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Out of the Bedroom 685 review – Thursday 7th February 2019

Running order: Tau Boo, Ben Murray, Gareth Herron, Neil Fox, Michael, James McGinley, Tina Louise Avery, Jonas Cimermanas, Will B, Startled Bee, Beth Clarke, Rosie Smith, Majk Stokes, Angus Gibson, feature act: John Porro.

Jim Bryce was host this evening and Tau Boo was on sound desk.

Tau Boo: ‘Lilac and Blue’ – cathedrals of sound… a big sound for one person and a chorus pedal! Confident, soaring, sweeping, dream-like. A direct link between the artist’s unconscious brain and our collective unconsciousness. ‘Windmills’ – reminiscent of ‘Victorialand’- era Cocteau Twins. Simplicity in the guitar playing. An unconventional song structure.

Ben Murray: ‘Composite Girl’ – an unusual theme for a song lyric… consisting of a list of things he “likes” which were actually the opposite of his “composite girl”. A thoughtful lyric? I’ll defer to the females in the room. ‘Battlefield School Trip Love Song’ – a first outing for this song. About young love, a girl with orange hair, on a school trip to a First World War battlefield. Classic folk guitar chords, reminding me of Mike Scott of the Waterboys.

Gareth Herron: two love songs for Valentine’s Day next week. ‘You’ll Always Have Me’ – the first song he wrote. A positive, poetic message. Nice dynamics mixing up the picking and strumming. ‘Three Hours To Boarding’ – supposed to be sung as a duet but Gareth was solo this evening, asking us to guess which part belonged to the male or female. I’m guessing the “oh boy” / “oh girl” was a giveaway!

Neil Fox: ‘The Sculptor’ – a mandolin debut for Neil and he played it pretty well. A tale of walking through sculptures and connecting with the past. This had a deep resonance. ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ – another mandolin strummer with a darker, graphic lyric about war and the reckless abuse of power. Sample lyric: “bodies face down in the water / drifting out to sea”.

Michael: ‘Why Did It Take You So Long’ – about his grandson getting in touch with a girl who then contacted him two months later. Beautifully written in a classic late ‘50s / early ‘60s vein. A quality middle 8 which gave the song a huge lift. ‘The Weatherman’ – a sad song about his friend the weatherman, bringing rain to hide his tears. Sweet as a nut. Sensitively played and simply lovely.

James McGinley: two instrumentals. ‘Did You See What Happened?’ – wistful, about love lost as we projected our individual meanings into the song. Flamenco-tinged, the guitar playing was a bit demonic and James was completely in the zone. I felt transported somewhere good. ‘Fragile Beating Heart’ – a deep sorrow at the centre, feeling beyond words. The mix of strength and sadness mimicked chorus and verse.

Tina Louise Avery: squashee. ‘Riverman’ – on mini-uke this evening; beautifully picked. On top form this evening with her voice sounding as clear and melodic as ever. The Antony Gormley sculpture looms large.

After the break, Jonas Cimermanas: ‘Suzy Q’ – new song… mellow, mournful, shimmering. Sample lyric: “why did it take so long for love to reappear?” Beautiful and simple – possibly one of my favourite songs from Jonas so far in his OOTB career.

Will B: ‘Love, Loyalty and Friendship’ – poem written for a wedding that took three months to write. Bill’s longest poem but not overly long. Touching verse, and perhaps the first time a wedding poem has been performed at OOTB.

Startled Bee (no relation to Will): ‘So Far In Miles’ – a cracking song written in Australia about someone in Scotland. Great feeling in the voice. Sample lyric: “I saw a winter moon / so I thought of you”. ‘The Little Things’ – another love song from the ‘Bee and the MPH songbook. The little things in life are the most important – spot on. Sample lyric: “don’t hunch your shoulders when it rains / keep your head held high”. A sterling performance.

Beth Clarke: squashee. ‘Union Street’ – a trademark of Beth’s has been writing about a Scottish place. In this case, the old Edinburgh street at the top of Leith Walk where she lived some years ago. Sample lyric: “you’ll find your feet / on Union Street”. A lively, descriptive, evocative lyric beautifully sung with a smile and a joyous feeling. We, the audience, felt transported to that place and time.

Rosie Smith: ‘Signets In The Esk’ – angelic, hypnotic voice. A broken heart and a sad song of sheer poetry. A modern song, picked on the acoustic using a two-chord base. Also, with the River Esk, following on from Beth’s Scottish place theme. ‘You Deserve Better’ – about someone who has had a hard time. A very kind lyric written from a humanist viewpoint. Very pleasant tune and Rosie sang gloriously with a natural, spine-tingling tremolo.

Majk Stokes: squashee. ‘Leeches’ – reflecting on his Australian tour experience this time last year and, wearing a Croc Dundee hat! Nice vocal didgeridoo. Majk doesn’t like leeches and he portrayed this graphically, comparing lots of other unpleasant things which weren’t, in his view, as unpleasant. Amusing, and some nice levity in proceedings.

Angus Gibson: ‘Down On Us’ – angry and very moody, this was aimed at people who were bringing him down. Sample lyric: “I don’t want to see you / ‘cos you’re bringing me down”. A powerful and confident performance, delivered with a swagger. ‘We Only Whisper’ – a break-up / about-to-break-up song. I could hear this working well with his band The Lower Depths. Powerful. Sample lyric: “I could not see the light that shines behind her eyes “.

Feature act John Porro: ‘Border Town’ – in his own words, John “writes lots of songs about journeys”. This excellent song was about growing up in NE England, in particular Consett. Sample lyric: “I was raised in this border town / where the black coal sits in the ground”. ‘In View of the Mountain’ – inspired by the view from the cave in Spain where his artist dad lives with a dog. John’s deep, sonorous baritone delivered this warm tale of affection for his father and his choice of abode. ‘20 Years Ago’ – about watching a couple of old guys properly fighting and sisters fighting over a fridge freezer. John’s attempt, in song, to resolve long-held feuds. ‘Sleepy Brother’ – a kind of lullaby about watching his brother falling asleep on a car journey. Simply a nice, endearing song which made me feel relaxed. ‘Wake Me To Sleep’ – written on a Spanish guitar. Based on the premise that if John cannot get to sleep then someone else on the other side of the world cannot wake up. Interesting connection – another sleepy one! ‘City Fox’ – an interesting animal that “transcends human interest” according to John. I wondered if he could relate to that. Beautiful cascading guitar riff. Sample lyric: “hungry fox / in a hungry town / and it’s been so long since I saw your eyes”. ‘Silver Chain’ – about a dog. Played harmonica on the holder like a pro which is not easy to do when also playing guitar. Playing the game “like a dog on a silver chain”. Forces beyond our control? ‘People In Love’ – another chunk of mellow gold. One of John’s more recent songs, he sang this with much emotion and gusto. Sample lyric: “a mighty fine summer’s day / for people in love”. Aww. Finished with ‘First Born Son’. Written for his nearly one-year-old son Robert. Gave this 100% and this was clearly an important song for John. Hopefully some of young Robert’s father’s talent will rub off on him. Gorgeous chords, dazzling picking and lyrics that shone like the sun. A really enjoyable set from John Porro.

Review: James Igoe

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