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Out of the Bedroom 649 review – Thursday 15 June 2017

Maybe it was being part of Leith Late? Maybe it was the classy venue? Maybe it was Peach as host or Lisa Rigby as feature act? Or maybe the word about Out of the Bedroom is getting out in the ether once more? Whatever the reason, this evening was our busiest OOTB night for many a month.

Our host Small Feet Little Toes kicked off proceedings with ‘Sweeter’ written when she was in a bad relationship and dreaming of a better one. You could feel the pain and powerful emotions in every sinew of Peach’s being, bending the words leaving them often barely-discernible. Reminiscent of prime Amy Winehouse.

Continuing the theme, Roisin Russell sang two songs about of ex-boyfriends. ‘Far Apart’ was about a positive experience, and Roisin’s voice soared beautifully on this one. Her guitar picking was also excellent. ‘So Tired’ was more acerbic – nobody sings “you mother-f**king swine” with quite as much venom as Roisin. Yin-yang lyrics from Roisin and truly powerful.

Darran Edmond was the first debutant of the evening with a love poem to an ex (first four songs with the same theme – am I sensing a pattern?). ‘The Ballad of Me and You’ was a very pleasing folk-tinged song which could sit easily on a playlist for Iain Anderson’s Radio Scotland show. The more upbeat, Fence Collective-like, song ‘Get Your Drinks In At The Bar’ managed to rhyme “eucharist” and “pissed” which may be a first.

Second-timer Baron Salmon was even better than last time, opening with ‘Breakfast With Him’ another “ex” love song! This song has got him into bother with lines such as “Have you slept in his bed? Have you given him head?” I don’t think he means the horse’s head of the ‘Godfather’ film which would also be controversial. ‘Gloria’ cemented his growing reputation as one of the best young songwriters on the Edinburgh circuit. This was a very confident, physical performance with Baron moving his body like a dervish to express the songs in an intense experience.

Mike Egan was our second debutant and somewhat more experienced, having written played guitar for million-selling legends such as Engelbert Humperdinck and Charles Aznavour which Mike was too modest to mention. Mike’s opener was about changing times and the world becoming more expensive, e.g. “taking out a mortgage to buy a pint”. Mike’s finale was a beautiful song about being a daddy and was played immaculately.

One of our favourite regulars Michael brought along his old friend Geoff who loved the evening but sadly was not well enough to take the stage. Michael’s country-tinged ballads were played with the honesty and grace that we love him for. ‘Never Going To Love Again’ was an upbeat tune with a melancholy lyric enough to bring the proverbial tear to a glass eye. Michael’s second song was reminiscent of the golden era of The Inkspots with the line “could we ever get back the magic we had?” A perfect way to take us to the break.

The Old Town Rambler was our next debutant of the evening and seemed to be influenced strongly by early Bob Dylan. First song, with harmonica in harness and acoustic guitar in hand, was ‘Born To Wander’ and was beautiful in its simplicity and directness. ‘If I Had My Time Again’ was about a past that may not have existed. “If I had a second chance, I would spend my life with you” – very romantic. Check out the Rambler’s recordings on Soundcloud.

Sonic wizard Jack Blimey took us into the untamed wilderness of the theatre of the mind with ‘Tuesday’s Dancer’. The story of an exotic dancer he met in Copenhagen in 1928, this was moody and brooding and contrasted with previous acts due to the stark arrangement and dense lyrics. The epic ‘Demolition Street’ was about a place you never really leave with a dreamlike set of characters. I have a similar recurring dream of mine and I find this song both uncomfortable and strangely alluring. Perhaps the most lyrically thought-provoking song of the evening.

Seraphim, our fourth debutant, was a tall, bearded Northern Irishman with a deeply bluesy, earthy sound. Americana played with guts and gusto and, along with his copious tattoos, the message was this man is not to be messed with (though in truth he’s a gentle giant). His second song ‘Don’t Cry’ was beautifully picked with the hands of a true craftsman. Watch out for a future album recorded in the wilds of Pathhead.

Our fifth and final debutant of the evening was Amy Reader, a self-proclaimed Weegie possessed of a very powerful singing voice. ‘Unstable’, written about being trapped inside your head, was a beautifully constructed number with incredible dynamics taking us soaring and diving befitting the mood of the song. ‘Transient’ was a very touching, moving song written for her grandad. The theme was appreciating where she comes from and being grateful for it. A very strong debut.

An OOTB favourite Nyk Stoddart made a welcome return after a couple of months away this evening. Often associated with comic songs, Nyk focussed on the more poignant pieces from his repertoire, being influenced by our troubled times. Nyk’s first song was about being skint with “no money for the meter / it’s running down again” and we empathised. Nyk’s second song ‘Alternative’ was surreal, impassioned and poignant but did include the line “I’m a spaceman” showing a nod to one of Nyk’s recurring themes of outer space.

Feature act was the mighty Lisa Rigby and her opener was sung a capella which was both brave and utterly spellbinding. ‘Here Come The Vampires’ was played acoustically, due to temporary sound issues, and was simple awesome with both guitar and vocal close to perfection. ‘Rain and State’ was about “shit coming around again” in politics and was both deeply personal and poignant and also mellow with a few jazzy “da-das” thrown in. ‘Oak Bones’ featured mandolin and Lisa sang about an octave above her usual range, giving the song a sparse, slightly eerie sound. ‘Mary Magdalene’ was dramatic, almost Jacques Brel-like, in style featuring heavy symbolism and Lisa’s voice was absolutely flawless. ‘Ten Pieces’, from Lisa’s days in her band Townhouse, had a pleasing steady, pulsing rhythm as Lisa glided up and down the fret complementing her floaty vocal. ‘Greenbough’ from her most recent album ‘Transition’ sounded immense and had the positive message “love will come again”. Lisa gave her finale, the upbeat ‘Happy Hour’, plenty of gusto and the audience gave some harmonies back, making this a rip-roaring community-singing end to a brilliant set from Lisa. It was a privilege to have Lisa on stage at OOTB, as ever.

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