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OOTB 314 – 18 Sep 2008

OOTB 20080918

Calum Carlisle, Mick & Jeff, Tica Douglas, Broken Tooth, Hughes & McQuade,
Pan Am, Craig Hood, John Fink, Nyk Stoddart

Calum Carlisle
Calum sports his new baby; a lovely 12(oops 11)-string guitar. His set
tonight shows Calum at his most chameleon-like. ‘Piper on Princes St’ is a
nationalist song along the lines of Flower of Scotland. (I would argue
that Scotland IS a nation although sadly it may not currently be a
nation-state. Discuss)
This is followed with no transition by ‘Superglue’ which I rather liked.
It is in Placebo territory for the most part with an unnerving chromatic
section which is more like Nirvana. And if this wasn’t enough of a change
his third is the perennial favourite ‘The Sound of Falling In Love at
First Sight’. This is more a mellifluous indulgence in guitar sonority
than anything else, but on a 12-string all those rich chords are even more
so. Drop-D loveliness.

Mick & Jeff
If you haven’t seen them for a while, Jeff & Mick are just back from Peru
and Portobello respectively. M&J had an average age of 15 in 1953, and if
you imagine what they must have listened to as teenagers it will give you
a fair indication of their style; blues/boogie/skiffle with Everley
Brothers style harmonies. It may not be cutting edge but it has with
plenty of entertainment value, and I for one would be well chuffed to
sound this good at their age, and obviously still enjoying it – and we did
too.

Tica Douglas (debut)
Tica has just arrived from Portland, Maine. I’ll admit it’s going to take
me a few listens as its soo different to anything else around, but a warm
welcome to a very distinctive performer. Yep, so she’s younger than a lot
of us and has therefore been exposed to very different music – its
acoustic and it ain’t R&B, but it is certainly Hip Hop ‘aware’. Imagine a
big saggy kick sample behind everything and you won’t be far wrong. She
has a conversational style with considerable charm and wit. This music was
the topic of much of the evening’s discussion during the breaks.

Broken Tooth
It is another confident and competent performance from BT, but not on a
par with a few weeks ago when I was doing sound and he looked really
pissed off at me (probably something to do with my last review) and put
all that energy and anger into his performance. So I guess my aim with
this review has to be to get him sufficiently riled to put in a better
show next time. Here goes.
The blues is (musically speaking) all cliché. Not a good or a bad thing,
that’s just what it is. It’s what happens within that framework that
counts. Do you have to be black to sing the blues? No, but it probably
helps. The power of the blues is in the performance, and is magical when
the emotions are and upsurge from a deep personal well of oppression. I
just don’t feel this from Jim tonight – sure I bet he does have an
impressive knowledge of this genre, I’ve never agued against that, but
when you use clichés without that level of passion it always feels like a
cover version: competent, but not exciting and not personal. Are you mad
yet?

Oh, by the way, ‘what’s a boy supposed to do’ is the best of the set. It’s
a 1920s/30s pastiche along the lines of Queen’s ‘Good ole-fashioned lover
boy’. It needs a few chord corrections to make the harmony believable, but
it made a refreshing change from the blues.

Hughes & McQuade
I’ve only seen this paring with acoustic guitars before, so it’s a nice
change to add a bass. Anyone who can play fretless has my admiration, and
always seems to attract looks of admiration and hate in equal measures
from the audience who can’t imagine life without frets. Too talented by
half. This is uplifting sing-along music along the lines of Del Amitri.
The problem with performing sing-along music in a pub is that sometimes
drunks start singing along. And that was the case tonight as a rather
pickled local periodically interrupted the proceedings. Hope you weren’t
too put off. His voice has that Travis-like quality of getting better as
it goes up. Lovely songs: ‘Walk on’ had everyone reaching for their
lighters.

Pan Am (Debut)
A warm welcome to Pan Am on their first performance at OOTB. The songs had
an in-yer-face swagger and stomp much like an acoustic Arctic Monkeys. I’d
like to see their performance grow to match their material – they seemed a
little nervous tonight (we’re really not that scary people) – best keep
coming or drink more beer in future. After a few weeks it’ll seem like
child’s play. This is the whole point of OOTB giving new performers a
platform and dragging fresh material out of hiding. So please keep it up.

Craig Hood
It has been a long time since Craig last played here – too bad, its
interesting material you have. Again, playing in public will really help
your nerves and help you to perform. 3 interesting songs: ‘Swing’ had an
ostinato pattern over pedal notes – it was a little cookie or perhaps
psychedelic, ‘Travel House’ had nice classical harmony – this time it was
very like Bach. His last song also had nice harmony, this one a more
fragile song. Great set overall.

John Fink
John apologises for his finger-picking and has a couple of false starts
and I’m wondering if he is too nervous to play, when he reverts to his
strumming songs and plays a blinder. His third song ‘You stand to loose’
is the best of the set, I was wondering if it was a Nickleback cover,
whilst Calum thought it was Incubus – but no it was a Fink original. John
has possibly the best voice of the night; if all his songs are of this
quality I’m sure he’ll be due a main slot soon.

Nyk Stoddart
Well it wouldn’t be a OOTB night without Nyk’s presence – he starts by
instructing us to ‘listen to my new direction’ and playing some random
notes – we all fall for it, be fore he says ‘only joking’ and tears into
some favourites. A good way of identifying the OOTB debutantes in the room
is by observing their reaction to ‘Gimp Boy’ as they try to ascertain
whether Nyk is mad or a genius. Of course, we all look on with nods and
knowing glances.

Compere: Jim Whyte, Review: Daniel Davis, Sound: David O’Hara

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