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Out of the Bedroom 683 review – Thursday 10th January 2019

Running order: James Igoe, Tina Louise Avery, John Porro, Will B, Terry Weston, Neil Matthew Fox, Angus Gibson, Nyk Stoddart, Mike McKenzie, Beth Clarke, Majk Stokes.

James Igoe was host this evening and Malcolm McLean was on sound desk.

James Igoe: ‘Braveheart Beggar’, ‘Splitting the Old Firm’, ‘Cowboy Song 2’.

Tina Louise Avery: ‘Weave The Sea’ – “a watery song” as Tina said. Light, airy, laid-back, evocative, angelic, hopeful. ‘Open Sea’ – a favourite of Tina’s mum, dedicated to the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Urgent and shimmering. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ – wistful, ecstatic and Malcolm’s vocal reverb effect made Tina sound even better through the new in-house PA.

John Porro: ‘Border Town’ – about growing up in North East England in an area where things don’t change too often which is something John likes. A gentle song with an aura that makes you feel it’s always been part of the furniture. ‘In View of the Mountain’ – is his father’s view from his cave in southern Spain which sounds like an amazing place to live and change your perspective on life. A warmth and depth to his voice and classic guitar lines – very pleasing. ‘Sleepy Brother’ – a charming tale of watching his brother sleep in the car when moving house.

Will B gave us three short poems before the break: ‘Lift Off’ – about a famous Edinburgh landmark on Princes Street which looks a bit like a rocket (no prizes for guessing what that is!). ‘37D’ – about a French-Canadian girl he met in a bar; the title is not as obvious as it might seem at first glance. ‘Intermission’ – almost part of the OOTB DNA now, as relevant and poignant as ever.

Terry Weston: ‘I Think It Might Be Time’ – the lyric contained some of the things that Terry is not sure about, e.g. time to leave. Some top strumming and quality songwriting, mixing strumming and picking to great effect. ‘Deep In Your Heart’ – written for his wife some time ago; a tender song that made the crowd go “aah”. Sample lyric: “deep in your heart / you know I love you”. A really nice middle eight, too. ‘Wild and Free’ – a singalong with a simple lyric and the first song he wrote with his son. Some very impressive guitar riffing and fingers moving like a blur on the fretboard. A very impressive debut.

Neil Matthew Fox: now we know his middle name! ‘Your Utopia’ – trialling new songs this evening, this had hints of early Bob Dylan and moved along at pace. Sample lyric: “this may be your utopia / but it sure as hell ain’t mine”. [Did I hear someone say “Brexit”?] ‘Pretend To Be A Human’ – was “for the socially anxious and reptilian among you”. Quirky and low on his vocal range, this promising song was stopped early as Neil forgot the words. ‘Silver Spoon’ – about a woman struggling financially who “lost her silver spoon”. A melody inspired by folk standard ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’. ‘What’s In Alaska’ – the same title as a Raymond Carver short story. Neil blended spoken word with an interesting vocal melody. Lots of strumming and a good example of Neil’s songwriting style.

Angus Gibson: ‘(Nobody Knows) How To Talk To Girls’ – from the songbook of his band The Lower Depths, the lyric bemoaned the author’s inability to speak to girls despite being an adult. Angus had a classic look, like a young Morrissey or Edwyn Collins. ‘State of Narcosis’ – about wanting to change the world but trapped in lethargy and inertia. Confident in his playing, this felt cathartic like Angus had a need to play that was stronger than the majority of musicians. ‘Another Fallen Sparrow’ – David Crosby’s view on Twitter that this was not his thing, but this was perhaps better than much of the ex-Byrds’s recent output. Sample lyric: “another fallen sparrow / in another beaten up car”. A very promising OOTB debut.

Nyk Stoddart: ‘Barbed Wire’ – an anti-war song; not Nyk’s usual subject matter. Chopped guitar went into a manic strum. Short and sweet; one to check out online for the lyrics which were not clear in the mix. ‘Santa Claus’ – a late aural present from Nyk as he couldn’t make the Christmas show. Beautifully picked and some pretty jazz chords, Nyk crooned this one. Sample lyric: “flying high in the sky / Santa Claus”. ‘Trust and Hope’ – a Nyk classic, and a positive song for 2019. A brilliant performance and Nyk was really on fire, giving it everything this evening.

Mike McKenzie: ‘One More Night’ – Mike normally plays piano so playing the house guitar was a challenge, but one which he rose to with flying colours. Stylish, well-written and very pleasantly sung. Only the second time he had played guitar in front of an audience. ‘Happy’ – I could hear this being sung by a successful contemporary artist. Lots of dynamics keeping the attention, and it was nice to hear something polished and stylistically different. Another fine debut.

Beth Clarke: ’Aberlady Bay’ – laid-back playing on Beth’s gorgeous mandola. Beautifully played and sung, this was a great end-of-evening song. Sample lyric: “I’m your selkie in my element / in Aberlady Bay”. Mellow gold. ‘All These Things’ – “very wordy” as Beth said, this was about how Beth is many different characters and there are many facets to her personality. Very engaging, sweet, intelligent songwriting with a powerful use of language. Super guitar playing. ‘Spring Rain’ – a duet with Majk Stokes, this was a happy song on the theme of togetherness. Genuinely touching and a song to make you feel warm and fuzzy. Some really nice second guitar and backing vocals from Majk.

Majk Stokes: In advance of the launch party for his new poetry collection, Majk read some very amusing poems. The themes were typically eclectic: namely religion, the Thunderbirds TV programme and a song for his niece. ‘One More Cup Of Coffee and Then We’ll Save The World’ – Majk finished with the song that was the theme of his global festival appearances in 2018. Judging by his poetry and music, 2019 should be a good year for Majk, too.

Review: James Igoe

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