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Out of the Bedroom 678 review – Thursday 18th October 2018

Running order: Majk Stokes (host), Norman Lamont, The Approximations, Rosie Smith, Fiona J Thom, James Igoe, feature act: Callaghan and Farrell.

Majk Stokes – ‘Too Much Caffeine’: Majk was growing more hyper through the song, mirroring the cumulative effect of drinking said coffee through the day. Amusing stuff, with the smile on Majk’s face getting more intense and by the end it was akin to Hannibal Lecter! ‘Beetroot To Me’: a veggie love song, which we all love, yes? Written when planting beetroot, Majk has created more puns on the theme than you or I could imagine. ‘One More Cup of Coffee, Then We’ll Save The World’: a post-Brexit (Majk apologised for using the term) song to somehow salvage positivity from the disturbing world of politics.

Norman Lamont – Great to see an OOTB legend gracing the stage for the first time in a long time. ‘Don’t Ask Me’: “a love song of sorts” – an intricate song about tension within a relationship which is definitely a musical niche that Norman owns. ‘She Wants Out’ is a belated answer song to The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ with the romance now over. A jolly song which had the audience singing along! The last song was described as “like Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ played backwards” which is a better description than I could imagine. Haunting, baroque, Norman may have played this at the first ever OOTB.  

The Approximations – Only formed an hour before the show and had never played together before! With that description you’d expect chaos, but it was anything but. All songs were instrumental with an oud / acoustic guitar combination. The sound was a Western/Eastern blend of 12-bar blues and Arabian scales taking us on a musical journey from the dramatic to the mellow. Some very impressive fingering on the oud – an rare instrument to see at OOTB. A few musos in the audience were jealous! I hope The Approximations come back soon… imagine the music they could make with some practice?

Rosie Smith – One of the best local musicians to emerge in 2018. ‘Jump Leads’: melancholy tale of a lost love with the beautiful line “I love the way you follow your own star”. That could be a description of Rosie. ‘Just Tell The Moon’: about having a crush on someone which was not returned. Angelic vocals and a wondrous melody. A modern Scottish folk classic. ‘How Do I Live?’: the first song Rosie wrote. Sad song for your debut effort, but then many great songwriters started writing sad songs. Like a ‘50s pop ballad – sweet.

Fiona J Thom – Another OOTB legend who plays with her Lost Head Band but hadn’t played here solo in some time. ‘You Are Found’: folk as in John Martyn and some quite extraordinary vocal gymnastics. Twisted lyrics – great stuff. ‘Burning Up’: a staple of the full band stripped bare for the evening. Fiona had the audience singing along to this. Manic, powerful, wild vocals from one of the best and most underrated musicians on the Edinburgh live music circuit.

James Igoe (review from Majk Stokes): “With time left at the end of the second half, our very own James Igoe rose to the challenge duetting with Fiona on an energetic ‘Sheryl’ and then following with his ‘Judas in the heart of you’, a powerful song about heartbreak and betrayal.”

Feature act Callaghan and Farrell – ‘Bar and Grill’ / This Tortuous’ / ‘Jolie’ / ‘Corners’ / ‘Our Own Platform’ / ‘Sun’s Shining’ / ‘Poor Boy’ / ‘Danny and Jeannie’ / ‘Heels’ / ‘Lily’ / ‘Reluctant Fairy’ / ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong’. I don’t think there has been a better collection of songs played by a feature act at OOTB in 2018 than this set from Callaghan and Farrell. Gerry Callaghan’s lyrics were vignettes of people – mainly Scottish people – that I could vividly imagine and identify with going about their everyday lives and loves and, at times, struggling with the day to day stuff. Overall, great harmonies with Fingers Farrell finding his voice after being the silent guitarist partner in many musical relationships over the years. ‘Jolie’ was a ‘50s dreamboat song with a gorgeous ache. ‘Corners’ painted the portrait of the older man as the mentor to the young man, maybe not a relationship that is written about in song enough? ‘Our Own Platform’ was about travelling by train to keep a long-distance relationship going based on Gerry’s own life. Gentle, subtle, honest. ‘Poor Boy’ featured some great guitar playing from both actors with the soft blues hand of Gerry and a shimmering second guitar from Fingers. ‘Danny and Jeannie’ was Gerry’s own ‘Fairytale of New York’ with Jeannie being the wild, drunken woman and the pleading Danny trying to bring control to the chaos. Fingers’ bouzouki playing was top drawer. ‘Heels’ was the next part of the story as Jeannie starts to sober up later that evening and there is ultimately a happy resolution. The way Gerry sang “Danny” gave me a tingle down my spine. ‘The Reluctant Fairy’ was a new song; a children’s story – upbeat and fun. At times reminiscent of peak Django Reinhardt. Open slot performers Fiona and Norman joined in for the finale. The audience waved along in unison with this number in the fashion of a late ‘50s rock ‘n roll ballad. I don’t know if there will be a Callaghan and Farrell album one day but if there is I will have hours of pleasure listening to it. Wonderful stuff.

Review: James Igoe

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