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Out of the Bedroom 668 review – Thursday 3rd May 2018

Running order: James Igoe, Chris Fogerty, Jim Bryce, Startled Bee, Adam Naylor, Majk Stokes, The Trailer Park Saints, Lach, Andy Hiles, feature act: Dog On A Swing.

Host for the evening James Igoe started the evening off with ‘Inge’s Eyes’. There was a comment about the depth and maturity of his voice tonight; this was entirely down to him having just recovered from a heavy cold! Still, he was happy with his performance [Ed’s note: James, it’s virtually impossible to review your own performance!].

It was a slow start to the evening in terms of audience but it certainly had picked up by the time Chris Fogerty hit the stage. Thankfully, Missouri-born Chris played a full set after his squashee slot back in January, starting with a new song ‘Cog In A Wheel’. This was a laid back, pleasant summery sound which had the feel of someone playing to you in the bedroom (sample lyric: “I no longer feel / like a cog in a wheel”). Another new offering ‘You’re Lovely’ had a really nice chord sequence, played very well, which reminded me of an unplugged Smashing Pumpkins. Finally ‘I Hope It Rains’, written in St. Louis rather than Scotland, featured some nice guitar work and vocals and a recording can be found on his Bandcamp page.

The inimitable Jim Bryce started with a familiar song from his mighty canon ‘Waiting For The Man’. Nothing to do with Lou Reed, this featured some crazily fast guitar picking in irregular time and could be construed as having a Christian / religious theme depending on your belief. ‘Kellogg’s’ was a “cover of a Bob Dylan song from 1963” about an “advert” Bob did for Kellogg’s cornflakes. A most humourous song, but I think we can assume that Jim was pulling our leg about Bob! ‘Oh Yas’, a stroke of quirky Noel Coward-like genius about the Brits abroad, was probably the most unlikely song ever played at OOTB to get someone up dancing! An inspirational set from Jim who was also our sound engineer this evening.

It was a pleasure to see Startled Bee back for the first time since January with three of his best songs. ‘In The Future’ was based on a conversation about what the future might hold and, for musicians of this parish, unusually positive on that front, for example focussing on exploring space rather than envisaging Blade Runner desolation. A strong melody and terrific vocal range. The romantic ‘Baby Bee’ showcased some neat guitar picking, a few puns and an interesting call-and-response technique where Matthew was both the caller and responder! ‘Jetty’, written with his songwriting partner Phil, was an evocative tale of a port romance. Startled Bee makes a strong case for joint songwriting, allowing him to play on his melodic strengths – maybe more local musicians could take this approach?

Adam Naylor made his first OOTB performance of 2018 with ‘Ocean Drive’ which was nothing to do with The Lighthouse Family song of the same name. A delightful song about a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life, we needed this water song to cool us down in the quickly heating-up environs of the back room at Woodland Creatures.

Majk Stokes cemented his comeback from his Adelaide Fringe stint with the title of his show ‘One More Cup of Coffee Then We’ll Save The World’. Time for reflection and contemplation for future generations, this was a strong environmental message which incorporated Majk’s ferocious humour. Sample couplet: “silent superheroes / hanging out at Cafe Nero”!

After the break came Lithuanian post-rockers The Trailer Park Saints. First song – entitled ‘No Choice’ (?) – was a sweet epic previously delivered under Jonas’s Skip, the Android alter ego. Bandmate and flatmate Paulius played some very laid back distorted fuzz guitar which added a new, stellar dimension to the song. ‘Why Keep It All?’ featured some breathy, Radiohead-esque vocals with Paulius playing a slide guitar producing a curious psychedelic country and western sound. ‘The Sea’ was slow and melancholy with Paulius’s chopping guitar sounding remarkably like waves on a beach. Perhaps the best of the two-guitar arrangements and bodes well for their feature act slot at the next OOTB, number 669.

We welcomed back Lach, a legend of open mic nights in Edinburgh and New York, to OOTB and it was an intelligent, political and fun slot. Lach started with ‘Waltz In Blue’ which was “a murder song” and surely the nicest murder song you’ll ever hear! A cryptic lyric with a very pleasing vocal featuring a memorable yodel in the chorus. ‘Three Words’ was based on three words that were guaranteed to cheer us up… “former President Trump”! “Former Prime Minister May” was also included for good measure. ‘Positions of Power’ was insightful and had a genuine edge. The lyric was oh so true: “there will never be an empty chair / in the positions of power”. You can subscribe to Lach’s fan club, including his entire back catalogue, via Bandcamp – https://lach.bandcamp.com/fan-club.

Bristolian Andy Hiles played at OOTB for the first time in over a year, enjoying Woodland Creatures’ beer and cheese and showcasing “three miserable songs”. These were his own words and we couldn’t agree that Andy’s songs were miserable, certainly compared with most musicians! ‘Discovery Road’ featured some excellent electric guitar playing in a bluesy style. ‘What A Fine Friend’ was a little jazzy and reminded me of mid-80s The The which was a refreshing sensation. Passionate singing with the unique character of Andy’s West Country brogue. Sample lyric: “carve your name on every tree / and never think about me”. ‘Sweet Familiar’ was funky with terrific guitar playing and a soulful vocal. Pure quality from Andy.

Finally, our feature act Dog On A Swing closed the evening. Straight in with ‘She Kissed Me’, this was a glorious, upbeat performance of one of Ed’s signature songs. DOAS made the bona fide point that, as a general rule, non-musician listeners prefer upbeat songs wile musicians like the miserable stuff! Nifty dynamics featured on the short and sweet ‘Sin Song’ which was written in 2/4 (marching time). ‘The Way You Are’ was written on a songwriting retreat in Dunkeld and had more than a hint of vengeance in the lyric. Sample: “you pissed inside my dreams / you shat on my heart / you puked on my plans”. Possibly the nicest vengeful song you’ll ever hear! ‘The Astronaut And The Diplomat’ was a slow, melancholic beauty from his ‘One Love’ EP. ‘Macho’ is one of my DOAS favourites, which I believe is as-yet-unrecorded, about not being macho and being brutally open and honest about his feelings of friendship towards a male friend he grew up with. In the same lyrical ballpark as Robert Burns’s song ‘Willie Stewart’ and comfortable in that company. ‘Expectations’ was a positive tale of being able to “carry this weight” and meeting other people’s expectations, or possibly his own. A powerful vocal. ‘Clearing’ (aka ‘The Ah-Ah-Ah Song’) had a good singalong chorus (the ah-ah-ahs) and the guitar reminded me of The Cars during their New Wave period. Last up was ‘In The Morning’, one of Ed’s most well-known songs which was inspired after a heavy night at a songwriters session walking home wanting to write his version of The Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’. A bit of a piss take, he admitted. A classic performance which had the audience singing along to the refrain “I’ve walked miles to see you”. Ed’s parents were in the audience and they must have been proud as this was a top drawer performance from the artist known as Dog On A Swing.

James Igoe

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