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OOTB 347 – 16 June 2009

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It was a quiet night at the Tron compared with the exceptional throngs we have had in recent weeks, but all the best people were there. In fact Liam Gallagher popped in: I didn’t have the gall to ask him if he knew any Oasis covers, but if you are reading this, then there is a good chance you missed it. That’s your fault. Man, you should have been there.

Sean Donnelly

It’s the first time I’ve seen Sean and I was very much impressed. His sang an unaccompanied number followed by two with guitar. Despite singing in a pronounced Scottish accent, the style was very much the faux English folk song and reminds me of all those 1970s folk revival bands. The material all sounded like it was about love and meadows and generally good-for-the-soul stuff. Actually we get very little folk music at OOTB so it’s a welcome change. The standard is set very high for the rest of the performers.

Broken Tooth

Haddow waxes lyrically about Sean’s accent and BT is cornered. He insists that the blues cannot be sung in a Scottish accent – he won’t do it, and instead surprises the lot of us with his most outrageous stunt to date:

Tonight the tooth-father riffs his way magnificently through a blistering set egged on by the eager crowd who are wowed by this lithe sinuous figure enrobed modestly in a thoroughly blues –appropriate posing pouch and anointed in what can only be described as a petroleum-based substance.

You had to be there.

Iain Roberts

I’ve not heard Iain before, but I’m guessing that the first song is usually played with a band and somewhat heavier guitars. It’s a slightly dark indie with more delicate verses and heavier riffing choruses. His second is called Lent. Unfortunately I can’t hear the words and the meaning is lost on me – sounded nice though. His last again has multiple changes of time and tempo  – something I’m more accustomed to hearing in thrash metal than folk. This is a risky move – if it’s done confidently and accurately with a really tight band, it can be really effective, If not if can be slack or it can just sound like you can’t decide how the song goes. I’m hoping he has a good drummer. Fingers crossed.

Bunmi

‘You can drown your melancholy with a bottle of beer or a Bob Dylan track’. This song had its debut last week when Bunmi had just written the lyrics and improvised a melody for us – then (as you would expect) it wandered a little aimlessly albeit with a lot of promise. Tonight it sounds more like a melody – it has clearly been worked on and is much better developed. Without any backing it doesn’t quite feel like the finished product, but I for one could happily listen to his voice for hours. If you’ve got soul, you’ve should check out this performer.

Hannah O’Reilly

There’s not a lot I can say about this popular OOTB perennial. Hannah’s songs are often sad – and achingly beautiful with it. But tonight catches her in a different mood. She’s in lurve and the songs (off her new album Stiletto) reflect that change in her. Ms O’Reilly is renowned as a prolific songwriter and Stiletto is only one of several albums she has planned for release this year. The benefit of writing a lot of songs in a compressed timespace is that they hang together as a body of work in a way that an 18-month slog can never achieve. Hannah insists she has a cold and won’t be able to sing – but tonight she actually sounds the best I’ve heard her.

If there was any criticism – and I don’t want to be too harsh, there’s beginning to be a pattern in the piano-based songs of open fifths in the left hands and repeated figured in the right and they are all very similar – I’m think the vocals and lyrics are sufficiently varied to keep interest. I’m just hoping the songs come across as more as a album of work rather than being too samey. I haven’t heard the album so I’ll reserve judgement on that one.

Songs included ‘Two Hands’, ‘Foolish’, ‘Storyville’, ‘Galloway slap’, ‘Bones’, ‘What’s left of me?’, ‘Conversations with break’, ‘Round’, and the cheeky ‘Dimes’ finished the set.

Calum Carlyle

The room has become noisy – yes, Liam Gallagher did wander in and this has caused a little flurry of noise which is frankly making it hard for the performers, Calum has to attempt to play over the worst of it.

His first is ‘Living Proof’ which seems to get half the room singing along – it’s probably my favourite of his at the moment. He insists that it sounds better with the band – but in my mind he performs better tonight.

Walking through shallows (shadows?) is an older song and as with some of CCs songs the guitar has more than a hint of mandolin-playing style about it. One Hit Wonder is tight and cool – it may be an early song, but the playing is skilful. Calum may not have enjoyed playing over the rabble, but a bit of aggression did wonders for the performance.

Sam Barber

No Exit : Sam says he has been recording this song all day so it should be fine – and indeed it is – I’d certainly have accepted his live performance as a take – it is punchy and rhythmic.

The choice of Heracles: Wikipedia informs me it is a painting by Carracci where Heracles is depicted with two women flanking him, who represent the opposite destinies which the life could reserve him: on the left the Virtue is calling him to the hardest path leading to glory through hardship, while the second, the Pleasure, the easier path, is enticing him to the vice. Admittedly the choice seems to be between whether you prefer your women to wear fine clothes or just underwear. One should note however that Heracles is the only one with no clothes – so make of that what you will.

I’m not sure if Sam is facing the same dichotomy – most of us would simply love the choice.

The song: I could take it or leave it.

Sophia : Sam is back on fire for this last one – its just strumming, but he’s making the guitar sound much more expensive than it is.

Sam Hird

1st song is a little like a quiet Muse or Radiohead number – it has the most involved and interesting harmony of the evening so far.

His 2nd is in an open tuning and in a totally different style. Its not stairway to heaven, but if I say it builds as it goes from a gentle start up to  raunchy riffing, you’ll have an idea of what’s happening here. It’s the pace, the poise, and the performance of the song which make it work so well.

Tokyo is his last – which is in a different style again: more Simon and Garfunkel territory here. It’s a varied and well balanced set. I’m a fan.

Darren Thornberry

Darren has trimmed his beard and tonight looks more like Yusuf than I’ve ever seen him. Actually the sweetness and gentleness with which he sings make it not such a bad comparison.

He sings ‘This Thing I Do’ which is cute in the extreme, but always makes me feel like I’ve intruded on something that should be sung to Rebecca alone.

Whereas the first is a romantic song about the start of a relationship, his second, a new song, is more of a confessional about a mature relationship.

He ends with Hovering – at which point I’m running for my bus – my apologies to anyone who sung at the end of the night.

Compere: Calum Haddow

Sound: Calum Carlyle, David O’Hara

Review: Daniel Davis

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