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OOTB 308 – 3 July 2008

Out Of The Bedroom 308 (3rd July 2008)

After the round-the-campfire quietness in the Canons’ Gait basement last week (I was there!) it was back to the familiar combination of amplification, soundman, compere and audience.

Line up: The Weather Underground, Kate McDonald, Ross Neilson, Nyk Stoddart, Calum Haddow, Calum Carlyle, Broken Tooth, Paul Hughes, Ray Kenny, Rob Sproul-Cran, Lisa Paton.

The Weather Underground, actually just one man and not a band, popped up first.  Looking like a young Kris Kristofferson, his second song (sorry, TWU – missed the first song) was about kissing 16-year-old girls.  There were some nice guitar chops in there, with his quick fingers and frantic strumming being a feature.  ‘Just Like the Rain’ was a pleasing love song with a blissful chord sequence and he poured out his heart on this one.  A good set – TWU is one to watch out for.

Kate McDonald made her debut the last time I was reviewing and she has clearly improved in that short time.  ‘Hate’ was about being an immigrant, hating where she was.  Kate sung this with her lovely, warm, smoky voice, though she rushed the song a bit through nervousness.  ‘Handsome man’ was about someone she met at an open mic night and I wondered if any of the males in the audience thought it was about them.  Stu Clark accompanied on cajon; more of him later.  ‘The Republic Affliction’ was about the troubles in Northern Ireland, which is a brave topic for a song.  Kate added a marching beat in the middle eight (lyric: ‘we hear the drums of war’) to add a touch of drama.

OOTB regular Ross Neilson started with ‘Running Faster’.  Tidy guitar playing, with some nifty picking leading to strumming (getting faster, you see).  ‘Free’ featured Ross’s hoary vocals giving full vent to the theme of bitterness and pain.  The way he sang the line ‘gotta free your mind’ reminded me of Britpop, specifically Cast in their mid-90s heyday.  Ross’s rockin’ finale was more grungy and featured an interesting descending vocal sequence.

Introduced by Jim as the uncomparable (sic) Nyk Stoddart, this unique performer played three songs new to my ears.  ‘Lamplight’, available on Nyk’s MySpace page, was subtle, quiet and mellow – not normally three adjectives you’d include on a Nyk review.  This had an epic feel with a touch of early 70s folk/pop.  ‘Even Now’ confounded expectations even more as it was close to being a love song.  I loved the discordant first chord, Nyk.  The topical ‘Gimp Boy’ focussed on a recent news story about a woman who married the Berlin Wall.  This was a lighthearted tale with a bit of simulated heavy breathing thrown in to end an invigorating set from the Mutant Lodge man.

Calum Haddow 18 October 2005

Calum Haddow 18 October 2005

_No break tonight, so straight into the maelstrom of tonight’s featured act, the mighty Calum Haddow.  Big Jim introduced Calum as ‘utterly mad but strangely beguiling’ which sums Mr. Haddow up pretty well actually. ‘Slow It Down’, featured mouth-ed brass section and rhythm section played on his guitar.  The striped Adam Ant face paint was… interesting… the phrase ‘ridicule is nothing to be scared of’ sprung to mind.  Calum’s only song this year ‘Bug’ was a 100% committed performance with the screamed line ‘I will not stand for this filth’ and a primal, animalistic middle eight thrown in.  Talking of animals, the mellow and thoughtful ‘Death To The Animals’ was dedicated to ‘anyone who enjoys melodrama’ but not necessarily vegetarians.  ‘Tetsuo’ featured classical guitar and veered towards the prog (dangerously?) and was invigorating, quirky and very dark.  ‘A Simple Plan’ featured some seriously good riffing and continued the dark, twisted lyricism.  Calum then threw me completely off guard by playing a quiet, heart-on-sleeve number featuring the line ‘all I want is for you to stop crying’.  The finale was Calum’s greatest hit – the Acoustic Idol runner up ‘First Aid’ and Calum got some of the crowd singing along to the refrain ‘no one gets left on my watch / not anymore’. Quite a rollercoaster of a set from the unique Mr. Haddow – it’s well worth looking up Calum’s MySpace page for the songs and to hear the unusual lyrics.

What?  Another Calum?  Yes, Calum Carlyle this time.  Calum started with his entertaining first song ‘I Am Living Proof’ which was written after a recent experience at The Listening Room.  ‘I am the living proof you can be a hippie and still look good’ was the laugh-inducing refrain sung by Calum in his soaring high baritone.  ‘Shirat HaYam’ (translation: ‘Song of the Sea’) was sung in Hebrew, which was impressive.  ‘The Sound Of Falling In Love At First Sight’ was a mellow, mainly instrumental, John Martyn-esque number which featured some POL-like guitar slapping. Thought-provoking entertainment from Calum.

The newly-bearded Broken Tooth warned the audience that he wouldn’t be ‘talking about or introducing his songs as Jim Igoe will put them in the review’.   Mr. Tooth couldn’t help himself, though – silly chap (heh, heh).  BT started with a hollerin’, rootsy 12-bar which brought us back to basics after the complexity of some of this evening’s songs.  ‘Hearts and Spades’ was an old song recently rediscovered by BT and it was played with more than a hint of soul.  A Led Zep-esque new song, ‘Title Song’, was given the heavy guitar treatment with Stu on shaker.  Watch out for Broken Tooth this Sunday at the Blue Blazer (Ed’s note: too late for this review).

Paul Hughes, of Hughes & McQuade, began with ‘I’m Standing Tall’ which showcased Paul’s strong high-end vocal.  I thought this was a professional performance but Paul apologised at the end for screwing up.  Was ‘Time Ain’t On Your Side’ an answer to The Rolling Stones ’60s classic ‘Time Is On My Side’?  I’m not sure but Paul did say this pleasant, mellow number was one of his favourites.  ‘Walk On’ was an emotional love song which ended a fine set from Paul.

Irishman Ray Kenny started with ‘I’m Not Alone’, which was true as his friends in the audience were very supportive.  The song was well-structured with a nice riff and I detected an American influence in his vocal style.  Away from the music, I thought Ray’s haircut reminded me of Paul Weller’s current barnet.  ‘Soul Searcher’ featured Cajon Stu and Lisa Paton on shaker and the overall effect was rather funky.  Ray’s finale ‘Wall Of Sound’ was about the experience of taking part in a music competition recently and this was my favourite of Ray’s this evening.

Although I’ve know Rob Sproul-Cran for a while, I think this was the first time I’d seen him play a three-song set.  With face liberally painted, ‘She Steals Away’ made me realise what I’ve been missing.  This was an amazing vocal performance, experimental and high-pitched, which fitted neatly with some top guitar-playing and Cajon Stu’s beats.  Rob’s next song was wild – apparently with 9/4 and 4/4 rhythms – soulful and very special indeed.  It reminded me of Plant/Page Unled-ed and also Jeff Buckley, both circa 1994.  Rob’s finale was ‘The Father’, a spoken word piece, quiet and mellow.  I’ll definitely be checking out Rob’s gig list in future.

In an evening dominated by the male of the species, the balance was redressed slightly with one of the very best females on the scene.  A Lisa Paton performance is always special and tonight was no different.  Lisa’s new braided locks and war paint gave her a visual intensity on stage and her first song ‘Tunnel Vision’ was also powerful with Cajon Stu underpinning the strummed mandolin.  The haunting ‘Two Stories’ was spellbinding and seemed totally natural and unforced.  The fantastic ‘Here Come The Vampires’ featured some excellent backing vocals from Stu and Lisa’s vocal performance on this song was immaculate.  A perfect way to end the evening.

Compere: Jim Whyte Sound: Daniel Davis Raffle: Bill Philip Review: James Igoe

P.S. Most of the MySpace links for these artists can be found at the Out
Of The Bedroom MySpace page – www.myspace.com/outofthebedroom.

Now, we have a small note from Jim Igoe: “In a moment of complete humour
bypass and some perversion of political correctness I made a comment in
the OOTB 308 review accusingCalum Carlyle of casual homophobia. Calum is
not homophobic and I made the comment to make some righteous point about
being careful what you say on stage, which seemed obvious and appropriate
when typing the review bleary-eyed at 1.15 in the morning. In the cold
light of day it’s obvious my spurious point should have been dumped
quietly in the recycle bin. Many apologies to Calum who was completely
innocent of all charges.”

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