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Out of the Bedroom 663 review – Thursday 22nd February 2018

The Leith weather was mild outside for the fourth OOTB of the year but inside the music was hotter than a pepper sprout with love, lust and travel being some of the main themes of the evening. A good and appreciative audience built up as the night went on. Though we could have slotted in more musicians, there was certainly enough quality to make for a very enjoyable evening.

Running order: James Igoe, Scott Candlish, Ewan Stein, Michael, Natalie Docherty-Gibson feature act: Jeanice Lee.

Host for the evening James Igoe opened proceedings with the up-tempo ‘Older Women’. A song about the virtues of relationships with older women contrasted with the often more tempestuous and temporary relationships with younger women. Not a country and western song as such but tinged with elements of that genre.

First, and only, debut of the evening came from Scott Candlish. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Scott has been living in Edinburgh since May 2017 and is a well-known performer at local music nights. Appreciating the “intimate and attentive audience”, Scott kicked off with ‘Two Feet’ which was about his experiences travelling. A very comfortable performer with subtle hands as he picked and strummed his way through this excellent original song. ‘Flee’ was another traveling song, thanking those who have been kind enough to give him shelter. A very pleasant piece of well-written music and a very professional performance. ‘Make You Feel Better’ was one of the first songs he wrote after arriving in Edinburgh. About adjusting to a new city, I can hear this radio-friendly song being a favourite on the more discerning radio stations. A very promising debut from Scott.

Ewan Stein made his first OOTB performance of the year and opened with ‘Fallen Rocks’ about a place on the coast of the Isle of Arran where he grew up. Inspired by classic indie rock band American Music Club, the song was about fragility and the powerful emotions felt in a special place. Next up was another watery-inspired song written at Yellow Mountain by the Red Sea. About living in the moment; sample lyric: “it makes me sad to think of yesterday / or tomorrow if I have to go away”. Some nice riffing on the guitar, Ewan certainly knows his way round a fretboard. The final song had no title and he couldn’t remember what it was about! Short and sweet with sample lyric “give me a second / I’ll tell you the method of my madness”. Classic indie rock Americana from Ewan.

OOTB favourite Michael began with ‘A Friend’ which was a country-ish tale of the importance of friendship when walking along the, often lonely, road of life which gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. ‘How Can I Write A Love Song?’ was about not being able to write a love song as his loves never last. I hope the lyric was fictional. Melancholy and familiar, although this was a Michael original, it was like a classic song you’ve always loved. ‘Late Call’ was not about Scottish Television’s old five minute programme of religious thought which came on before the channel shut down with the national anthem. It was actually about Michael’s grandson who was waiting for a call from a girl who he had hoped would be the love of his life. The good news is she did call, but was late – hence the title. Possibly the first song played at OOTB about a grownup grandson’s romantic life. Great stuff from Michael.

After the break, Natalie Docherty-Gibson opened with ‘White Dress’, a beautiful song she sung for her husband on their wedding night. A truly romantic ballad which I could imagine being performed with great gusto at Celtic Connections. Sample lyric: “wearing the white dress / you take me dancing tonight”. ‘Victim of your Heart’ was “written with a gorgeous Spanish man” who she unfortunately split up with. Clearly theirs was a passionate romance, and in a way they were both victims of each other’s hearts. Erotic overtones with more than a few shades of Grey… ‘The Colour of your Heart’ was a powerful song about a black-hearted, selfish man who was a friend’s ex-partner. Natalie’s resonant, melancholic tones shone brightly through this.

Egged on by Jeanice Lee, James Igoe played two more songs to complete his triplet. ‘Braveheart Beggar’ was dedicated to the homeless man who died overnight in East London Street in freezing conditions – James had passed the scene on his way to work that morning. ‘Cowboy Song 2’ continued the theme of travel, after Scott and Ewan, and was about his feelings before embarking on life in London. A well-received performance from the host.

Feature act Jeanice Lee gave an inspirational introduction to her set this evening, with the strong message that you’re never too late to learn and to change. Jeanice only learned how to play guitar and write songs within the last year and, given that information, it is amazing how consummately professional she and the band were this evening. Marco on guitar and Leen on bass joined Jeanice for a special acoustic set. ‘Beyond Never’ was a protest song about injustices that happen all round the world every day. The band had a full, tight sound which was very passionate and intense. Sample lyric: “nothing is what it seems… they won’t hear you scream.” ‘Exit Sign’ was a well-crafted breakup song written while travelling. Jeanice included symbolic imagery in the lyric, incorporating things that you might encounter at an airport, and the arrangement was sweet. ‘Dark Cellar’ was also inspired by the breakup, with the image of a downward spiral vividly painted in the lyric and sung with cathartic, dramatic vocal intonations. Jeanice cleverly used an effects box which produced a backing harmony, complementing her melody line. The next number ‘Freefall’ was on the theme of the environment. Jeanice asked “Have we crossed the rubicon?” and the truth is, environmentally, we probably have. While this was more upbeat, there was also room for doubt and fear. ‘Skulls and Bones’ was written after a seven-note songwriting challenge from Californian rockers System of a Down. Inspired by a visit to the Church of Bones in Italy, sample lyric: “we are skulls and bones in the end”, this was driving and impassioned with its morbid narrative. ‘Divine Red Roses’ had a strong Flamenco feel and was an uplifting foot-stomper. All that was missing was a dancer with a red rose in her teeth! A dramatic and bewitching song of heartache and probably my favourite of Jeanice’s set this evening. ‘On the Line’ featured the line “as my tears running down my face onto the side of my guitar” and the guitar harmonics from Marco, with Leen on bass, underpinned the beautifully controlled vocal wonderfully well. ‘A Date To Die For’ was written by Marco and this was the first time the song was played in public. The theme was something you believe in strongly enough that you would die for it. Very nice chord progressions creating a perfect tension and a fittingly strong way to close an excellent feature act set from Jeanice.

Reviewer: James Igoe

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