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Out of the Bedroom 680 review – Thursday 15th November 2018

Running order: Startled Bee, Ailsa and the Seahorses, Chris Glen, Gareth Herron, Sam (Inkfields), Michele Villa, James Igoe, feature act: Metecandriu.

Startled Bee was host this evening and Chris Glen was on sound desk.

Startled Bee: ‘Dilly Dear’ – new number from the MPH songwriting team. Catchy, poppy and an impressive falsetto from the ‘Bee. ‘The Little Things’ – an older song from his MPH songwriting partnership, and a beautiful thing it is. Focusing on what Stephen Covey would call the ‘Circle of Influence’, this is not about the grandiose gestures. Sample lyric: “don’t hunch your shoulders / when it rains”. ‘I Will Take You’ – a bit raunchier than his other material, and contained one of my favourite lines of the year: “maybe put down your phone?”

Ailsa and the Seahorses: ‘Tragic Magic’ – dedicated to her pal JS. Ailsa used her delightfully smoky voice to great effect on this laid back number, more suited to warmer climes. Sweet, open chords on the guitar, soaring up and down this was swoony. ‘Seventeen’ – simple, pleasant, effective guitar playing underpinned the vocal somewhat reminiscent of Hope Sandoval. Final song was hypnotic, breathy, sexy and floated like a cloud over a volcano. The overall effect was like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold November evening.

Chris Glen: ‘Cities in the Dark’ – top quality guitar playing and subtle vocals, evocative of peak John Martyn with a hint of the Beta Band. Nice dynamics, and very well arranged. Second song was new, described by Chris as a “shit sandwich” in between two more developed songs. Mellow gold with soft lyrics, such as “choose love instead”. ‘Hiding From The Beast’ – started out as a poem, this was excellent. Again, the lyrics were blurry and pleasantly complemented the atmosphere Chris’s music created. Host Startled Bee noted that the middle song was more “brie, cranberry and rocket in a granary roll” than a “shit sandwich”!

Gareth Herron: ‘Windblown’ – storyteller extraordinaire, Gareth is probably the best new lyricist to emerge at OOTB this year. Sung in a pleasing Northern Irish accent, this song merged a gentle verse with a manic chorus. ‘Hard Shell’ – autobiographical, as all Gareth’s songs are. Beat poetry about having, and needing, a thick skin but I reckon he’s a softie! ‘Istanbul’ – written on a mobile phone on a bus about a special girl he met on his travels last month. Really nice guitar riff and tremendous emotion in the performance. A raw, powerful love song which I’m glad he shared.

Sam (Inkfields.com): ‘River Floating By’ – mainly instrumental on his striking blue electric guitar. Slightly reggae-ish feel and a bluesy vocal over a minimal lyric. Loop pedal used very effectively, with Sam being a seasoned busker. ‘Made In China’ – Sam is from London, schooled in Edinburgh, and this was his first open mic in the city. He became shoeless, so that his foot hit the pedal properly! Some excellent finger-picking with nice dynamics. For his final song, Sam made the lyrics up on the spot! This was half a jam and half a song, and had a spacey, out-there feel. Great stuff, very entertaining.

Michele Villa: ‘Goodnight Baby Goodnight’ – An Italian living in Edinburgh, Michele wrote this in “broken English” which was light years ahead of my non-existent Italian language skills. Very good song, especially as it had not been rehearsed, and Michele kindly treated us. A really nice voice and Dylanesque, scratchy guitar – a clear, innate sense of rhythm, both on guitar and in his vocal. His second song was an impressive Dylan cover showing his musical roots.

James Igoe: I played ‘Splitting The Old Firm’ and ‘Inga’s Eyes’ which seemed to go down well.

Feature act Metecandriu: ‘Walk In The Mountains’ – about growing up in Aragon, near the Pyrenees. Metecandriu was not used to singing solo but eased in gently with this very pleasant song. Second number – a poem written by a friend which Fiona put to music. The subject was about meeting a friend at 11:11 on 11/11/11 and nothing special happening. Nice picking and a complex, engaging lyric. ‘Snow’ – written in Ullapool, like the last song, on the theme of waking up to a snow-covered sunny landscape after a night of miserable weather. A lovely ascending melody in the verse. ‘What You Want To Be’ – about taking her time to find her path in life. A song that was full of life – lovely tune, clear vocal, guitar beautifully plucked. ‘To Please’ – poured her heart and soul into this. Genius lyric: “ you don’t want to go to Heaven / Heaven would be full of too many nice people”. The next song had a particularly naturalistic, uncontrived feel. Confidently, beautifully sung and dynamic, yet simple, guitar playing. ‘Your Eyes’ – fiddle player on this music video to this was in the crowd but didn’t join Fiona on stage. Wonderful, and very professionally-played with much change in tempo. ‘Lover’s Lullaby’ – first of two lullabies in a row, written ten years apart and with the same chords. Enchanting, floating vocal. ‘There’s A Light’ – lullaby #2. Clearly, Metecandriu is someone who plays for the love of music. Simplicity, naturalism, and vocal that goes in all different directions. As a visual artist, she plays music with a visual dimension which is refreshing and invigorating. ‘A New Friend’ – ‘alien folk’ – a new category? A different style – staccato yet folky – and short. ‘Love Can’t Be In Vain’ – her “heartbroken one” which was heart-on-sleeve autobiography and, of course, a little sad. ‘Ode To A Budgie’ – also sad, this was about a lonely budgie who lived in a cage all its life and died at the age of 15. A metaphor? No more caged birds for Fiona. Lyric: “we bought you and forgot you / put you in a corner to sing”. Her sister cried when she heard the song and I’m sure there were a few suppressed tears, possibly along with some real ones, in the audience this evening. A powerful ode to the transient pet. Encore was a Gaelic song, sung by Metecandriu – a Spanish/Scottish woman. A consistently varied, high quality set of songs that were the match of any feature act set at OOTB this year.

Review: James Igoe

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