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OOTB 322 – 13 Nov 2008

OOTB 322 – 13 Nov 2008
Performing: Rosie Bell, Nicky Carder, Ross Neilson, Duncan, Pip Robinson,
Lorraine McCauley, Calum Haddow, Nyk Stoddart, Charlie Scuro, Steven
Lundy, Johnny Pugh, Freeloadin Frank, Hannah O’Reilly.

Rosie Bell
“Sally picks up her notes and puts them in a pattern” What a fine way to
begin. Rosie talks of the ‘American Golden Age’ in a manner half
reminiscent of between Tom Lehrer. ‘Hallelujah’ is a biting attack on
those who murder that song – “Leonard Cohen would tear his hair and scream
and moan.” She finishes with ‘Always Never’, which is, I think, a metaphor
for a long journey. Much like the mic stand, as it moves inexorably
downwards during Rosie’s set.

Nicky Carder
She improves every time I see her. “Swear I met you, swear I knew you
before”, she sings. Time and tempo changes are becoming more fluid with
more performances, and her voice goes from a whisper to full-on roar. Her
second song is a fairytale rooted in real life – “there was a boy who
lived in a bouncy castle.” Her last highlights a vocal control for pitch
intervals. This girl needs a Featured Act slot sometime soon, methinks.

Ross Neilson
“Have you ever felt the darkness?” he croaks. I don’t think he means the
band. I hope not. Ross sings with a hoarse voice that certainly adds
passion and character, but it’s clear it’s not his own. He might be losing
some authenticity unnecessarily as a result. His second sounds like
pounding Smashing Pumpkins “Running faster all of the time”. He could
afford to shave a verse off for impact. His voice remains angry to the
last.

Duncan
‘Crown of London’ is a soothing folk piece. “I was singing softly, proud
as a young man can be.” And so he was. He follows this up with the first
contender for dirtiest song of the night – ‘The Four Whores of Baltimore’
Crude doesn’t quite do it justice. He finishes with ‘Black Douglas’, a
historical epic of a song – “Horses charge down, horses fell.” And “I’m on
the road to Jerusalem”. The crusades retold as they were – rampaging
zealot hordes. In an acoustic world where ‘Folk’ gets bandied around more
than it should, this set truly was, and all the better for it.

Pip Robinson
She shows us what a covers night is all about – making a song your own. I
don’t think anyone expected Nirvana’s “…Teen Spirit”, but Pip’s version is
enchanting. Drawing out all the dark emotion of the song, by the end I can
scarce remember the original.

Lorraine McCauley
“A great big hole in the middle of my life shaped just like a heart” So
she sings on a Karrine Polwart number. I’m afraid I didn’t know the
original, but it compliments Lorraine’s voice well. ‘Haunt Me’ is her’s,
though, and on lines like “Her angels shrugged in fear”, succeeds in being
bewitching and spooky. The guitar tick-tocks. Her last sounds like a
music-box twinkling, but the normally soft vocals get to breathe here.
‘Light in the darkest corners’

Calum Haddow
A tender offering. “We do what we can”, he sings. This is supposedly a
cover, called ‘Still Alive’, but to be honest it sounds like someone must
have tried to write a song in the style of Calum Haddow, so fitting is it
to his delivery. The perfect mix of dark humour, heartfelt lyrics and all
sorts of timbre is entirely Haddow territory.

Nyk Stoddart
‘Burn like a Calypso’ Not only is the title, but also the least surreal
lyric from one of Nyk’s latest efforts. I’d love to tell you what it’s
about… I have no idea. ‘Fake jazz’ is more obvious – a coruscating
piss-take of self-indulgent playing at its worst. I can’t help but feel he
needs to be even more OTT to carry off the joke, though. He ends with a
bizarre version of ‘Knockin on Heaven’s Door’. Bizarre in its straight
delivery. I think everyone was waiting for him to mash it up, but as a
standard telling, it certainly had the melancholy.

Charlie Scuro
New to me and, I think, to the night. Charlie mixes biting lyrics with
blistering guitar play. He uses his own nylon string, and to good effect.
All to often, these are made to sound like second-best steel string, but
not here. There’s a running debate on who had the dirtiest lyrics that
night, but given that one of Charlie’s more publishable ones is “Girl, I
couldn’t be happier than when you’re on your hands and knees,” you suspect
he’s in with a shout. He finishes with ‘Gonna build the biggest bomb,’
which is brave and satirical, and way closer to the bone than most would
dare. You can guess what its about.

Steven Lundy
Given that Steven has travelled all the way from California just to play
at OOTB, I hope he felt welcome. ‘Mama rock me’ is a strummy country
number that deals with the epic journey of crossing the US. He follows it
with one which, as its covers night, I have to mention sounds identical to
Rocky Racoon. He’s usually with a band, though, so I have to think that
would help to disguise such similarities. His last is enjoyable and upbeat
– “She and he were meant to be.” Hope we see more of this guy.

Johnny Pugh
Again making a song entirely his own, Johnny takes ‘Build me up,
Buttercup’, and tells it like the wrist-slitting goth anthem that it truly
is. It raises some giggling from the audience to start, but as the song
progresses you do get what he means – its pretty depressing stuff. So, I
think he walks the humour/melancholy tightrope ably. His next and final
offering, however, had me straight-out weeping. Tears of laughter, that
is. Never ask Johnny Pugh to sing Enrique Englesias’ ‘Hero’ and not expect
to wet yourself a little bit. Quality.

Freeloadin Frank
Treats us to ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’, and he garners easily the finest
audience participation of the night. Who’d have thought? Enjoyable, as
ever, from the freeloader.

Hannah O’Reilly
She closes with ‘Yesterday’, but her own, not the cover. Nice jazz chords
match a finger-clicking rhythm. We end the night on the soon-to-be classic
that is ‘Killed a Man’. I once tried to harmonise from the audience on
this one and came off like a ten-year old. This tune has more balls than
The Hoff, and Hannah lets rip. A fine end.

Sound – Big Jim
Review – Rob S-C
Compere – Daniel Davis

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