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OOTB 307 – 26 June 2008

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is fitting that Calum Haddow is our Featured Artist tomorrow night, as he’s just supplied us with quite possibly the greatest review ever penned under the OOTB banner. (see below) I was going to include the review I did for the week previous, but to be honest, it doesn’t compare, so I won’t. I’ll send it once you all have a chance to calm down again.

As for the man himself… horror stories told beautifully, kinda like
Poltergeist – The Musical. The last time I saw Calum, I had tears in my eyes by the end. It is gripping, awesome, and unmissable.

For now, though, behold….

OOTB 26/6/08

Konichiwa b*tches.

Now then. You and I are to have words. You weren’t there. You don’t know. You’ll never know. OOTB shifted on its very foundations and microphones and electrics slipped away through the cracks in the earth. We huddled together for warmth around a table and sang our little hearts out. And you will never know what it felt like. Because you were too busy watching the football. Well, I hope that worked out for you. I hope that worked out just dandy. Because while you were sitting on your sofa screaming like a startled chimp at a box that will never scream back, we were all in the Canon’s Gait with our music.

I wasn’t even going to tell you the details, because frankly you don’t deserve them, but then my dark shell cracked and a tiny glint of light came through. So I’ll give you just the tiniest insight into what you’ve missed.

When all the wires have been pulled out and the hum of the amps have died down, a guitar sounds very different. The echoes ring around the corners of the room and feel like they’re tumbling around in the dust. It is, however, voices that benefit the most. Silence between words carries weight and intent and paralysis sets in as your body is pinned to your seat by the words. Nothing gets lost between monitors and back-line, no signals get altered by slides and twists, every note is a note and a nothing more. Songs can breathe easier in the open air. No cables twist around their throats. I’m sure Davie-o is about ready to send out his attack dogs any moment now. He’s held a piece of our clothing in front of their noses and they have picked up our scent.

People talked to one another. This! This! This is what I got into music for. After the end of the song, people would ask about the lyrics, they would gently probe and find out the inspirations and ideas that went into the work. Last Thursday did not feel like an open mic night. Last Thursday felt like a roomful of friends with guitars. Last Thursday was a genuine light in a dark world. And you weren’t there. Egos seem to have been left at the door, there was no strict three song limit, people just played as many as they fancied. Know what? Nobody overdid it. Nobody outstayed their welcome. Whoever was up would play a few then graciously pass on the next person.

And the songs, ah the songs Jim, they’d melt your face. I was actually making a point of not mentioning anyone that played*, but I feel that honourable mention should at least be made to our featured act for the evening, Pip Robinson. This was the first time I’d seen her play, but then I haven’t actually been at OOTB for a while because I am a fool and a hypocrite. I have to say though, I think her music particularly suited the odd setting for the night, it seemed to swell and condense, the (notable) dynamics of the songs being boosted by the acoustic set-up and the enraptured audience. Her lyrics carefully avoided the open mic trap of drifting past opaque and into seemingly indecipherable. However, she managed to retain a very elegant grasp on her subject matter and her songs were as emotionally accessible as they were beautifully considered.

And you will get nothing more from me.

*Actually, on this note I would like to apologise to anyone who was desperately wanting to be reviewed, because its not going to happen. I want to make sure that the others learn their lesson for the next time. The only people that are going to know how good you were will be the people in that room on that night, and that is the way that I want it to stay. We will all carry these secret memories around our necks and keep them with us until the very day we die. They will be ours and ours alone. And plus this way it leaves less room for my petty sniping.

Review: Calum Haddow

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