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Out of the Bedroom 681 review – Thursday 29th November 2018

Running order: Tau Boo, Kendra France, Ben Murray, Jodi Findlay, Bill Philip, Nyk Stoddart, Tina Louise Avery, Sir Tom Watton, Kathy Muir, Freeloadin’ Frank, Conor Michael Riordan, feature act: Caro Bridges.

Rosie Smith was host this evening and Tau Boo was on sound desk.

Tau Boo: Like a dark angel on a winter’s night, the rippling bass vocal of Tau Boo vibrated through the new PA in the back room at Woodland Creatures. First song was like Cocteau Twins at 33rpm, the almost inaudible lyrics and cathedral-esque effects were a potent combination. Second song featured a long, atmospheric introduction – resonant, spacey, almost psychedelic reminiscent of vintage early ’90s shoegaze bands.

Kendra France: Making her debut, Kendra – from the Lake District (via Chile) – showcased her beautiful, soulful voice. Song 1, possible title ‘Smooth and Slow’?, was a very fine song slowly sung. ‘Gum’ was another slow, mellow number with a soulful, controlled, warm vocal that you don’t hear too often. Come back soon Kendra! In the meantime catch Kendra on YouTube – https://bit.ly/2Qmiluk.

Ben Murray: ‘Iona’ – showcased Ben’s great picking and was a love song for the island (maybe a human, too)? Very catchy, upbeat folk-pop. ‘The Ancient World’ – about a woman who could apparently see selkies on Iona and, although Ben never saw them he believed her! Another fast number with some great guitar work and well-crafted lyrics.

Jodi Findlay: ‘Backbone’ – debutant Jodi brought a tiny ukulele (her other uke is in Canada) and treated us with a very pleasant vocal, choppy playing style and dense, poetic lyrics. ‘Here I’ll Stay’ – a slower number, using the house guitar, which used her wide vocal range, soaring, emotional and pained, in the chorus. Entrancing – this one drew me right in. A very fine debut from Jodi!

Bill Philip: Three poems from the OOTB bard. Themes were: a first date for the world; a friend who was in the USA during 9/11; and the classic ‘Intermission’ taking us to the first break.

Nyk Stoddart: ‘Alba’ – dedicated to his late friend Gail, Nyk played this quirky, almost Beatles-y number with great passion. ‘Scarecrow Man’ – dedicated to his late father as this was his favourite of Nyk’s. Nyk’s psychedelic blues, reminiscent of vintage Captain Beefheart, was terrific and sung from the heart.

Tina Louise Avery: ‘Birth’, written about her son in a songwriters’ retreat last summer in Lismore, imbued the warmth and balm of our hot summer. ‘O Susanna’ was inspired by the rundown buildings in Lismore and was an intoxicating mix of mellow verse and uptempo chorus. A class act.

Sir Tom Watton: Started with a Christmas song, as he will miss this year’s OOTB Christmas special. A sombre, heartfelt and honest view of the Christmas experience as an annual marker for our lives, this was dedicated to the late Donald Tiso. ‘Born Wild’ – about walking on Tenby cliff tops and dedicated to his sister. Top guitar playing from Tom and highly entertaining.

Kathy Muir: ‘If I Can Breathe’ – a focused performance; crafted songwriting with flawless guitar playing and singing. Kathy will be releasing a single in three weeks, just in time for Christmas. ‘You Never Knew Me’ – a “spiritual prayer” about being yourself and one with the Earth. A touch of New Country and sung with great passion.

Freeloadin’ Frank: ‘King Kong’ – “squashee” Frank played his first OOTB of 2018 with this epic, timeless love story. Unfortunately kazoo-less so we audience helped him improvise for this fun number.

Conor Michael Riordan: A feature act earlier this year, Conor played the brilliant, highly articulate, political satire ‘We’re All In This Together’ which gets more relevant each passing day. Immense guitar picking and the Scouse accent gave this song enormous potency.

Feature act Caro Bridges and The River: ‘Rose’ – Spanish-flavoured with a folktastic arrangement. Maddy Berg on petite uke / backing vocals, Tom Watton on bass, and Rowland Sillito on sax. It was years since Caro’s last OOTB show – way too long. ‘Something Else’ – about the complexity of muse-muse relationships with other songwriters which is “never healthy” in Caro’s experience! Great harmonies and generally top musicianship all round. ‘The Bell’ – on a church tower on the edge of a spooky cliff on the environmental theme of “ghostal erosion”. Great singing from Caro, one of Edinburgh’s top choir leaders (a few members were here this evening!). ‘What We Talk About’ – very pretty song based on a Raymond Carver story. ‘Vancouver Waltz’ – gorgeous summer vibe, nice sax solo played with subtlety and grace. Tom’s bass underpinned the whole kit and caboodle expertly. ‘Flame’ – Sad number, with plucked uke, which included audience participation. ‘Mountains’ – ironic song about flat Norfolk, where Caro and Maddy grew up. Sax in a traditional folk number. ‘Lochranza’ – about meeting “a very beautiful Bulgarian man’ in the Arran beauty spot and having the wrong footwear for walking in the wet terrain. Sample lyric: “tomorrow isn’t ours / forever isn’t real”. ‘Be Terrible’ – a feeling of melancholy imbued with undiluted quality. Sample lyric: “the day you left / was the day the autumn came”. Encore was ‘You’ll Be There And So Will I’ sung a cappella with just Caro and Maddy unamplified. A truly touching song about friendship and a perfect way to end a great evening of song.

Review: James Igoe

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