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OOTB 641, Tuesday 14 February 2017

Posted 16/02/2017 By reviewer
OOTB stage at Out of the Bedroom 641

Valentine’s Day 2017 and we were feeling the love from the Out of the Bedroom stage tonight. There was no obligation on the musicians to play songs commemorating the 3rd Century saint’s day but there were some notable tributes made.

Line-up: Vincent Gauchot, Nicholas Loveridge, Rui Alma, Tina Louise Avery, Jack Blimey, Nyk Stoddart, James Igoe.


Vincent Gauchot at Out of the Bedroom 641

Vincent Gauchot

Host for the evening was Vincent Gauchot who claimed the first slot, playing three instrumentals. The amazing ‘1001 Univers’ sounded like two guitars being played with an overdub: a rich, full, wonderful sound. The stage lights tonight changed colour in response to changes in sound which Vincent, and others, found a bit disconcerting but it brought a bit of psychedelia to proceedings! Talking of which, next up was ‘Kaleidoscope’, about living in Montreal and the extremes of harsh winters and hot summers. Impressive harmonics and a deeply atmospheric tune. ‘Silver Lining’, “a song about memories”, was a wistful, John Martyn-esque number with hints of Scottish folk music and several time signature changes. A great start to the evening: note to self – get along early to see Vincent when he is hosting.

Nicholas Loveridge at Out of the Bedroom 641

Nicholas Loveridge

Australian Nicholas Loveridge made his OOTB debut, showcasing his “baby” guitar – a guitarlele – and tonight may also have been the OOTB debut for that instrument. ‘Drunken Dissorder’ was a fun song with lots of “ba-baps” and “da-das” and was written some time ago in his not-so-distant youth. It was notable how much Nicholas used his body, including some intense facial expressions, and that is a powerful way to convey a song to the audience. ‘The Ukulele’s Perspective’, an instrumental with nice dynamics, was written when he bought a ukulele in Hawaii. Getting into tonight’s theme, ‘A Folk Musician’ was a “love song of sorts” which was a dancey number – funky and folkie at the same time – which seemed to be about becoming a folk musician to make someone love him (little does he know…?). Nicholas also played a memorable set at The Listening Room’s 15th birthday on Sunday – catch him in Edinburgh while you can.

Rui Alma at Out of the Bedroom 641

Rui Alma

Rui Alma was our second debutant of the evening, playing a couple of tunes improvised on a structure he had been working on. Unusually, perhaps uniquely, this was the third act in a row to play an instrumental as Rui opened with an intense flamenco-influenced, Jeff Buckley-esque number on his cherry red Guild acoustic. The lights were going crazy with all the guitar dynamics and I felt like an Andalusian senorita should have been clapping and stomping along to complement his onstage energy. Next up was a song about love (hooray!) based on “the value of silence and intimacy as a riposte against the noise we deal with every day”. Contrasting with the intensity of the opener, there were some nice, tender moments here and a surprisingly pleasant four-line vocal popped up about three or four minutes into the song. ‘Hersh’ was a tribute to Kristin Hersh, ex of Throwing Muses, whose interesting arpeggios he witnessed at her Summerhall gig last year. The song had an Arabic / Middle Eastern feel with a wordless vocal (again Buckley-esque) and was very avant-garde and original – OOTB is very much the place for experimentation. Great debut and I hope to see Rui again soon.

Tina Louise Avery at Out of the Bedroom 641

Tina Louise Avery

OOTB favourite Tina Louise Avery took to ukulele this evening and was ably supported by Vincent Gauchot on regular acoustic. Tina opened with ‘Riverman’, the studio version having been recorded by Daniel Davis who was in the audience. Vocals floated high above in the stratosphere overlooking us mere mortals and the guitar/uke combo worked a treat, surprisingly Vincent and Tina hadn’t played together for a while. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ featured a fantastic vocal from Tina beautiful harmonics from Vincent and with the picked uke this worked a treat. ‘Love’ was Tina’s Valentine’s Day song which was deeply evocative of spending a day with someone you are in love with. A great middle eight, with top-notch picking from Vincent. Tina is glowing with confidence post-Celtic Connections and this set was a treat.

Jack Blimey at Out of the Bedroom 641

Jack Blimey

After a break came OOTB soundman for the evening Jack Blimey. First song ‘Another Prisoner’ was “almost based on a true story” about being in prison and comparing himself with another prisoner (perhaps of circumstance / location?). Jack’s songs are ambiguous and densely wordy, like early Bob Dylan, and powerful and dreamlike in the themes they cover which seem to be an alternate yet plausible version of reality. ‘Wherever You Come From’ was a rare sentimental song from Jack’s repertoire, evoking a pastoral setting. The imaginative and very well-crafted poetry conveyed a vision of rural life that was simultaneously beautiful and nightmarish. ‘Those Weren’t The Days’ was a song to Jack’s ex-wives had he been married. Jack’s electric guitar playing was both incessant and melodic with a staccato style that is very much his own. There is always a subtle, cruel humour underneath the sweetness of the vocal which this song exemplified. A unique talent who continues to improve with each OOTB performance.

Nyk Stoddart at Out of the Bedroom 641

Nyk Stoddart

Not simply a Valentine’s special, this was the tenth anniversary of Nyk Stoddart’s OOTB debut at The Canon’s Gait. Nyk opened with the optimistic ‘Trust and Hope’, and this was a mighty song – beefy, bluesy and rocking and the loudest song this evening! Some excellent blues licks with a bit of jazz thrown in, this was a great performance. The plaintive ‘Fake Jazz’, one of Nyk’s signature tunes, showcased Nyk’s genuine ability to play jazz and I’m sure the recently departed jazz icon Al Jarreau would have approved. ‘The Girl With The Bubble-Wrap Lips’ was written five years ago but Nyk is still not quite sure what it is about. A romantic song of sorts, albeit in a post-modern world. A strange world, yes, but ‘twas ever thus? Great stuff from Nyk.

James Igoe finished the evening with ‘Older Women’, his tribute to his wife Sheena. “You can learn a thing or two from older women” – ever the old romantic!

The Out of the Bedroom AGM is on Thursday 23 February 7.30pm at Kilderkin and is open to all. We’ll hopefully see you there, If not, see you all next time at The Outhouse on Tuesday 14 March!

Review: James Igoe

OOTB 640, Tuesday 17 January 2017

Posted 26/01/2017 By reviewer

Back to The Outhouse for the first OOTB of 2017. Backdrop left at home and no guitar tuner to be found but with a bit of soft lilac lighting and a few good musical ears and the night got underway.

Line-up: Tina Louise Avery, Sam Brown, Tau Boo, Nyk Stoddart, Jack Blimey, Freeloadin’ Frank, James Igoe.

Tina Louise Avery with Jack Blimey on desk OOTB 640

Tina Louise Avery

Compere for the evening James Igoe introduced Tina Louise Avery to the stage. Tina was to play the Danny Kyle stage at Celtic Connections the following weekend – very impressive – but withheld this information from us on the night, possibly to manage our expectations. No need, we expect Tina to be great and she didn’t disappoint. Tina started with ‘Travel Writing’ featured on The Listening Room Volume 1 and it was a very pleasant version with the refrain “I will sit by the fireside tonight” staying in my head long after the night had ended. ‘Tea Amongst The Birds’ is possibly my favourite Tina song: a haunting, beautiful piece of melancholy reminiscent of late ‘60s Judy Collins and mid ‘80s Suzanne Vega. ‘Diving Under Water’ was written after the Victoria shootings and is possibly one of the nicest sounding songs about mass murder that you will ever hear with some impressive guitar picking.

Sam Brown debut OOTB 640

Sam Brown

The first, and only, debutante this evening was Sam Brown. We were lucky to catch Sam this evening as he is off to India for three months. Song 1 was about taking the wrong path, featured the refrain ‘Sleight of Hand’ (his first two songs didn’t have titles) and was accompanied by some funky guitar playing. ‘Wisdom Teeth’ seemed to be about growing pains and had a descending guitar phrase which reminded me of early Cream. Keeping his best to last, ‘24/42’ had some impressive slap-jazzy guitar playing, reminiscent of local guitar genius Graeme Mearns. A very promising debut, I hope Sam comes back soon after his trip.

Tau Boo and audience OOTB 640

Tau Boo

The vocal ranges this evening descended from alto (Tina), tenor (Sam) to the deep bass of Tau Boo. First song ‘Daydream’ featured his trademark vocal: like Paul Robeson if he had been primarily influenced by early ‘90s shoegazing bands like Chapterhouse and Slowdive. Seriously epic and full of Zeppelin-esque time signature changes. The atmospheric Song 2 featured the lyric “catch the wind in your sails my friend”. ‘Your Eyes’ was slightly more upbeat than the previous two (lyric: “beautiful, then fade away”) and Tau had an interesting trick of making his 6-stringed guitar sound like a 12-string without any effects pedals.

Nyk Stoddart OOTB 640

Nyk Stoddart

Nyk Stoddart showed his more serious side tonight with a trilogy of reflective songs written for an intriguing new musical project. ‘Out in the Sun’ was a romantic song about a warmer time of the year and featured some excellent guitar picking from someone who knows his way around a fretboard. ‘Fly Away’ – no relation to the Lenny Kravitz chart topper – was a mellow love song with the lyric “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be with you”. ‘Mystery in the Universe’ featured some demonic picking and seamless strumming with sample lyric “there is a mystery in the universe that is love”. A heartfelt set from Nyk.

Jack Blimey OOTB 640

Jack Blimey

After the break, Jack Blimey ventured from behind the sound desk to the stage with his Schecter electric guitar and showcasing his very original style of songwriting. His opening song had a sound that could be described as pleasantly psychotic English folk, while showing an understanding of the blues. ‘Wherever You Come From’ was in the murder ballad tradition of Nick Cave with a deeply poetic conversational lyric. ‘War on Terror’ talked about the beginning of World War 3 which we might be in already. I wonder if this was written as a poem? I can hear this going down well at a performance poetry session. Cracking chords and excellent guitar playing from Jack.

Freeloadin' Frank OOTB 640

Freeloadin’ Frank

Freeloadin’ Frank played just before an operation on his nondominant hand so we valued his contribution even more than usual. ‘Butterfly’, written in his back garden (currently being developed by dodgy builders), is a conversation with “Smithers” about a sunny day in May. The epic ‘King Kong’ was a love song written from the perspective of the colossal ape. This sounds like a song The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band could have written in their late ‘60s prime. The open mic classic ‘Magic Cornflake’ took us on an imaginary tour of the world – both inner and outer – or maybe it was just a song about a nice breakfast? Classic Frank.

James Igoe OOTB 640

James Igoe

Like Frank, James Igoe played a three-song set that would be familiar to open mic goers over the last few years. Starting with ‘Inga’s Eyes’ a “song about lust” and taboo hair-stroking. ‘Braveheart Beggar’ followed, written before his belief that Scotland should be an independent country it is a critical account of hypocritical Scottish culture in the mid-late 1990s. ‘Cowboy Song 2’, a song about travelling, was dedicated to Sam and imminent his trip to India.

Due to a slight dearth of acts this evening, those who had played earlier had another opportunity.

Sam Brown played ‘Meet The Bones’ (a play on words with “meat on the bones”?) in his jazzy style – very pleasant.

Tau Boo played again, but unfortunately this reviewer had to spend a penny so this song will remain a mystery.

Nyk Stoddart played ‘Aeroplanes’, a mainly-instrumental, acid-drenched song closer to the style of the songs when he first made his name at OOTB in the Canon’s Gait.

Jack Blimey played ‘Desolation Street’, a dark tale of a dysfunctional neighbourhood, with a chord that impressed the aforementioned local musical genius Graeme Mearns some years hence.

Freeloadin’ Frank played ‘Rupert’, his “leftie” song, noting that the protagonist Mr. Murdoch helped put the incumbent President Trump in the White House. Lyrics were updated to reflect recent political changes in the USA and UK.

Plenty of great stuff this evening, if perhaps not a classic, well-attended OOTB. A promising start to 2017 and hopefully there will be many great OOTB nights to look forward to this year.

James Igoe (review)

OOTB 500, Saturday 8 December 2012

Posted 10/12/2012 By reviewer

OOTB 500

11 years, 5 regular venues, 4 CDs, and countless performers after that enjoyable, if sparsely-attended, opening night in November 2001, Out of the Bedroom is still very much alive and well.

It’s hard to quantify the effect OOTB (to use the acronym) has had on the Edinburgh music scene. OOTB has been chucked out of more pubs than Amy Winehouse, no million-selling rock stars have emerged (we missed out on KT Tunstall!), and, in the company of many of the best local music nights, OOTB has been almost completely overlooked by the mainstream Edinburgh media.

Yet the packed house and warm appreciation from the audience tonight underlined a collective feeling that OOTB provides something special and unique. The nights are, and have consistently been, well-organised and artists are welcomed and appreciated – whether old or young, familiar or unfamiliar, expert or novice.

Compere par excellence Scott Renton opened the night in his own inimitable style. It was a great pleasure for me to hear Scott performing for the first time in ages too. ‘Waverley Nights’, based on Kiss’s ‘Crazy Nights’, was endearing, 100% Scottish and very distinctive. The lyric, written when OOTB left its original home of The Waverley Bar, was updated for OOTB 500 and was an amusing, brutally honest tale giving his reasons for coming to OOTB. I’m sure both Gene Simmons and Iain ‘Smiler’ Walker would be proud.

I, James Igoe, played next and think I was the only person this evening to cover a song by another OOTB artist. Norman Lamont’s ‘Nicole’ was dedicated to the Nicoles loved and lusted over. There was not much sympathy for my sad tale of Paris but that’s something I’ll just have to live with. J The lurgy I had all week affected my preparation but I think it went okay – Norman was appreciative.

Edinburgh open mic legend and champion of all things counterculture Freeloading Frank was next up. His version of the sensitive Beatles song ‘I Will’ was morphed into a heartfelt paean of self-love, inspired by his own reflection. Frank updated (“remixed”) an old song ‘Rupert Murdoch’ changing the target of his ire towards the heinous double act of Tories David Cameron and George Osborne. I felt the crowd were on his side.

Master guitarist Graeme Mearns went completely left field and played a supper club jazz version of The Ramones’s punk classic ‘Blitzkreig Bop’. Coincidentally I was listening to The Ramones version in the car coming to the gig. I thought it was a great, highly original re-imagining of the song, though I think the late Johnny Ramone might have been spinning in his grave.

Next up – a new act! Not only had Trouble in Paradise never played OOTB, the trio had never played together live before. They rehearse via Skype which is quite unusual even in this age of ubiquitous internet access. For lead singer Alice this was her first ever gig though you would never have guessed from her onstage ease and confidence. ‘Modern Woman’ had some very nice harmonies supplied by the two gents on guitars. The chorus of “are you a modern woman? / do you pleasure yourself?” got a few minds racing among the rapt audience I’m sure. Their acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ was very endearing with Alice singing with a near cut glass BBC accent, very different from Ms Lauper’s Queens twang. They cheekily sneaked in a third song about old fashioned love in a digital age, which was very well received by the audience. The old fella (a Kilderkin regular?) at the end of the bar shouted that she had a nice voice, and he was right.

Julien Pierrefeu has brought musical intensity and lyrical depth to many an OOTB evening and this fine performance continued his sequence of top notch performances. Accompanied by Tom Watton on guitar, Julien’s bi-lingual (French/English) song was a romantic tale which reminded me a bit of mid-‘60s French-inflected pop music and I could imagine an accordion. This was very pleasant.

Tommy Mackay lets his creative juices flow in the Scottish comedy circuit after some years as an OOTB stalwart. In his alter ego tonight as The Sensational Alex Salmond Gastric Band, Tommy played what I thought was my song of the evening – ‘Wee Country’. It was an original, heartfelt, patriotic and serious song about modern day Scotland, with part of the lyric challenging one of the scourges of Scotland – sectarianism. I think this should be a contender for the national anthem, or at least part of the soundtrack for the 2014 election. I’d vote for that.

One of the longest serving OOTB committee members Calum Carlyle played a Radiohead song which Calum introduced as “track 4 off the 3rd album” (‘Exit Music?’). Calum sung this in a Jeff Buckley-esque manner, no mean feat, and played it immaculately on the guitar. Calum’s second cover was George Harrison’s ‘Long Long Long’, perhaps one of the lesser-known tracks off The Beatles’ ‘White Album’. I felt Calum really made the song his own and gave it a new life, seamlessly fitting in with his previous cover, in a new Carlyle sound? Flawless guitar playing and a strong set from Calum.

Next was the break when there was some bidding for the 500th raffle ticket, which reached the dizzy heights of £1.70 rather than the standard £1! As well as chatting to some old and gold individuals I was also casting my eye over the rather fine 500th anniversary guitar-shaped chocolate cake courtesy of Tina Avery.

An OOTB original Colin Donati started part two with his own song ‘Various Moons’, using the powered-up house guitar nicknamed ‘golden retriever’.  Colin’s slick jazzy guitar playing was a bit of class and it’s great to see Colin playing regularly after a while when he was pursuing other creative outlets. His pre-gig Kilderkin pizza set him up nicely, I’ll make a note for future reference.

Cake-maker and current OOTB committee member Tina Avery began with ‘80s classic ‘Luka’ by Suzanne Vega. I remember the song practically single-handedly resurrecting the singer-songwriter genre in the 1980s. Tina gave a faithful cover version of the song, beautifully picked and sung. Out came the ukulele for Tina’s last song ‘River Man’. It’s not easy to play a picked uke and make it sound good but Tina had no problem, managing to play the instrument admirably. This floaty, dreamy song had the audience rapt with attention and quiet which was a blessed rarity this evening.

Perhaps the youngest performer this evening, Tomas was fresh from being out busking and was unaware of the significance of the evening. John Farrell helped him with some guitar strap problems. His two songs were social commentaries about living a young working class life in 21st century Edinburgh and received warm applause.

Tau Boo is one of the more unusual performers I’ve ever seen at OOTB. This is principally because he has perhaps the deepest voice in show business, giving the late Paul Robeson a run for his money. His song ‘Standing in the Steps of Giants’ uses natural vocal reverberation that has echoes of ‘Starsailor’-period Tim Buckley. It’s a haunting sound that stays with you long after the show.

The previously-covered Norman Lamont  played Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’. I think Norman managed to play the song with two chords, and still retained the interest. For such a densely lyrical song I was impressed that Norman didn’t need a lyric sheet (voice in head: “it’s called practice, James”. Okay, thank you voice-in-head). Norman’s next song was new and jazz-tinged, in keeping with the style of several songs this evening. Unfortunately ‘Big’ James Whyte who was due to accompany Norman was otherwise engaged tonight. On this evidence, I look forward to hearing the forthcoming album ‘Watching Paint Dry’.

The great Fiona Thom has been in great form musically all year, currently recording her album. She played a jazzy version of ‘Love, Peace and Harmony’, which featured John Farrell on guitar. Fiona stop the song halfway through as the altered timing didn’t fit the metre of Fiona’s lyrics. Fiona picked up the guitar and played the more familiar version and sounded much more comfortable. The new album should be very good indeed.

Scott announced that John’s friend, and friend of OOTB, Fraser Drummond was not feeling well and couldn’t make it this evening. Scott spoke for us all in passing our best wishes on to Fraser.

Another of the newer committee members, Jack Blimey played two originals, saying he considered covering one of Nyk Stoddart’s songs but the thought of that almost made his head explode! The somewhat brooding and dark ‘Tuesday’s Child’ was played on electric guitar. The style was minimalist, in a kind of Duane-Eddy-meets-The-XX style. Classic. ‘Demolition Street’ was about a place where he used to live and featured some neat, precise, almost metronomic, guitar playing and technically very good. I think Jack is a bit like a male version of Virginia Astley, who I’d put money on he’s never heard of.

A new band to me were Forgotten Works, with one chap wearing a guitar strap made out of jeans and the other chap was Jen and the Gents double bass player moonlighting! The style was John Martyn / Richard Thomson which is difficult to do well but these chaps achieved that level with ease. The first song (titled ‘Digging Holes’?) was gently hypnotic and pleasing. Last track was an instrumental ‘Horse Steeped in Jam’ which continued the good vibes. I was impressed that the double bass player was also able to play tambourine with his foot at the same time. Ones to watch out for.

A night with much vintage talent on show wouldn’t be complete without seminal Edinburgh open mic organiser Tom McEwan. Tom started the Edinburgh Songwriters Showcase 20 years ago next March, which might be another good cause for celebration! Tom played a spirited version of Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ which included a harmonica solo where Clarence Clemons saxophone once was. Upbeat and enjoyable stuff from Tom – Bruce would have been proud.

Robert King lit the sparklers in the form of numbers 5-0-0 on Tina’s cake and we all sang happy birthday to the entity of Out of the Bedroom. The cake tasted lovely Tina!

Darren Hendrie is a regular; the night clashes with his regular slot at the Jazz Bar but Darren dashes down, usually getting a squashee slot at the end of the evening. ‘Morningside’ showcased his skills – relaxed, timing perfect, vocal measured and controlled, a proper musician. One of the most improved musicians I’ve seen in recent years.

Stalwart OOTB committee member Nyk Stoddart dedicated his set to two people in the scene who are not very well at the moment in Malcolm MacLean and the aforementioned Fraser Drummond. Nyk went electric with a distorted electric guitar which has a compressed sound that gave it a new wave, Skids-like feel. Nyk played the crowd favourite ‘Mutant Slash Killer Zombies From Planet X’ which achieved the classic ‘na-na-na-na-na’ sing-a-long.

It was a pleasure to see Tom Watton again as I hadn’t seen his face around town awhile. Scott requested that Tom didn’t play any epics as we were tight for time so he played the 7-minute ‘Matty Groves’! It was requested by a few in the audience and Tom really went for it, with plenty of resonance in that guitar of his. On this form, Tom would have given Jeff Buckley and Percy Plant a run for his money, such was his unbridled vocal range.

The raffle – I drew my own ticket out (to cries of “fix”) and then Robert won the extra prize.

The dreadlocked Robert King was another debutante this evening and it was fitting to end the regular slots this evening with a newbie. The song, which I think was entitled ‘Rainbow Unfurled’, had plenty of positivity which I was trying to channel in my flu-like exhaustion. I think it worked. More positivity please sir, you’re welcome back to kick off the next 500!

We finished with Tommy Mackay’s ‘500 gigs’, based on a famous Proclaimers tune, as sung by the The OOTB Chorus (or cat’s chorus as some may have said about the drunken rabble)! Legendary! As Tommy said himself: “sheer poetry – shambolic to the end”.

Keeping music alive in Edinburgh

Posted 03/04/2012 By reviewer

First up, the excellent Adam Holmes and The Embers………..Presents! live showcase continues for a second evening at The Voodoo Rooms on Wednesday 4 April from 8.00pm in The Speakeasy. Tickets £6 on the door. Over 18’s only. Featured acts:

  • Adam Holmes and The Embers – “roots pop with a hint of Scotland” they have recorded three critically acclaimed EPs in the last twelve months, and have played sell out gigs throughout the country, including a storming set at Celtic Connections 2012.
  • The Deadly Winters – Scottish band of brothers who re-define the term ‘folk-rock’, and take us on musical travels through tales of love, pain, sorrow, joy and friendship, and show us all that sometimes, even whispers can deafen.
  • Brigid Kaelin – comfortable on piano, accordion, guitar, or the musical saw “the Bette Midler of Alt-country” was recently voted “Best Singer/Songwriter” in Louisville for the third year in a row.
  • White Wolf – New and amazing solo artist……….and not to be missed!

Secondly, Edinburgh Council are asking for responses to new licensing rules for free events –http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QTZMWXP – and the consultation closes on Friday 13 April 2012. It is really important that you and everyone you know who enjoys free live music and other free arts events in Edinburgh let the council know what you think of this proposed legislation, also known as the “tax on art”. As Irvine Welsh said in today’s Evening News “[the art tax is] a brilliant idea if the intention is to destroy grassroots culture in Scotland.”

Despite the gloom of the art tax and closing of key venues such as Forest Cafe, Roxy Art House, Bongo Club and Cabaret Voltaire (to live music at least), there remain many quality live music events in Edinburgh, such as:

Finally, Secret CDs resident DJ King Horror has started his own club night for the discerning music fan called… Grown Ups. Currently for one night only at at The Meadows Hotel on Saturday 21 April it starts at 8pm and is £5 at the door. If you fancy a boogie after Out of the Bedroom this might just be the perfect place for you.  As the GrownUps blurb says “We’re for grown ups who want a night out with cool vibes, great atmosphere and a friendly crowd… Expect rockabilly, soul, R’n’B, French pop, garage, teen beat, new wave, electro, indie and hip hop and everything in between. Think vintage vinyl for fully-fledged funksters – we’re more Bowie than TOWIE. ”

Keep loving the music!

OOTB 372 – 10 Dec 2009

Posted 10/12/2009 By reviewer

Dan Collins, Mo-Medicine, Coral, James Whyte, Cat Called Paris, Michael Patrick, Luis.

No review for this evening.

OOTB 358 – 1 Sep 2009

Posted 01/09/2009 By reviewer

After the hoopla of the Festival Fringe this was a somewhat shambolic but fun OOTB evening. The decision was made not to set up the PA due to lack of numbers at start up, so the acts would have to be good at projecting their voices across the space.

Compere Freeloadin’ Frank ensured the show went on and played three brand new songs which, unfortunately, I missed as I was too late. I also missed Zee Zee, who apparently played a Greek instrument, and Stephen Harrison, who I found on MySpace was part of the Edinburgh art college scene which spawned the legendary Josef K in the 1980s.

Nyk Stoddart played some new material alongside ‘Kitten In A Bong’ and ‘Another Song’. James Igoe was asked to perform and he obliged playing ‘Humanist Wedding’, ‘Cowboy Song 2’ and ‘Braveheart Beggar’. By this point the audience has almost doubled in size, and Yogi played some new material from his new CD, including ‘Slow Down’. Broken Tooth played a mixture of familiar and less familiar material, with ‘Hearts and Spades’ being the standout.

After the break, and a sudden influx of young and curious audience members, Nyk Stoddart played ‘Tombstoning’ and ‘… Zombies …’. The audience members left as we’d run out of fresh performers so a short pass-the-guitar session ensued which was fun but not particularly interesting for the casual punter. After fifteen minutes or so, the bartender called it a night and that was that.

James Igoe

OOTB 352 – 21 Jul 2009

Posted 21/07/2009 By reviewer

It may or may not have been the recent appearances of the likes of Springsteen, Crosby/Stills/Nash or Young, but there was a distinct thread of Americana in the music tonight. With the festival vibe and only one national lager available on tap, the evening could easily have been called T in The Tron!

Unfortunately I missed the majority of Steven Carey‘s set but tonight’s compere Calum Carlyle kindly filled in… “Steven has intriguing lyrics “I’d pull my teeth for your love”. It’s captivating folk music; very sensitive, very dynamic. He has a lovely soaring voice, very pleasant to listen to. He keeps up the wistful folk spell for his whole three songs. Quite slow and mesmeric [drat, Calum – you stole one of my favourite words!], lovely just the same.”

New face Michael played driving rock music on the house Takamine, which featured some unintended house fuzz distortion on his opening 12-bar rocker. It actually worked quite well. ‘Dress So White’ is romantic and reminded me of ‘Tunnel of Love’ period Springsteen. Michael mentioned the sunshine on Leith and I noticed Steven Carey had a song about Leith Walk – a sub-theme to the night, perhaps? The ghost of Johnny Cash haunted ‘Lord Come and Wash Away Our Sins’ – raw and bluesy; an apocalyptic tale of the perils of gambling. Michael was apologetic for some reason – no need it was great stuff.

Mike Barnard chose the smoother Tanglewood house guitar and delighted the audience with ‘You’re Not Around’, his tale of a lost love. Soundman Mally did a sterling job of holding the shoogly mic steady for the song’s duration. Mike’s lively strumming again imbued his second song ‘Oh Oh Oh’ about a girl who’s lost her way (“brother, sister/ someone blow a kiss to her”). Mike kept his best to last with the soft, Neil Young sound of ‘Lonesome Man’ – I felt this was Mike at his most soulful and open (“how’d I get to be such a lonesome man?”).

One of the more intelligent and quirky songwriters on the scene Paul Gladwell was next. ‘Repent and Die’ is a challenging, slightly confrontational lyric (“I’m the one who turns the virgin to the whore/ …I’m the one who takes the hammer to the cross”) and the song rocks, a lot. Switching tack, a romantic ballad ‘But I Won’t’ which I got lost in as the singing was so endearing and the guitar played so consummately. An untitled, dramatic song about being human and in touch with nature (“you are what you are”) ended a most pleasant set from this good friend of OOTB.

After the break came tonight’s featured act Broken Tooth. Having reviewed Mr. Thomson many times in the past I wondered what more could be said but tonight Jim was ON FIRE. Starting off with ‘Sing At My Funeral’ was blues-drenched, rock-fuelled and powerful stuff with a riff-mongous, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink middle 8. ‘Hearts & Spades’, written when investigating Tarot cards, was burning with energy and Jim’s vocal was impressive. The calming ‘Miller’s Daughter’ featured some amazing guitar playing, and I wasn’t the only audience member with eyes transfixed on the fretboard. One of Jim’s older songs ‘Borderline’ was dedicated to his ex and throbbed with raw emotion. The medley with Neil Young’s ‘F**ckin’ Up’ added an extra edge. ‘Hold Fast’, about getting on with life when no one is looking after you, was passionate and almost desperate in its resonance. ‘Muse’s Song’ was mellow, almost poppy, and ended what was probably the most intense set I’ve ever seen from a featured act at OOTB.

Newcomer Ibi didn’t bother with the guitar, or any other instrument for that matter. He didn’t need one – he has an outstanding singing voice. Purely a cappella, ‘This Is Not My Dream’ was written at University and the vocal was as soulful, controlled and confident as anything I’ve ever heard at OOTB. Ibi’s second song was written for his wife in his native language (I’m not sure what language, Ibi didn’t say) and was totally captivating. An amazing debut performance from Ibi.

The young, bearded Ian Tilling last played at OOTB about a year ago but was new to me. Ian’s guitar playing and pleasant singing voice exuded confidence and he was very engaging. ‘Be’ was a warm, welcoming love song with dense, quirky lyrics (“I Love you till the day you drop dead”). Just written last week, Ian’s final song was obviously well-rehearsed because it fitted seamlessly with his more seasoned compositions. I think Ian could do well as a busker as he is a very engaging personality and knows how to put a smile on your face.

David O’Hara won a book from the silver bag of dreams – ‘Cheers My Arse!’ by Ricky Tomlinson.

The legendary Freeloadin’ Frank started with ‘Bluebottle’ (“spreading germs wherever he goes” – a nod to the swine flu epidemic?). The ending of “buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz” and a kazoo is pure Frank. One of Frank’s earlier songs ‘Scully’ got an airing and his passion for Gillian Anderson remains undiminished. A rare serious song ‘Cars’ about the ills of capitalism – written well before the recent stock market collapse – closed an excellent musical trilogy from a precious jewel in the Edinburgh singer-songwriter crown.

Cam Phair was ill in bed all weekend but it didn’t appear to affect his mightily powerful voice. Cam started with a jazzy number – nice – and followed it with ‘Welfare Staying In’. This was a song about being on the dole, which he rightly said is something most musicians have experienced. The energetic final song ‘No One To Follow’ was full-on, uninhibited joy. Cam’s is a very engaging performer whose personality gets people onside immediately. Cam is getting better every time I see him and I hope to see and hear more soon.

A chap called Harry had left the building, which allowed Graeme Laird to step in. Graeme used to play in the early days of OOTB and I don’t think I’d seen him play for years. ‘The World Gets In Your Way’ was consummately executed with some neat jazzy guitar licks. Graeme has obviously honed his talents over months and years playing Nicol Edwards, the Jazz Bar and elsewhere. Cam played bongos on the upbeat, reggae-tinged ‘Queen of Jamaica’ which brought a smile to my face. The Deep South Americana of ‘Easy Chair’ (“kicking back on my easy chair/ with my boots off”) was a great way to end a great, and long-overdue, slot from the excellent Mr. Laird.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that, apart from the Americana theme, there was another constant through the night – no female performers. No backing singers, nothing. Lady musicians – I know you’re out there, all is forgiven! Please come back!

James Igoe

OOTB 27 – 2 May 2002

Posted 02/05/2002 By reviewer

After Nelson & I started with ‘Tragic Clowns’ and ‘Summer Song’, Jill Hepburn stepped up to the mic more summery than usual in lilac pullover and denim skirt. Her music is gentle, introspective and very lovely. ‘I Don’t Want That Much’, with that riff, is about using the power of your imagination to escape and Jill thinks coming from Falkirk you need that. I’m saying nothing. ‘Too Much Night’ rounded off a confident performance.

Scott Reilly came back again – hooray! ‘Never Forget What You Are’ was a sweet love song with romantic lines such as ‘I like the things in you/you may not like yourself’. ‘Shades of Blue’ is a pop poetry at its finest, with an ultra-hummable tune. ‘It’s A Curse’ compares love to a sickness and uses the classic ‘na-na-na-na’ pop ending. He might not be a pop idol but Scott has more talent in his left pinkie than the mediocre drivel on that particular TV show.

Echo (aka Derek Archer) made a welcome return. He was selling his CDs this week though it doesn’t feature songs from his legendary unpublished musical. ‘Love At First Sight’ was a straightforward, down the middle love song. ‘Tonight’ is on the CD and ‘is about true love if there is such a thing’. Oh, love, love, love, all you need is love. Is it all you need? Maybe. Who can say?

Ben & Sally thankfully came back like a breath of fresh air. Again Ben’s demonic 12-string playing coupled with Sally’s strong, characteristic vocals was very effective. ‘How I Feel’ was about needing to feel loved, wanted and needed. It was a very sensuous, almost bawdy lyric – not at all platonic. ‘The Running Song’ (I think that was the title) again kept the theme going with the line ‘you can be Henry Miller and I’ll be Anais Nin’. Henry Miller was an erotic novelist/dirty bastard (depends on your point of view) of the mid-20th century. I remember another great song about Marilyn Monroe and Henry Miller from theTron open mic nights.

The Alpha again showed their class with even tighter harmonies than last week. It’s good to see such an improvement in such a short space of time not that last week was anything but great. ‘Shine’, ‘You Are Loved’ and ‘Postures and Positions’ again received an airing and overall they seemed more of a unit. Look forward to the Cafe Royal show on May 28th.

I saw Playtone the night before at The Maltings and they’re a completely new band to me. Two of the band, young and enthusiastic, gave an energetic, melodic and harmonious account of themselves. Like Ben & Sally the previous week, one of the very best debut gigs at OOTB. The lyrics were great, well-written for one so young, the harmonies were fresh sounding and the main thing was the sheer gusto the songs were given. ‘The Girl Who Just Wants More’, ‘When You’re Six Years Old’ and ‘Daddy’s Superstar’ were all memorable. Look out for the band round Edinburgh. I hope they come back very soon.

Eirik from Norway came from nowhere and looked very comfortable on stage for one so young. He plays in a band Josephine and looked great in his big beady collar and red sneakers. His English is very good and his songs ‘Found A Friend Today’, ‘Walking Deeper’ and ‘Play’ varied from the jazzy to the straight folk-pop.  Another act I don’t think I’d tire of seeing. I will definitely look out for Josephine and Playtone in the near future.

Lisa Harkin won the raffle, a dolphin letter/envelope set.


OOTB 26 – 25 Apr 2002

Posted 25/04/2002 By reviewer

Norman Lamont compered this evening and did well trying to calm the excitable, talkative audience. It was a lovely evening and brought many people along.

Norman started playing only one song due to unforeseen technical problems. ‘Singing Nothing Through the Rain’ was performed excellently and this catchy, tuneful pop nugget is one of my favourites from Norman’s extensive repertoire.

Olle wooed the crowd with his wit. He was on very good form and played completely new songs (to me), perversely trying to sell CDs with his better-known songs such as ‘A Girl Like You’ and ‘I Would Love To Be Loved’. The CD comes highly recommended – Olle only wanted 50p but I gave him £1. It’s worth at least £2. My favourite tonight was his song about wanting to be a girl’s wallet.

Whisperin’ Jill Hepburn came up with her trademark zip-up cardigan and jeans. Jill, like several of this evening’s acts, will be performing at the Cafe Royal on May 28th. This is part of the Edinburgh Rush festival, a new festival by Edinburgh for Edinburgh (see www.edrush.com ). I look forward to hearing ‘Lotus Moon’, with its light introspectiveness, on Thursday evenings and I wasn’t disappointed tonight. The unseasonal but lovely ‘Winter Has Come’ was a pleasant addition to Jill’s canon.

Darron came back for the first time in weeks. He brought something different to the evening with drum machines, guitar solos and good songs that remind me of early 80s Echo & The Bunnymen, which was very enjoyable. ‘Sensible Life’ is a cracking song about breaking away from convention and living your dream. I’m all for that. ‘Be Yourself’ was inspirationally punky underpinned with a pop tune. I like experimentation and it would be nice to see more of it at these nights.

Cracked cabaret singer Rosie brought her gorgeous keyboard along with her. It looked and sounded amazing compared to our usual monstrosity. If we get some money someday we’ll get a new one, honest. Always a singer of gusto, Rosie gave her all in songs like ‘Urban Fox’ and her song for Anzac day (today) commemorating New Zealanders who lost their lives in the landings at Gallipoli, in 1915. Catch Rosie at The Maltings open mic every Wed. from 9.30pm.

Ben & Sally debuted with a mightily impressive set. Ben played a 12-string as if he’d been born attached to it. Sally sang wonderfully like a siren with confidence and power. The overall effect was spellbinding. The light yet bluesy ‘Won’t You Whisper My Name’ sat alongside the folk-tinged ‘Senseless’ with its almost tangible intensity. ‘It’s How I Feel’ rounded off a performance which was up there with the best of OOTB.

After the break up stepped The Alpha introducing the aforementioned Sally on backing vocals. The three part harmonies with Sally, Matt and Mini on ‘You Are Loved’ were intricate and very impressive. The nigh-on flawless guitar playing held everything together and the sound was very sweet indeed. ‘Shine’ is a very uplifting, positive, feel-good song and kept the audience rapt. ‘Postures & Positions’ rounded off a very popular set. ‘Classy’ as Norman put it.

Stewart Hanratty
stood in the middle of the room, which is his trademark. His song about ‘Narcissus’ (‘who was probably a bit of an arsehole’) sounded fine but got lost slightly in the wall of noise of people talking. His second number – a Spanish-style pop song ‘So It Is Written’ – got me in the mood for my holiday in Barcelona in a couple of weeks. A quality gig, Stewart.

I didn’t know what had happened to Scott Reilly. He’d been away for a few months and it was definitely a case of the prodigal son coming home. By the way, is it just me that thinks the parable of the prodigal son is inherently unjust? ‘This House Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us’ showcases Scott’s almost confrontational lyrics. He attempted to get the audience to pay more attention to the sublime ‘Burn Me Up’ by introducing it as sexually explicit. ‘Step To The Left’ was a very funky dance song which isn’t what you’d expect from the man but that’s what he’s good at – defying expectations. Keep close tabs on this man.

Rowinia from New Zealand has been in Edinburgh 3 years and runs her own jazz night (I didn’t catch the venue). She sang beautifully with Joe Wallace on guitar but sadly played cover versions so I can’t really pass comment on the songs. Great performance and looked like a really nice person, too.

Robert Murphy won a blow-up picture frame in the prize draw.


OOTB 25 – 18 Apr 2002

Posted 18/04/2002 By reviewer

Nelson & I started proceedings with ‘Weather In June’. I wrote these lyrics when I was 19 and, quite frankly, it shows. I’ve always liked Nelson’s guitar part, though – very haunting. I like ‘Cowboy Song 2’, it’s so simple it borders on the idiotic. People tend to listen to it more intently than our other songs, though.

First up was the petite, curly jet-black haired, softly spoken Falkirk-ite Jill. Getting us in more of a spin than the Falkirk wheel, her gentle songs and lilting, high-pitched vocals are always a treat. Lines like ‘I’ve been stargazing so long/I’ve missed the chance to shine’ (‘Idle World’) and  ‘I’ve no plans for the future/Despite of that I’m getting there’ (‘Lotus Moon’), betray a definite sense of melancholy but there is hope and light there, too, and the effect is spellbinding. See you soon, Jill.

Sporting a Woods’ no.3 haircut, Olle was next. ‘I’m Just A Fool’ set the tone for his fifteen minutes – ‘a song about Autumn and Christmas’. It was brilliant but brief. His next song, untitled, was so new that Olle had brought the lyrics on a sheet of paper that he balanced on his knees. The paper kept falling on to the floor in comic fashion and I was paper roadie for the night, picking it up. He roped in Norman on djembe for his catchy last song ‘Wrong Girl’. Once more, super stuff from the eccentric Swede.

Dave Christopher made his debut tonight and a top quality one it was. Norman played guitar while Dave sang with crystal clear vocals. ‘Not Walking On The Cracks’ was from a play Dave wrote. It’s an optimistic song written from the point of view of a homeless person looking to the future. ‘Carry Them Along’ was a  happy sing-song written for a children’s charity and I, like many of the audience, found myself smiling and singing along to the chorus quite the thing. ‘Soul Connection’ enlisted the help of The G on percussion. There was some very tasty harmonizing going on with Norman. All in all, a very impressive set.

The G stayed on and got bonus points for dedicating his first song to Nelson and I. ‘Part of Something’ was immaculately played on guitar with a wicked harmonica part thrown in. By the way if anybody wants to dedicate me a song, please don’t hold back – do it. The town of Callandar got a dedication next for the song ‘Two Ravens’. There was a folk feel on this one and a lot of symbolism in the lyrics (ravens vs. doves/black vs. white/good vs. evil – am I reading too much into this?). The G has 4 CDs for sale at £3 each, including a meditation CD. His CD ‘funkycountrypunkypop’ comes with my recommendation.

I Looked Up, the supergroup of Out Of The Bedroom, featuring Norman, The G and Alison burned brightly again tonight. Norman introduced the songs as downbeat, which I suppose they were, but they were wonderful too. ‘Call Back, Fall Back’ had some wonderful harmonising and a longing desperation which was warm and humanising. ‘Crying In The Street’ transports me to Paris as it has an Edith Piaf-like melancholia about it. ‘The Sea’ is the epic song in the I Looked Up set. Norman said it took him 7 years to write. No doubts, it was worth the wait. Look out for I Looked Up at the Edinburgh RUSH festival.

It was mightily fine to see Scott Reilly back in the fold again. He’s certainly developed more than most over the months and years of the singer-songwriter scene in Edinburgh. ‘Press Erase and Start Again’ was full of emotion and regret, though catchy and poppy too. I suppose we’d all like to go back in time to change the past at times…  ‘It’s A Curse’ was new and great it was, too. It’s always good to hear a few ‘na-na-na-nas’ in a song. ‘Free To Be’ was almost happy-clappy and I can imagine throngs of people swaying to and fro in Glastonbury field to this one. Great stuff, Scott.

Norman doubled up for another set and introduced Dave Watson to the audience. Dave produced Norman’s ‘The Ballad of Bob Dylan’ CD and has a website www.dhwatson.co.uk  . He was quite simply a demon guitarist and he had an injured finger! On the subject of websites, Norman’s is www.normanlamont.com  . I Looked Up came back up to play the glorious ‘Winter Sky’ – beautiful, simple and brief – and ‘The Desert Was Better’ is familiar as a Norman solo number but The G’s ridiculously fast-fingered guitar solo was a pleasant new addition.

The mystery prize was a Chinese benediction anklet and was won by Dave Christopher.

*** I’ll have more info next week regarding the special Edinburgh RUSH evening at Cafe Royal featuring some of the regulars from Out Of The Bedroom.  ***

Take care

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