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OOTB 351 – 14 July 2009

It’s a surprisingly populous evening tonight, and a varied one at that. Let’s find out what happened…

Nyk – Nyk starts with a newer song, “Misunderstandings”, which is slightly mystical in a George Harrison kind of way. “Tie my hands underground” he intones. I do think Nyk has become typecast to some extent and so when he plays non-comedy numbers, he’s got a steep hill to climb. In my opinion he’s reaching the summit with this song. Many of the audience haven’t heard Nyk before, i think, and they receive him very well in his non-comedy guise.

His second, “You Are Not Here” is in a similar vein. Looks like Mr Stoddart is embarking on a change of musical direction, into something like prog-folk. He finishes with “Kitten In A Bong” which has almost become 2009’s “Mutant/Killer Zombies”. The audience is strangely sceptical however. I suspect many of them are new to the more traditionally delivered Stoddart experience.

Michael – soft voiced folk songs. His subject matter ranges from joblessness to religionlessness. He reminds me a little bit of Bruce Springsteen, though a little bit more folky, more like John Renbourn? “I like your shoelaces” he croons as he veers towards country music for his third song.  “Is it irrational to bet on all the horses in the Grand National?” – his lyrics give us something new to ponder…

John Watton – He’s back, for one week only, and he’s playing a blinder. “Gamblin’ Man”, his first, spirals through some very interesting multiscalic riffs. His alternately gravelly and smooth bluesman voice is the perfect complement as well. He cranks up several suspicious looking metal boxes with wires in for his second song, and sings us a mysterious blues-folk number. I don’t know whether his boxes were the cause but there were some technical issues with the guitar during this song. John copes well. This song featured a very effective instrumental section, a long dreamy post-prog solo, which got its own round of applause!

He finishes with a bouncy jazz number full of Coltrane chords and modal runs, very good. He’s made the most of his visit North. One day we hope to get John to visit Edinburgh long enough to do a feature slot for us. Stay tuned.

Calum Carlyle (review written by Nyk Stoddart) – “Atom Bomb Song” – I’ve only heard this one once, written for 50/90, you can hear it at http://5090.fawm.org/songs/634/ – it’s an impressive thing to be able to write so many songs in such a short time – but this one has a lot of potential, and I demand to hear this one again. It may seem, as Calum states, a “long gloomy song”, but it’s highly effective at moving my emotions anyways. Next, “The Sound Of Falling In Love” – I’ve always loved this piece, with lyrics anyone can relate to. “I saw you in the moonlight”. Sweet dreams. Nice one, Calum!

Pocket Fox – After a crazy and entertaining introduction Pockets and Fox begin by firmly wiping their behinds on the ‘no covers’ rule with a smile on their faces, though it was highly unique and entertaining to hear their anatomically correct version of “Sweet Child Of Mine” as performed on two ukeleles. Heaven or Hell? You decide. Pockets takes a second to announce the arrival of the world’s most pierced lady, Elaine Davidson, who has indeed just arrived, and who stays for the rest of the evening (unlike Liam Gallagher a couple of weeks ago!).

I was hoping that Pocket Fox would leave it at one cheeky cover, but no, they go on to do a cover of the Foo Fighters’ “Ah Hoo Yah Hin Yah Oh” on two ukeleles. They then actually do have the nerve to finish their set with a version of “Freebird”. It’s a very good version but somehow it seems to besmirch OOTB’s principles to have someone doing a version of “Freebird”. These guys are very tight, very entertaining and great performers. I still think they should stretch their talents to writing some original material though. After all, Edinburgh has 22 open mic nights, and we’re the only one which actively showcases original material. At least three other open mic nights do run on a Tuesday that allow you to do cover versions. I’d hate to think that someone didn’t get a chance to play their own material at OOTB because someone else was busy playing a cover of Freebird. So, Pocket Fox: very very good, but their material simply doesn’t fit the brief.

Broken Tooth – He’s grimacing at having to follow Pockets. “It’s like playing after Spinal Tap” he quips. At least Toothy can write his own songs. He tunes for a minute, then launches into “Keep My Damper Down” with admirable conviction. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, Jim’s a bluesman, who happens to be from Scotland. If the Water of Leith had a delta, that’s where you’d find him, LedZeppelining away on his starvation box. He quickly launches into his octavetastic epic “Sing At My Funeral” featuring a very interesting Indian influenced instrumental break. He’s in good form tonight, though i still prefer his music in the homey environs of the Blue Blazer.

He finishes with “Muse’s Song”. Not blues, but jazz influenced folk. A nice departure of style though i think some of the audience lose interest a little. Maybe they’re more of a rock crowd. You can catch Toothy easing himself into the shape of a feature slot at OOTB next week on the 21st July.

Jen – “You Missed Me” is her first song. She has a nice resonant voice, and she knows how to smile at the audience (which is very important and lots of people don’t do it at all!). This song’s growing on me, this being the third time i’ve heard it. I’d prefer to hear a more varied arrangement for this song though, ideally other musicians, but if not that, i think the song could be very effective if the guitar accompaniment were more dynamic. I’d love to hear this with bongos and a second guitar (or ukelele maybe?).

Her second, “Harbour Street”, is a little groovier, a little bit more Latin. Again i like her vocals, the lyrics (she has some crackers: “buy a police box, paint it pink and sell candyfloss”… good advice!), the melody, but i do think the song could be broken up more with an instrumental bridge perhaps or some finger picking, to give a more dynamic effect. It’d be nice to hear harmony vocals in this one actually. Her third reminds me a little of Four Non Blondes. Clever songwriting but again i’d love to hear more variation in the accompaniment to really set this off.

Yogi quickly begs a capo and starts a good solid singer-songwriter song full of angst and repressed emotion. Excellent! “There’s no point trying to explain, you will never get inside of my brain”, he plays the incredibly-quiet-verse card and people actually shut up and don’t talk over him. Nice work. He goes ahead to play two more honest hard rockin’ acoustic numbers, “If I am evil then so are you” he growls, that’s the familiar repressed bitterness that we singer-songwriters know and understand so well! It’s been a while since i’ve seen Yogi at OOTB, come back soon.

Calum Haddow surprises us by playing a few songs, to a diehard but rapidly dwindling audience at this late hour. I love Calum’s music. His set is all the more vital for the fact that he is emigrating to Australia in a month’s time. He begins with a very emotionally moving version of “Tetsuo”. Calum Haddow really rocks. He should be performing to audiences of thousands rather than dozens. “Death To The Animals” next. Disturbing but excellent. I could listen to Calum H’s music on a much more regular basis, given the chance. A masterful delivery. With a tear in his eye he finishes with “First Aid”, the perfect choice. Very well done.

Charlie Scuro plays on his nylon string guitar with no mic and no amplification. He’s got the goods. He plays us quite a sophisticated jazzy ditty about Armageddon. His second is a bouncy, and accomplished, anti-war song, or as Charlie says “it’s more of an uncle war song”, called, possibly, “Do You Want To Die Today?” or “The Biggest Bomb”. This was really good, with closing line “It only takes an idiot to flick a switch and all of us are gone”.

His last, the final song of the night, is a very clever and jazzy introduction song. Oddly enough Charlie reminds me of a jazzy, acoustic These Animal Men. This song’s equally proficient as his other two, and even includes a little bit of rapping too. Very bouncy.

Compere – Calum Haddow

Sound – Daniel Davis

Review – Calum Carlyle

It’s a surprisingly populous evening tonight, and a varied one at that. Let’s find out what happened…

Nyk – Nyk starts with a newer song, “Misunderstandings”, which is slightly mystical in a George Harrison kind of way. “Tie my hands underground” he intones. I do think Nyk has become typecast to some extent and so when he plays non-comedy numbers, he’s got a steep hill to climb. In my opinion he’s reaching the summit with this song. Many of the audience haven’t heard Nyk before, i think, and they receive him very well in his non-comedy guise.

His second, “You Are Not Here” is in a similar vein. Looks like Mr Stoddart is embarking on a change of musical direction, into something like prog-folk. He finishes with “Kitten In A Bong” which has almost become 2009’s “Mutant/Killer Zombies”. The audience is strangely sceptical however. I suspect many of them are new to the more traditionally delivered Stoddart experience.

Michael – soft voiced folk songs. His subject matter ranges from joblessness to religionlessness. He reminds me a little bit of Bruce Springsteen, though a little bit more folky, more like John Renbourn? “I like your shoelaces” he croons as he veers towards country music for his third song. “Is it irrational to bet on all the horses in the Grand National?” – his lyrics give us something new to ponder…

John Watton – He’s back, for one week only, and he’s playing a blinder. “Gamblin’ Man”, his first, spirals through some very interesting multiscalic riffs. His alternately gravelly and smooth bluesman voice is the perfect complement as well. He cranks up several suspicious looking metal boxes with wires in for his second song, and sings us a mysterious blues-folk number. I don’t know whether his boxes were the cause but there were some technical issues with the guitar during this song. John copes well. This song featured a very effective instrumental section, a long dreamy post-prog solo, which got its own round of applause!

He finishes with a bouncy jazz number full of Coltrane chords and modal runs, very good. He’s made the most of his visit North. One day we hope to get John to visit Edinburgh long enough to do a feature slot for us. Stay tuned.

Calum Carlyle (review written by Nyk Stoddart) – “Atom Bomb Song” – I’ve only heard this one once, written for 50/90, you can hear it at http://5090.fawm.org/songs/634/ – it’s an impressive thing to be able to write so many songs in such a short time – but this one has a lot of potential, and I demand to hear this one again. It may seem, as Calum states, a “long gloomy song”, but it’s highly effective at moving my emotions anyways. Next, “The Sound Of Falling In Love” – I’ve always loved this piece, with lyrics anyone can relate to. “I saw you in the moonlight”. Sweet dreams. Nice one, Calum!

Pocket Fox – After a crazy and entertaining introduction Pockets and Fox begin by firmly wiping their behinds on the “no covers” rule with a smile on their faces, though it was highly unique and entertaining to hear their anatomically correct version of “Sweet Child Of Mine” as performed on two ukeleles. Heaven or Hell? You decide. Pockets takes a second to announce the arrival of the world’s most pierced lady, Elaine Davidson, who has indeed just arrived, and who stays for the rest of the evening (unlike Liam Gallagher a couple of weeks ago!).

I was hoping that Pocket Fox would leave it at one cheeky cover, but no, they go on to do a cover of the Foo fighters’ “Ah Hoo Yah Hin Yah Oh” on two ukeleles. They then actually do have the nerve to finish their set with a version of “Freebird”. It’s a very good version but somehow it seems to besmirch OOTB’s principles to have someone doing a version of “Freebird”. These guys are very tight, very entertaining and great performers. I still think they should stretch their talents to writing some original material though. After all, Edinburgh has 22 open mic nights, and we’re the only one which actively showcases original material. At least three other open mic nights do run on a Tuesday that allow you to do cover versions. I’d hate to think that someone didn’t get a chance to play their own material at OOTB because someone else was busy playing covers. So, Pocket Fox: very very good, but their material simply doesn’t fit the brief.

Broken Tooth – He’s grimacing at having to follow Pockets. “It’s like playing after Spinal Tap” he quips. At least Toothy doesn’t give us any cover versions! He tunes for a minute, then launches into “Keep My Damper Down” with admirable conviction. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, Jim’s a bluesman, who happens to be from Scotland. If the Water of Leith had a delta, that’s where you’d find him, LedZeppelining away on his starvation box. He quickly launches into his octavetastic epic “Sing At My Funeral” featuring a very interesting Indian influenced instrumental break. He’s in good form tonight, though i still prefer his music in the homey environs of the Blue Blazer.

He finishes with “Muse’s Song”. Not blues, but jazz influenced folk. A nice departure of style though i think some of the audience lose interest a little. Maybe they’re more of a rock crowd. You can catch Toothy easing himself into the shape of a feature slot at OOTB next week on the 21st July.

Jen – “You Missed Me” is her first song. She has a nice resonant voice, and she knows how to smile at the audience (which is very important and lots of people don’t do it at all!). This song’s growing on me, this being the third time i’ve heard it. I’d prefer to hear a more varied arrangement for this song though, ideally other musicians, but if not that, i think the song could be very effective if the guitar accompaniment were more dynamic. I’d love to hear this with bongos and a second guitar (or ukelele maybe?).

Her second, “Harbour Street”, is a little groovier, a little bit more Latin. Again i like her vocals, the lyrics (she has some crackers: “buy a police box, paint it pink and sell candyfloss”… good advice!), the melody, but i do think the song could be broken up more with an instrumental bridge perhaps or some finger picking, to give a more dynamic effect. It’d be nice to hear harmony vocals in this one actually. Her third reminds me a little of Four Non Blondes. Clever songwriting but again i’d love to hear more variation in the accompaniment to really set this off.

Yogi quickly begs a capo and starts a good solid singer-songwriter song full of angst and repressed emotion. Excellent! “There’s no point trying to explain, you will never get inside of my brain”, he plays the incredibly-quiet-verse card and people actually shut up and don’t talk over him. Nice work. He goes ahead to play two more honest hard rockin’ acoustic numbers, “If I am evil then so are you” he growls, that’s the familiar repressed bitterness that we singer-songwriters know and understand so well! It’s been a while since i’ve seen Yogi at OOTB, come back soon.

Calum Haddow surprises us by playing a few songs, to a diehard but rapidly dwindling audience at this late hour. I love Calum’s music. His set is all the more vital for the fact that he is emigrating to Australia in a month’s time. He begins with a very emotionally moving version of “Tetsuo”. Calum Haddow really rocks. He should be performing to audiences of thousands rather than dozens. “Death To The Animals” next. Disturbing but excellent. I could listen to Calum H’s music on a much more regular basis, given the chance. A masterful delivery. With a tear in his eye he finishes with “First Aid”, the perfect choice. Very well done.

Charlie Scuro plays on his nylon string guitar with no mic and no amplification. He’s got the goods. He plays us quite a sophisticated jazzy ditty about Armageddon. His second is a bouncy, and accomplished, anti-war song, or as Charlie says “it’s more of an uncle war song”, called, possibly, “Do You Want To Die Today?” or “The Biggest Bomb”. This was really good, with closing line “It only takes an idiot to flick a switch and all of us are gone”.

His last, the final song of the night, is a very clever and jazzy introduction song. Oddly enough Charlie reminds me of a jazzy, acoustic These Animal Men. This song’s equally proficient as his other two, and even includes a little bit of rapping too. Very bouncy.

Compere – Calum Haddow

Sound – Daniel Davis

Review – Calum Carlyle

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