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Out of the Bedroom 679 review – Thursday 1st November 2018

Running order: Jim Bryce, Ian Sclater, Marcos Garcia, Rosie Smith, Bill Philip, The Foul, Scott Renton, Cloudland Blue Quartet, Neil Fox, Beth Clarke, Ian McKechnie, Majk Stokes, James Igoe, feature act: Tina Louise Avery.

Out of the Bedroom’s 17th birthday to the very day, which was also a Thursday, when the open mic night began at The Waverley Bar. Jim Bryce was host and Malcolm McLean was on sound desk.

Jim Bryce: ‘Waiting For The Man’ – haunting, mantra-like with some fiendish guitar picking and a controlled yet emotive vocal. ‘Pictures’ – one of Jim’s two Christmas songs. A beauty that should be played in supermarkets above other inferior seasonal offerings. Lyric: “whatever this Christmas is/ I hope that it’s you”.

Ian Sclater: ‘Black Silk’ – an imaginary tale of a fetish for many men of a certain age and a pleasant pop tune. Loved Ian’s miniature guitar. ‘This Soldier’s Pen’ – about a First World War soldier’s pen buried in a Belgian battlefield and found in working order many decades later. The song imagined what words that pen might have written. Powerful.

Marcos Garcia (on his debut): ‘The World From A Picture Of The World’ won best title of the evening. Highly skilled guitar playing and a very physical, emotional performance. ‘Birds’ from his first album being released in three weeks. Nicely arranged and some sweet singing with a few “woo-hoos” thrown in. Always good for engaging the OOTB audience!

Rosie Smith: ‘Lonesome Blues’ – voice “raspy” due to illness? We didn’t notice as it sounded amazing. A sea song about watching the beauty of the world but feeling broken and vulnerable at the same time. ‘Widow’ – another powerful, heart-on-sleeve number – a soaring chorus and relentless pulse. Lyric: “I’m a widow in my soul… the boy I loved he died”.

Bill Philip: OOTB’s only poet. Started with a classic poem performed on, and also written about, the night OOTB moved from The Waverley Bar to The Canons’ Gait. The legendary ‘Intermission’ was given an outing and received a very warm response from the audience.

The Foul (it’s Tommy Mackay – shh): ‘40 Odd Years of The Fall’ written about his self-published book of the same name and a tribute song worthy of the band. The Foul man was in cracking voice. ‘Not Appreciated’ – about The Fall, or was it The Foul(?), not being appreciated for their prolific, high-quality output over many years. A performance of gusto!

Scott Renton: ‘Lager Ladies’ – about the time when Tennents Lager cans had scantily-clad women; a practice which only ended in 1991. Great guitar picking and a song which could win a folk song competition, I’m sure. ‘Arnold Spark’ – a Scott classic about a used car salesman who sells his soul, first played in the early days of OOTB. A unique songwriter.

After the break, Cloudland Blue Quartet: ‘I Believe I’ve Been Deceived’ – poptastic stuff from the prolific CBQ with the trademark strong chorus and deep melancholia. ‘Everything Will Be Alright’ – ironic title for a song with the theme of ennui and pain and just getting through each day. ‘If I Fall (I Won’t Get Up Again)’ – squeezed in a third, last played at OOTB 10th birthday from CBQ’s last album. A sweet tune sung with gravitas.

Neil Fox: ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ – dynamic picking to a dense, poetic lyric which appeared to be about war and impending doom. Lyric: “bodies face down in the water/ floating in the sea”. ‘Cheesy Breakup Song’ (description, not the title) – a most engaging light vibrato in his voice. Plenty of character. ‘Escape To Hell’ – a frantically-strummed piece which seemed to be a brooding cowboy song. Great to have one of Inverkeithing’s finest sons back.

Beth Clarke: ‘Edinburgh Weather’ – reprising this genuinely happy song (the first this evening) from her debut OOTB performance. The theme was “no matter what the elements, some things – such as friendship – are more important.” ‘All These Things’ – very well-written about a being a human in all its complexity and “a rallying cry… in a desolate situation”. I loved this genuinely moving song from one of my new favourite musicians.

Ian McKechnie: ‘Score’ – instrumentalist Ian exhibited some stunning guitar picking which was deeply evocative. Inspired by his visits to his gran’s house where there were many natural trees. Nice contrast for the evening. ‘Chopping Bamboo’ – an African feel on this which was much lighter in contrast. I could hear Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing along in my head.

Majk Stokes – ‘Morning, Noon and Night’ – a love song, an obsession with a female. A potion from the doctor to cure the madness? It didn’t work and Majk still has that burning longing of a new romance. ‘We’ve Got To Talk About Nitrogen’ – short, clever and highly amusing. ‘My Birthday Song’ – dedicated to OOTB, this was a very literal birthday song and most amusing. Majk on top form.

Jim Bryce invited me, James Igoe, to the stage and I asked Andy Thomson to choose a number to decide which song I would sing. It was ‘Inga’s Eyes’ and the audience were exceptionally kind, listening and also singing and playing a tambourine or two. A nice feeling.

Feature act Tina Louise Avery: ‘Birth’ – written about the birth of her 15-year-old son. An urgent finger-picking number which soared and dived wonderfully. ‘Soldier Survivor’ – a potent, subtle reference to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War. About both those who go to war as children and came back as men, usually broken, and those who never return. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ – joined by Vincent Gauchot on lead guitar, inspired by visiting the Museum of Scotland as a student. Excellent singing, super song, great singing – class. ‘Weave The Sea’ – Tina in full folk mode! Folky, wistful, redolent of the sea. ‘O Susanna’ – the guitar started off picked then moved into a pulsing staccato, mimicking “running down off the hill”. I would like to hear this recorded in the hands of a good local music producer.  After a cover of Don McLean’s ‘The Grave’ about a soldier in the trenches, came ‘River Man’ – with Vincent again on backing and Tina on plucked ukulele. A beautiful song about the Anthony Gormley statues in various rivers in Edinburgh. ‘Open Sea’ – about migrants fleeing to Europe from oppressive regimes. Tina noted that the Syrian War has lasted ten years. A song of hope along with melancholy images of broken families and painting a picture of the very human suffering of refugees. ‘Flight’ – about the history of flight, and also reaching high, starting with the Wright Brothers right up to the moon landings. Some very nice mouth trumpet from Tina – an underrated gift! Brilliant stuff once more from Tina Louise Avery and Vincent.

Review: James Igoe

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