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OOTB 293 – 20 March 2008

OOTB 293 – 20 March 2008

Broken Tooth, Ross Neilson/Zen Transmission, Freeloadin Frank, Jenny, Davy O’Hara, Nyk Stoddart, Jordan Ogg, Hugh Mann, Calum Carlyle and Jimmy, Jake Logan and Ross Coburn, Marcies New Haircut aka Kieron(debut)

Broken Tooth aka Electric White Boy Under his new moniker ‘Broken Tooth’ Jim brings us the blues with ‘Riding on the rail’ which sounds to me like John Lee Hooker wiv Led Zep thing, and even has Beatlesque ‘ooohs’ at certain points, although that could just be my warped imagination! I also can’t help but imagine what he’d sound like with shades and an electric guitar, as this sounds like the type of material that’ll really cook with it – although obviously not in the literal sense, as he’d have to carry a mini gas stove with him at all times, and that would be heavy…man. ‘I’ve lost my faith in love’ has a staccato attack wiv jazzy inflected chords, nice… He finishes with his new prog rock thing ‘Hold fast’ with its tales of ocean faring adventure. A fantastic start to the evening, holding everyone in rapt attention. Great to listen to when floating in outer space, as one does! www.myspace.com/electricwhiteboy www.myspace.com/crawdaddyblues

Ross Neilson/Zen Transmission Ross has been playing at OOTB for a wee while now and has a good line in brooding, but mellow, melodic songs. He often has well-crafted lyrics too, as the first song shows – ‘grass was green but not true like the sun’ was one line that stood out for me. In ‘julie come home’ he sings of ‘watching you in a beautiful disguise’ which i think is a great line, along with ‘dark passages of light smash a window in my heart’. His singing shows many different tonal colours within his vocal range, a performer who can command an audience quite easily – and whose songs bear repeated listening. A polished and interesting performer that’s always good to hear. http://www.myspace.com/zentransmission

Freeloadin Frank Roaming OOTB fixture Frank dedicates his first song ‘Rupert Murdoch’ to a well known social networking person, although what it has to do with ‘ol Rupert i don’t know! I’ve always liked the way he mixes it up with controversial subject matter. ‘King Kong’ is a crazed love song about a famous fictional ape and a rather large tower with planes crashing into it or something..’climbing up the empire state building, cos i’m so in love with you’ and ‘stood on a couple of cops…oops!’ are some of my favourite lines – finishing with a corny (deliberate i’m sure!) kazoo finale. We end the spectacular journey with a…hmmm…journey in ‘magic cornflake’ – this gets everyone going…before too long (or too long before) we’ll know him as singalongafrank… http://www.myspace.com/freeloadinfrank

Jenny As our compere for the night, Rosie Bell, pointed out, its good to see a woman up at the mike/mic – with the passionate ‘Freedom’ which she sings with some effortless high notes. She sings of the desire to find freedom from oneself, a trap we can all fall into. It’d be good to hear a full set from her soon. Come back soon please!

Davy O’Hara Heavy strummming…only joking! – Davy mellows us out wiv ‘Arabian Nights’ displaying some well nice fingerwork, wheras ‘Accidentals’ has a brooding european quality, with a bit of tequila sunset in there too, with its haunting and reflective minors and sevenths. It helps to hear him amplified, as in rowdier environments his playing, unfortunately, can be too soft – but that’s in the nature of proper classical guitar playing – it’s more meditative, and requires more attention paid to it. Nice one Davy!

(Darren Thornberry takes over reviewing while i play)

Nyk Stoddart Nyk seems a bit subdued tonight as ‘Songwriter’ begins. It’s as if he’s truly contemplating the words as they spill out. ‘You were born/bored, but only in your mind …’ Nice extended hum outro. Next ‘Out of the Fire, Into the Rain’ is a good ol’ bluesy number that we would be glad to hear again soon. ‘Tombstoning’ is as caustic as ever, shouting up the nihilism of stupid sports celebrity hijinx. By the end, Nyk is rocking to the beat and attacking his instrument. Good set from a faithful OOTB-ite. www.mutantlodge.com

(I return!)

Jordan Ogg The very talented Jordan starts the OOTB feature act with ‘Helpless Again’, he sings clear vocals that allowed me to pick up the lyrics (something that can, surprisingly, take some time to master) with lines like ‘history of rock may have not taught me about soul   and ‘would you be my Yoko’ accompanied by accomplished guitar playing and the addition of guitar body ‘tapping’ adding a percussive element reminiscent of boxcars chugging along a train track, somewhere. Jordan then jokes about putting himself in peril by singing a ‘love song for Glasgow’ – i’m sure at this point i heard someone in the audience shout ‘kill him!’…jokingly of course, us musos are a mellow bunch! ‘Dark and the deep blue sea’ was written about his return to Shetland, where he grew up, and the things that he discovered upon his return – ‘I should have come back a little more prepared’ he states before wailing into his harp – an instrument i’ve always liked as an accompaniment to a guitar. Indeed, his fingerpicking, along with strumsy hand muting create some clever dynamics within the song. ‘Pigeon Pie’ is one of my favourites, starting with a few lines about seeing a dead pigeon, it soon goes off on a tangent, with lines like ‘She looked so pretty when she cried’ and ‘whatever happened to redemption, the kids no longer sing along’. This song goes in my different directions, and i demand to hear this at OOTB again soon! ‘The prettiest bird’ finishes the set and has a great harp intro with melodic indie jazzy chords. He sings ‘the prettiest birds sing the prettiest songs’ making me wonder is he making a comment on a myth amongst musicians? Overall, a great set from an interesting and polished artist. Keep on keepin’ on, and remember to return to OOTB with whatever fantastic stuff you’ve written! http://www.myspace.com/jordanogg

Hugh Mann I know it’s irrelevant, but he wears a cap…in the ‘Same Old Man’ he sings of ‘every time I scramble free i end up back in misery’. ‘The light within my eyes’ has some jangly open chords – which seems to be a song about springtime – hoping to ‘take all your troubles and throw them away’ ‘Dream time and silence’ he says is a ‘wee song about drugs with a slant’ with mentions of ‘pill popping housewives’ and ‘so many highs seem to take me low’. A theme which is very much of our time – the wish to escape from our realities by whatever means possible, and its dangers. Hugh has a soulful voice which works especially well, grabbing the attention of the audience. Hope to see some more songs from you soon Hugh!

Calum Carlyle and Jimmy I’ve always enjoyed this duo, who always manages to bring a slice of Orkney with them. With ‘Dawn Song’ – ‘the world is ending, not with a bang but a whimper’ he sings, i think – but there sound isn’t…it’s a plaintive mix of folky guitar and resonator mandolin, creating a heady sound…the mandolin also especially good at drowning out harmoniums and suchlike in folky environments, apparently. ‘Promise of a perfect day’ is about moving from Orkney to Thurso…a dangerous journey indeed… ‘Modern Man’ reminds me, for some strange reason, of bar-room Americana – but that could just be my head… To finish, Calum does our oft-repeated favourite ‘The sound of falling in love at first sight’ – wiv lines like ‘you were the one true thing i can believe in’. The constantly changing key creates an up and down melodic elevation that sums up for me the whole territory… Wiv a great combination of melodic vocals and haunting songs, mired deep within the folk tradition, while still sounding contemporary all i can say is please keep making the journey to and from Orkney to play to us! http://www.myspace.com/calumcarlyle

Jake Logan and Ross Coburn I don’t know if they’ve played at OOTB before, but Jake Logan, the next female performer of the night accompanied with Ross Coburn start with ‘Face Me’ – where Jake shows her rock-chic credentials singing of ‘if you face me, i’ll face you’ and how she’s ‘learned to be alone’. ‘Got sugar in my tears’ has a nice line in snazzy pop melodics that glides along without a glitch, whereas ‘Here Now’ pushes up the tempo into the world of r-o-c-k (that isn’t an acronym by the way!, although i don’t know where i’m going with this) An excellent performance where they both create a sound and image that would appeal to a large audience with the added touch of Jakes groovy pink boots!

Marcies New Haircut aka Kieron (debut) We didn’t recognise our own Darren Thornberry recently, we would walk past him and pause, puzzled…something he’s gotten used to since he’s shaved his beard… Marcie, however, hasn’t and it’s good to see there are still some of us beardies still left! This is not Marcie, and not a new haircut, but an OOTB first-timer who has plucked up the courage to dive in and be heard, an experience i remember quite well meself… ‘Psycho pop loving song’ is an up tempo number, with reggae inflections singing of how he ‘tried to make everything right with you’. ‘Neeps and apples’ seems to have quite a few lyrics, unfortunately i didn’t catch all of them as they seemed to go by so fast! However, the whole feel of the song has an almost nursery rhyme feel to it, in common with his other songs, with some melodic fingerpicking. Despite his obvious nervousness, Kieron did a good first performance, showing that just getting up there and doing it is the best way to learn and gain more confidence. We all look forward to your presence at OOTB again soon! http://www.myspace.com/marciesnewhaircut And now it’s time for me to launch my spacecraft, and return to my homeworld…all words are coincidental, with no intended meaning or purpose…

Compere: Rosie Bell, Sound: David O’Hara, Review: Nyk Stoddart

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