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OOTB 343 – 19 May 2009

OOTB REVIEW 19/05/09

The Weather Underground.

The Weather Underground starts out with a bold guitar riff. His bouncy
chords slide nicely into some distinctive harmonics that his voice whispers through. He punches out signature sequences throughout the song, which are particularly effective. Nice bit of edge but not too in your face.

His second song “rain” was definitely appropriate for the evening, as we all
walked in “soaking wet through.” It has a nice mellow sound, and moves along nicely like the rain, as well as compassing a good use of repetition in
“rain, rain, rain” he seems to word paint himself away as his slot fades
out.

Calum and Jimmy Carlyle

It’s nice to finally hear the echoing voice of Jimmy Carlyle, as I had only
heard it on CD until now. Their first song opens up with the unusual sound
of the mandolin, it really shines through this unplugged evening, making its mark immediately, but yet it maintains a lovely flowing sound with Calum’s well played guitar part.

This happy, nice sounding story ironically turns out to be a song full of
angsty, Scottish Pride and it doesn’t take any crap. No-one can argue while it’s being proudly sung out.

Their second song is also a political song, this time it’s much more laid
back but yet still interesting and full of charisma. Calum and Jimmy open
this song with a very powerful yet cheering accapella verse that really
enhances the sound of their harmonies. The vocal melodies weave in and out of each other as the bassy guitar part drives the song along, leaving space for the mandolin to fill in the spaces.

There were some great gaps in the vocals, which really allowed the two
instruments to show us what they could do and definitely makes the most of the overall sound.

Calum and jimmy’s lively songs have a brilliant folky undertone and they
really brought the best out of their distinctive sound tonight. I thoroughly
enjoyed listening.

Neil

Neil’s voice immediately changes the sound, a great contrast to Calum and
Jimmy’s very lively performance. Neil’s gentle voice is quieter but yet still heard. He has a few subtle leaps in the vocal melodies which keep the
songs interesting, and despite the mellow sound in the opening the guitar
has drive and builds up into some firm strumming that keeps the song bold
and yet still maintaining the lovely gentle sound in his voice.

“I dance like a loon at 3 in the morning” “the red eyed monster in your
living room”

His quirky and interesting lyrics work well, keeping the attention on him. I
had the urge to sing harmonies throughout this song, especially during a few of the repeated melodies. I particularly like how Neil inverts the vocal melody as he ends his song; it is a really nice touch.

Neil also used some complex guitar parts though out the rest of his slot
which give a nice contrast to his gentle stuff and really enable the voice
to stand out, he keeps the beat well when he kicks in the strumming on the
guitar, then before ending the song he takes a different route up the fret
board and fades out nicely.

Broken Tooth

“If hell don’t want me, I’m going to crawl back Onto your side”

If anyone had fallen asleep, Jim definitely woke him or her up.

He opens with a gritty and involved guitar riff. Jim has a bit of a country
feel about him when he sings, reminds me a little bit of Jack White.

He has a really nice instrumental section where he really shows us what he can do on the guitar before layering his distinctive vocals on top.

“Caught up in a loop hole before you man the fuck up and move on”

It’s really nice to hear a guy sing about his weakness rather than his
strengths, because I find, it’s sometimes quite easy to forget that men have emotions.

I particularly like Jim’s passion and how he speeds up his guitar in the
guitar solo bits, it really changes the dynamic of the song for a while
before he returns to his original style. This makes the song more interesting especially as he maintains the stomping rhythms through out the
changes. The length of his songs seem to be the only thing that lets them down but he does however, maintain the use of interesting lyrics right the way to the end, which I think is particularly effective.

“There is a demon in the moonshine” and “I believe my time has come”

A great performance from Jim Thomson.

Ryan

Ryan gets more confident every time I see him. He is full of potential and
he’s lyrically brilliant, if not a little strange at times, but in a good
way of course.

It’s such a relief to hear people sing about stuff other than love… and
even when we heard his “love” song, it definitely was different to every
other love song I have ever heard.

Ryan starts off with an up beat guitar riff, his edgy voice cuts through the
guitar. He uses a nice mixture of bold singing and more beautiful melodic
vocals throughout his song, creating a nice contrast.

“I lost my faith, might, god and love and law.”

He uses a few nice pauses to great effect throughout which direct his
passionate words through well, delivered guitar playing.

“I don’t know how to tell you this” “I’ll say it once”

The word “once” creates a really nice dramatic stop.

His funeral song was short, sweet, and lyrically impressive and well, those
of you who missed it, your loss, you should have been there.

Ryan definitely makes an impact with his individual style and unusual, yet
interesting lyrics. I really enjoyed his slot again and I’m looking forward
to seeing how he progresses over the next few months.

Hopefully he will still be, “Running around with a butterfly net.”

Jamie

Jamie is another performer with drive. He has a very sophisticated voice.

“I don’t turn every corner in this maze of emotion”

The song changes only subtly throughout but yet he still manages to keep the attention on him. It was very well performed indeed; I wish I could convey such a presence with such little change in my music.

The pauses break up the guitar part well and make it more interesting.

“You walked away from me”

“Only wishes come true in fairytales”

This fairy tale song, he played because the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest sang a song about Fairytales… I have to say, that Jamie’s fairytale song is much better than the Norwegian, Alexander Rybak’s song.

Jamie’s second song was a very moving song about his daughter.

“In my life I try to be the best I can be, I provide for you and keep you
safe.”

His conversation style lyrics you would imagine would be spoken but he sung them, keeping them profound and full of emotion.

“I thank you” the lift in pitch in the voice towards the end of the song was
nicely done and worked well.

Jamie’s last song was even more moving. It was about the late Billie Mackenzie who committed suicide after the death of his mother.

“I hope you found what you were looking for.”

“So many people cried, the day his music died”

Jamie uses a simple but consistent guitar riff throughout this song, the
emotions conveyed and the tone hides the simplicity before he ends on a the
question “why?”

A very powerful and enjoyable slot from Jamie.

Angus

Angus breaks into his first song with the sound of a keyboard. This is the
first electric element we have experienced so far tonight. He does really well singing over the keyboard without amplification in the voice.

His conversational style singing really stands out and makes the song
interesting from the very beginning. He has a great sound and these
individual and well thought out lyrics stream out over some hammered on yet lovely sounding keyboard sequences.

“Bus to appear” “downtown San Francisco checking on your money”

“There is really only one solution do I have to spell it out?”

I really appreciate it, when songwriters ask questions in their music; it creates a lovely ambiguous feel. Despite this, and the content of his lyrics, his songs are still happy sounding and are easy to listen to.

The chorus in his first song is only subtley different to the previous part
of the song but it is very effective. His booming vocals keep everyone’s
attention as this San Francisco story is sung out.

“you’re never gonna change that law”.

I’d love to hear some of Angus’s music on a grand piano. His second song has
happy innocent vocals that work well with the keyboard and convey a little
bit of musical animation.

“My head’s full of strange ideas”

An inverted ascending scale in the higher register gives the song a grand
finish.

Bouncy, involved and with a consistant rhythm and good dynamic contrasts, Angus firmly ends a very enjoyable set.

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk starts with something mellow! Yes you heard me right, something mellow.

I like it, it’s nice to hear his softer side.

The first song has a finger picked opening.

“footsteps echo in my dreams”

“I feel the colour of evening, It’s nice to feel the wind”

Some lovely lyrics from Nyk here.

I love the gentle guitar playing that you would never expect from him.

Humming in the middle of some softly strummed guitar parts is another great
contrast to his normal sound.

His new song opens with muted chords, he sings out some words straight off an envelope, which is much more interesting than having lyrics written on a piece of paper.

The strumming in this song is a little harder than the previous mellow
sounding one, but yet it’s still not quite the crazy, normal sounding Nyk
song. This does give him the perfect opportunity to play his ascending and
descending gentle guitar solo’s which flow along nicely.

“Mr Sleaze” a requested song by myself of course.

Nyk’s bouncy chords open one of my favourite songs, partly because it was
written for me but also because it’s and awesome song!

“Mr Sleaze is an outragous and bad, really, really bad man”

“Mr Sleaze gets under the skin”

“Hey hey hey” is the returning theme that everyone likes to sing along to.

A great performance from Nyk.

John

Funky, intricate guitar part starts off John’s set.

This song has a happy feel and a folky storyline.

The catchy opening guitar riff is repeated throughout the song between the verses to great effect. This man is very good at the guitar indeed.

John has a nice voice, it’s full of character and conviction.

“We love to walk the cleavand way”

“I swear I could not love you more as these shadows lengthen”

A Happy unrequieted love song is next with an interesting guitar part and a
nice charisma.

“I used to be creative”

“I’m losing my grasp and I’m all burnt out”

John jumps about the register vocally aswell as with the guitar creating a
very folky, yet soulful sound.

Another happy sounding song ends his set, which is great at the end of the
night, I really love Johns style, if only there were more happy sounding
songwriters about.

“You’ve not got the decency to get off the floor”

“Pull up that blind and see the light”

“Forget these lies when you wash them all away”

These well written lyrics, full of imagery, lend themselves well to the
songs.

The rhythm is constantly challenged, breaking tonights boundaries with
interesting, effective and involved guitar parts, every single note falls
perfectly in time, even in his great spikey rhythms.

After a couple of taps on the guitar his song fades out, ending his set and leaving a mark on the Edinburgh Acoustic scene.

Nicky (written by Johnny Pugh)

Nicky is completely unfazed by the lack of vocal amplification, She blows
the audience away with this rendition of my favourite song of hers, “In
Hiding”.

This song really benefits from the accompaniment of the two guitars (since she is joined by Calum Carlyle)

The song conveys a sense of freshness and change.

“it’s been a long time, but my heart still seems to move”

“Catch my eye on you” is her second song. It begins with tense, broody
chords;

It’s a testament to Nicky’s vocal that she can over power the terocious
strumming of two guitars. Nice overlapping vocals from Calum. Songs of frustrated desire I guess, the angst of the lyrics are delivered
convincingly by Nicky’s vocals.

Nicky’s last song is “Between the floorboards”

The song starts with Nicky being poetic and reflective before exploding into a rock refrain.

“Because everything feels like… I can’t describe”

Excellent use of dynamics throughout the song, some intelligently plucked
chords from Calum add a touch of depth in the accompaniment.

A polished performance once again!

Review written by Nicky Carder with help from Johnny Pugh.

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