely good open mic night if you’re ever in London of a Wednesday night. How do I know this? Well, I was there last Wednesday, at the Virtually Acoustic Club, a very well run evening, and ably presented by the friendly Stephen Chin. Two (original) songs at the most per artist meant that a staggering 31 performers booked in for the night. I had a great evening of entertainment, and best of all, it was free. If you want to know more, look at the website or email Stephen Chin on stephen@thevac.co.uk . I’m also looking forward to what Norman Lamont thought of the 12 Bar Club (also London), as he played there last Thursday.

Our own evening was no less entertaining though, featuring a fair variety of performing styles and personalities. After two songs from Jim and I, Jill from Falkirk stepped up to the mic and unleashed her astonishingly clear, pure voice onto an unsuspecting audience. A new song was aired for the first time “Words Don’t Matter”, but in this case they did, as they carried the song by the way they were sung. The song was so new that there was a slight hesitation in the guitar playing at one point, but it didn’t mar the beautiful effect of the whole. The other two songs she played are being performed more confidently every time, and are just as good. If Jill carries on like this, then that hypothetical £10, 000 a day studio will have to make room for another performer.

Scott Reilly was next, but as he’s forbidden me to talk about his performance, I’m going to say that he wore his damned fine crushed velvet purple shirt again, like he did last week. It didn’t smell or anything, so he must have washed it. We also noted that orange juice in pubs isn’t anywhere near as good value as beer in pubs, but why this is, we couldn’t say.

OOTB newcomer Ian followed, with a song called “Where Are You”, delivered with a throaty, folk-bluesy vocal, slightly reminiscent of some artists around the turn of the seventies. His guitar playing was pretty impressive too, with a chiming, picked guitar style that occasionally used the more percussive side of the instrument, pinging his strings off the fret board in time with the beat. I liked “She Said It’s All Gone”, and the way he used the capo to vary the sound of the songs generally. They obviously train them well down at Kin, where I believe Ian often plays.

Then it was the irrepressible Freeloadin’ Frank‘s turn, and he started off with his guitar sounding as sweet as a bird. Then the gremlins struck, causing Frank to uncharacteristically forget some of the words. Totally in character though, he turned it to his advantage, and sang about how he’d forgotten the words instead, which amused the audience greatly. After the old favourite “I’m In Love With Scully From The X-Files”, Frank detuned his guitar to perform “Cars” which thankfully isn’t a Gary Numan cover, but a swirling, ethereal, otherworldly masterpiece about the evils of cars, money, and capitalism. I personally think that it was his best performance of that song that I’ve heard, it has a very unique sound and was performed superbly. Normally you wouldn’t say that a song that could possibly be about an acid trip (“The Magic Cornflake”), and a song called “Bloodshed On The Way” would be lighter, more sing-a-long numbers to follow, but bizarrely, that was the case. Only Frank can do this, so don’t try it at home, folks! A rousing tour-de-force all round.

After the interval, Jed (who I think also plays at Kin) played for the first time at OOTB. He had a very nicely-shaped acoustic guitar, and he could certainly play it. An even more percussively picked style than the aforementioned Ian resulted in a rhythmical pulsing of the strings, with some droning thrown in for good measure. The singing was equally good, and delivered with passion, I especially like the song about the Edinburgh homecoming that he played. And anyone that can play an extremely intricate arpeggio whilst looking up and greeting a friend that walks in deserves respect, in my book. Come back soon, and teach me how to do that.

Philly and Callum then came on to the stage, and although had been drinking heavily, turned in a fine performance. Despite “Don’t Kill The King”‘s serious subject matter, they couldn’t resist a laugh or two along the way, and the crowd seemed amused by Callum’s bent notes too. Apparently they’d been in the studio recording that day, hence the visit to the alcoholic beverage establishment later. Gentleman, if that is what happens after imbibing prodigiously, then please keep doing so, as it was an extremely enjoyable performance.

Riley Briggs then performed two shiny brand new songs, apparently fresh out of the box. They wereRiley Briggs up to the dizzyingly high standards that Riley’s already set for himself, and continued in the twanging, country-tinged mould familiar to regular OOTB-goers. Picked patterns and bent notes coupled with Riley’s expressive singing and knack for a great melody meant they were very fine indeed. I liked “That Girl Will Give You The World”, and Riley’s use of 2/4 time to give a different angle to proceedings. If that’s the sort of quality that Riley can come up with in a week, then I say let’s lock him in a room for a month with his guitar and a bottle of whiskey, and we’ll probably end up with the best song ever written. I’d love to hear those songs again, so I hope he returns soon.

Philly and Callum then generously played again to “keep the party going” in Philly’s words, Playing “Teardrops Will Fall” which I hope was one of the ones they recorded, as I like that one.

The raffle ‘s mystery prize was won by none other than the mysterious Scott Reilly, of the aforementioned purple shirt. Strangely enough, the prize was “Purple Ronnie’s Little Guide for Lovers” or something similar (I don’t know, Jim bought it, but it had “purple” in the title), and it brought quite a few laughs when passed around the table afterwards. Mind you, we’d had a few pints by then.

So, as you can see, no shortage of great music, humour and bizarre coincidences abounding once again. If you fancy it this Thursday, then come on down.

Nelson

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