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OOTB 294 – 27th March 2008

OOTB 294 – 27th March 2008

NYK STODDART, EWEN FORBES, MAIN ACT: STEVEN CAREY, JAKE & ROSS, JIM IGOE, Squashee, THE BEGGAR GIRLS

OOTB is a lean, mean fighting machine on 27th March. A handful of folks haunt the place, and they are treated to intimate sets and surprising newcomers.

NYK STODDART What do you want written on your grave? So asks OOTB resident in Tombstoning  , a song which itself is the epitaph of self-indulgent pseudo sports celebrity. Nyk’s guitar is playing itself tonight; it kicks like an unbroken bronco. Bad Blues   is also unharnessed, and Nyk laughs it off like the pro he is. TV Leg, requested by this writer, is indeed my favourite of Nyk’s trio. A soul baring nearly takes place in these punchy lyrics. Picking scabs off my arms, cracked glass under my skin.   Cool tempo on this track as well.

EWEN FORBES Ewen is new to me; I like his humble demeanour immediately. Strangely, I find most of his lyrics unintelligible. His songs are well received, so I don’t fault him.  Ewen has pretty well mastered a three-chord repetitive pattern. This makes his tunes quite catchy. Homeward   is really cool; it could pass for a traditional folk song.

MAIN ACT: STEVEN CAREY I’ve seen Steven a few times and his songs randomly rumble around my head, while I’m wolfing down a macaroni pie at Piemaker or queuing for the 23 in Trinity. Great White Shark   has a certain … something … like it belongs in a VW commercial. Cheeky bastard says it has no socio-political overtones, but at face value it’s about being numbed by TV, media, the illusion of need fed to us by ad agencies. Traffic   shows off his pipes. A new tune finds him reminiscing about seeing her on George St in a pink coat. The dregs of your affection are not enough  , great hook. I am humming it before he stops playing it. Lorna   has that gorgeous harmonic intro and outro, and I can never tell if this is a song of consolation to a sister or potential lover. Party   might be Steven’s signature song. Who wouldn’t want to see this meek and mild chap bring out the ugly? One criticism is that his falsetto is kinda pitchy, but hey it’s still a class song. He ends with his personal favourite to perform at OOTB, a breakup song about a lying lover.

JAKE & ROSS Let’s get this point made. I don’t think Jake & Ross hung the moon, but they are very entertaining and one of the best duos seen in OOTB for ages. Ross is a capable guitarist, and when Jake lets go on vocals, it’s a treat. Spinning Rooms   is about being pished. This of course resonates with all OOTB committee members in attendance. Foolish Eyes   is rich in tasty minors and is perhaps Jake’s best vocal of the night. That said, they don’t seem to have an ending nailed down. Honest   is about something Jake would rather not describe. Ross gets a bit flushed with a guitar miscue, but who cares. It’s an intense, sad song.

JAY BROWN It’s unclear in bachelor Jay Brown’s song about marriage if he’s for it or against it. But we do know the river runs cold   in his goddamn soul. Standout line from song two: My sleeping lady’s fingers are as innocent as water.   This is a quiet, thoughtful song … about marriage. Above the Restaurant   might be the first song he ever wrote, he confesses. Don’t let him fool you that it merely concerns living above a restaurant. I say this clever song is about a relationship surviving change. Overall, Jay’s guitar playing is standard stuff. Good vocal and sincerity comes through.

JIM IGOE, Squashee Is it right for the co-founder of OOTB to play a squashee slot? Or should he have a standing invitation to play when and what he likes? Nae matter: it’s like pulling teeth to get a song out of him tonight! But he finally coughs up a tune about the first humanist wedding in the UK that occurred three years ago at Edinburgh Zoo (with the red panda officiating?). Hooray for the atheist victory … I don’t believe in God, but I believe in you.   Jim belts it out with a religious-less fervour. Nice one.

THE BEGGAR GIRLS Is anyone expecting a wine-drinking threesome from Peebles to steal the show? That’s exactly what goes down. Sporting a hand-drum, accordion, a couple of fiddles, spot-on harmonies and classically mournful lyrics, I swear I’m listening to the muses of Fanattica. Not much point breaking it down song by song. The whole thing is delicious. Do yourself a good turn and check out www.myspace.com/beggargirls. Rumour has it they will be our featured act in a couple weeks time.
[Ed: The album is pretty cool too!]

Review: Darren Thornberry

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