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OOTB 24 – 11 Apr 2002

Posted 11/04/2002 By reviewer

After Nelson and I (‘Bacardi Breezer’ this week), up stepped Olle to the mic again with his extremely pleasant pop songs. ‘The Hedgehog Song’ clocked in at under 30 seconds and had the audience laughing despite the song being about a hedgehog that gets squashed. ‘A Girl Like You’ was played by request and quite rightly so. It’s one of the best songs to come out of Out Of The Bedroom and I can’t help but rave about it every time Olle plays it. The Swedish-language ‘Nymph’ was again aired. Does anyone know if it’s true that you get a deep voice through having lots of sex? If so, Olle must be Sweden’s answer to Errol Flynn (without the dodgy moustache).

Keeping it in the family Anders, Olle’s brother, made his debut using the monstrous house keyboard. He was equally as bonkers and entertaining as his brother. His first song he said was Swedish as it was sung by the band Blue Swede (a US band) in the 70s… hmmm. All his songs were covers (including a Swedish hymn for children) which is generally a no-no but as Anders was on holiday braving springtime Edinburgh an exception was made. Suffice to say he played and sang very well.

Stewart Hanratty is a stalwart of the open mic scene from the early 90s. He’s flitted in and out of the Edinburgh scene through traveling and playing on cruise ships (hence his healthy tan). I thought it was his best performance tonight, he seemed very comfortable and assured. His ‘cha-cha for the guy that found the holy grail’ gave me the feeling of flying above the earth in Willy Wonka’s Great Glass Elevator.

Leith-schooled Lynsey played with fire and passion. She played on despite a cold tonight – that’s the kind of spirit I like to see at these nights. ‘I Am Legion’ has moments of Led Zep at times and that, mixed with Lynsey’s love of comic books, makes her one of the more unusual female performers. ‘Moccasin’ again had that Bert Jansch/Jimmy Page hypnotic drone and was great – I think that’s my favourite of hers so far. You’ll find this prolific performer hosting an open mic at Nicol Edwards on a Monday evening from 10 p.m. and Lynsey will be helping with our night at the Edinburgh RUSH festival. More news to follow.

Our second new act of the evening was Andrew & Kathryn from the band Gingergreen. I met Kathryn at a 50-act open mic four months ago and finally, after receiving our emails all this time, she came down. It was well worth the wait. ‘Amistad’ featured her on lead vocal with Andrew providing seamless harmonies. ‘Screw You Up’ had, apparently, been written that evening which I find hard to believe as it sounded very tight to me. The next song was written from the viewpoint of a frustrated gangster’s girl and was their best one of the night. I’ll definitely be checking out the next gig of Gingergreen.

Freeloading Frank. What can you say? The man is an institution, an enigma, unforgettable, with the most infectious lyrics of just about anyone I’ve ever heard. You sing his songs in the shower whether you like to or not. Until he gets his CD together and becomes the international cult superstar he should be, we’ll get the benefit of his talents in the setting of open mic nights.  ‘Scully’, ‘Bloodshed On The Way’ and ‘I Wanna Be A Guru’ are all simply wonderful, wonderful songs.

Graeme, boyfriend of Julie who played at OOTB 21, finished the night with his fine songs. Looking like Buddy Holly on speed, his subtle, ridiculously effortless guitar playing is always a joy to behold. ‘Go On’ is about being dumped and all the inevitable sadness that accompanies it. ‘Real Life Cinderella’ is about ‘being shagged by your boss’, metaphorically (I think). It’s a cracking, intense piece with 150 bpm strumming on the guitar. Good to see you back, Graeme.

The mystery prize was won by Kathryn Flint who won some Henna body paste. We expect nothing less than a full on tattoo workshop soon, Kathryn.


OOTB 23 – 4 Apr 2002

Posted 04/04/2002 By reviewer

Our website is now up and running at www.outofthebedroom.co.uk . One to add to your favourites, I think. I’d advise that you check it regularly to keep in touch with new developments.

On a foggy evening in Edinburgh town, musicians and music-lovers congregated in the atmospheric surroundings of the legendary Waverley Bar.

Nelson & I got the ball rolling with ‘Braveheart Beggar’ – the amount of beggars in Edinburgh seems to have increased since I started playing this song (my attempt to write from the point of view of a beggar). I don’t think I’ve anything to do with that but you never know.  ‘Celebration Blues’ was also played and these two songs will feature on a CD which will hopefully be released sometime soon.

Norman stepped up Alison- and Graeme-less this week and allowed himself free reign on his mighty musical canon. ‘Jerusalem’ was written a couple of years ago when the situation wasn’t so desperate in the Middle East as it is now. Writing from the perspective of ‘ordinary people’ in the city, it’s a fascinating imaginative trawl through daily life there. ‘New Eyes’ is a sweet and pleasant song with an off-kilter monologue in the middle about getting used to the new eyes he’s literally found. A favourite of mine, the droning, desperate, delightful ‘This Horse Is Dead’ ended a very fine set indeed.

Charismatic Swede Olle (pronounced Oo-lay) treated us to his unique array of musical delights from his classical guitar. The haunting Swedish language song ‘Nymph’ (‘about making love, sort of’) again displayed the whale-calling bass notes of his very fine voice. ‘I Would Love To Be Loved’ is the kind of love song Olle is very comfortable playing and I’m very comfortable hearing. It’s simple, open, honest and a lot of other qualities that are not that often associated with these nights. ‘A Girl Like You’ had everyone in the room tapping their feet as it was so upbeat and catchy. This man knows how good pop songs work.

Rosie from New Zealand stepped up to the keyboard again. She played a completely different set of songs and I enjoyed her even more this time around. ‘The Golden Boys’ is a very contemporary piece about men who ‘never grow up, they only grow old’. Are all men like that? It’s a thought. ‘It’s Nice To Have You Around’ is an affectionate love song about a boyfriend who’s on the dole borrowing tenners and hates waking up in the morning. ‘F**k and Run’ (some words don’t get through e-mail servers) was a deeply funny song about a man who loves one-night stands and hates commitment, co-sung with roadie Fritz. Sample lyric: ‘my flatmates answer all my calls/they always say I’m not there’. Look out for their band, Frak.

Stewart followed up his performance last week with one equally as deft. He opted to stand in the middle of the room which is entirely fine. He has a style that’s very jazzy and the melodies do dip and soar like some miscellaneous breed of eagle. I bought Stewart’s CD ‘Solicitude’ and it’s very nice, although possibly a break from the intense stream of consciousness lyrics at times might be an option.

Johnny was the first debutante of the evening. His fresh-faced melodies and positivity were a breath of fresh air. ‘Standing At The Edge’ was a song about someone on their own, struggling, and Johnny gave it laldie. ‘Holy Therapy’ was a secular piece picturing summer evenings and reminded me of a male Lisa Loeb without the glasses. ‘Waterfall’ was about standing in a waterfall, as you do. Good performance, Johnny.

Next up was Freeloading Frank. ‘Bloodshed On The Way’ is an extremely poignant work at this moment with the escalation to war in the Middle East sadly continuing. There was a musical demonstration on Saturday which I unfortunately missed. It’d be interesting if the fox-hunting young woman who inspired ‘A Woman Called Scum’ (from an advert in ‘Private Eye’) actually saw Frank do the song. I’m sure she’d be converted or should that be perverted?

Vaughan was another newcomer and another New Zealander who’s heard the word on the streets about OOTB. He had an interesting hat and a Captain Beefheart beard and an unusual, very pleasing quality to his voice. ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ had a great riff and if not sure what it was about but it sounded fine. ‘The Man Who Slept For 20 Years’ was simply awesome. His only wish is to be put back under as he doesn’t like the world he’s woken up to. ‘He wanders through the bargain bins to find his favourite band’ was a line that stuck. ‘Tiny Miracles’ again had one or two religious references (there was a spiritual feel to tonight’s proceedings) and the line ‘I’m not killing goats or burning chickens’ would have pleased my poultry-loving cohort Nelson.

The winner of the raffle prize, a candle that plays ‘Happy Birthday To You’, was David O’Hara.

One more thing, watch out for The Edinburgh RUSH, a collaboration between Kin, Full Moon, Acoustic Underground and Big Word amongst others will be on between 27th May and 3rd June. More to follow but keep your diaries free.


OOTB 22 – 28 Mar 2002

Posted 28/03/2002 By reviewer

It made a change to have a mild Spring Thursday for the open mic night, and there was a plethora of musicians itching to display their talents.

Nelson & I came on first showcasing the brand new house tambourine on the song ‘ I Need To Know Your Rejection’, a Scatter favourite from a few years ago. For the uninitiated, ‘house’ instruments are available for all the musicians to use – we now have two microphones, a guitar, keyboard, bongos and egg shakers. We played ‘Cowboy Song 2’ next which I thought sounded fine but not quite as good as last week.

Our first debutante of the evening was next. Peter M Rowan is a well-known and respected musician in Edinburgh but he’d never before performed at The Waverley until Thursday. By his own admission, the bearded one writes at the rate of a song a year and he gave us his last three songs from the newest to the oldest. ‘Didn’t Ask Why’ is about being in love without doubt and questioning, ‘Just Wanna Hold You’ deals with the intensity associated with lust and ‘Chasing The Dragon’ is about chasing a girl whose Chinese horoscope is the dragon. There is an interesting wavering in Peter’s singing which is unusual and pleasantly affecting and you’ll find him hosting open mic nights on Mondays at Whistlebinkies (10pm) and on Sundays at The Blue Blazer (8pm).

The second and final debutante Ian came next. His smooth velvet voice and the resonant drone of his guitar get right under your skin and stay there. ‘Where Do You Go My Bonnie Lassie-o’ told of a girl expecting his child but living happily on the west coast with another man. Bummer. The line ‘sometimes a man hurts more than a woman will ever know’ is very true. When I nick my chin shaving it’s a pain no woman seems to understand. He sang a lovely lullaby, not a lyrical genre touched often on these nights, with soothing tenderness. Hope you’re back soon, Ian.

Derek played us his final set of songs from the future musical ‘Modern Times’ as he’s moving on to general songwriting for the time being. ‘It’s A Dream’ is written from the point of view of the daydreamer character and featured some gorgeous chord progressions. On ‘Low Low Down’ Derek had fitted his harmonica upside down on the neck brace by accident but somehow managed to play it okay showing true professionalism. On ‘Wishing’ the audience were completely silent, focused on the hushed vocal, arpeggio guitar and tender whistling. The character list from the musical is intriguing – the girl betrothed to a man she doesn’t love, the dreamer who she does love and the evil rich man. Can’t wait for the script, Derek.

Stewart followed up his performance last week with one equally as deft. On ‘Out Of The Dark’ he used guitar harmonics alongside some fine, jazzy vocalizing. Next song ‘Spring’ was about a guy who falls asleep underneath a tree. His last song was about being unemployed from the viewpoint of the artistic eye, not feeling guilty and walking through the park watching the senoritas. I’ve been there and done it and it sure as hell was fun at the time.

The G came up a-blazing with some mean ‘axe’ riffin’ and harmonica blowin’ on the fiery love song ‘Sold’. He’s recorded not one, not two but four CDs tastefully displayed in his large wallet at a very reasonable £3 each. I’ve bought his CD ‘funkycountrypunkypop’, it’s top drawer and is written, performed and recorded by the man himself which is mightily impressive. ‘Out Like A Hero’ was dedicated to the hapless Scotland football team who were slaughtered 0-5 by France the previous night. It’s a song that demands bongos and percussion and I shoogled an egg in appreciation. The great Muhammed Ali, Jesus Christ and David Bowie were mentioned and it finished on the line ‘like a star you will shine from wherever you are’.

The G stayed on stage as Alison and Norman joined him for the band I Looked Up. Norman is the main singer/guitarist with Alison on violin/backing vocals and The G on guitar/backing vocals. It’s a new, potentially awesome line up and that potential is beginning to be borne out in reality. ‘The Desert Was Better’ (from Norman’s CD) has never sounded better than it did tonight with a real Mexican flavour. ‘Winter Sky’, a recent song, was new to me and described by Norman as ‘a twee, sentimental pop song’ which is underplaying the shimmering melodic wondrousness of the piece. Alison’s backing vocals and violin were magnificent and The G underpinned the arrangement in his subtle way. ‘The Sea’ was a mesmeric finale; the audience were enraptured more by this than any other song of the evening. It built up surely from still waters into something much more dark and tempestuous by the end. Norman’s performance was beyond question and The G was immense on backing vocals and djembe. I’m looking forward to seeing I Looked Up in the very near future.

Freeloading Frank
was as memorable and in-your-face as ever. Will Frank ever consummate his love for ‘Scully’ from the X-Files? A more unusual coupling I couldn’t imagine. ‘Bloodshed On The Way’ seems more relevant each time Frank plays it as the escalation to war in the Middle East sadly continues. Although cover versions are actively discouraged at these nights, ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ is delivered with such primal conviction (and because it’s Frank) a blind eye can be turned. I don’t know if Frank’s hollering woke the neighbours but I wouldn’t be surprised if it woke the dead at times. That kind of volume comes straight from the gut.

It was great to see the charismatic Swede Olle step up to the mic again. His music is only part of the story as his between-song banter is second to none, hilarious and his English is very good. The theme for his first song ‘Nymph’ (sung in Swedish) is ’18th century Sweden where everyone is wearing a wig’. Some of the bass notes he sang I can only dream of hitting. ‘A Girl Like You’ (a title in the tradition of The Troggs and Edwyn Collins) is a good, old-fashioned love song including the line ‘when I first saw you coming through that door/ I’ve never felt like this before’. His last song ‘Smile’ was an open invitation to make people smile and due to its infectious optimism it certainly worked. Olle is normally a bass player and he’s looking for a band. If his bass playing is as good as his singing, guitar playing and songwriting you’d be a fool not to take him up on the offer.

Lynsey followed with a passionate set. ‘Breach’, aired last week, was sung with a tremendous sense of melancholy, lines such as ‘let’s smoke this last cigarette/I want to be rid of this city by nightfall’. Lynsey’s lyrics are very dense and probably need a few listens to take in (good way to get people coming back to your gigs!). I’ve done a little research on Benjamin Denton, subject of Lynsey’s ‘Benjamin Denton Blues’. His favourite colour is pale blue, his favourite toad is Baron Greenback, he’s a media studies student and is happiest when masturbating. Again this strong is a most hearfelt work. See Lynsey at Nicol Edwards open mics on Monday at 10pm.

Gordon Ballboy
graced us with his presence at the end. His band, Ballboy, are touring England next week and the USA for four weeks in September. They have a superb CD out called ‘All The Records On The Radio Are Shite’ and their John Peel session is still to be found on the BBC Radio One website. ‘The Angels, The Whisky and The Hill Of Beans’ came first and showed Gordon’s country side. Mum’s advice to avoid whisky and playing music for a living was, thankfully for us, ignored by Gordon. ‘They’ll Hang Flags From Cranes Upon My Wedding Day’ was one of John Peel’s top ten tunes of 2001 and who am I to argue? It’s very very good. Website: http://www.listen.to/ballboy.

The winner of the raffle prize, a book called ‘The Secret Thoughts Of Men’, was Ruth Palmer.


OOTB 21 – 21 Mar 2002

Posted 21/03/2002 By reviewer

On a dreich Thursday evening (there seems to be a lot of dreich Thursdays as opposed to any other night for some reason) it was great to have a full card for the evening with four OOTB debutantes no less.

Nelson and I came on first as per usual and played ‘Cowboy Song 2’, a mellow number, with Norman filling things out on slide guitar. ‘Bacardi Breezer’ followed; it’s not an endorsement of the product or some political song inspired by Boycott Bacardi (worthy site though it is) – it’s a song about a lustful encounter which didn’t end up in the romance it should have. It is, as Jill pointed out, like the Proclaimers and I’m happy with that comparison.

Derek followed almost seamlessly in cowboy gear of denim jacket and jeans to entertain with more songs from the planned musical ‘Modern Times’. ‘When You’re Low Low Down’ about a nasty rich bloke (the baddie of the musical?) had a fine harmonica part and the whole effect was country-tinged. Interesting thought for a crossover: a country and western musical. Has it ever been done? Answers on a postcard to the usual address€¦ ‘Moments That Passed’ and ‘Wishing’, both played last week, were given an airing and very pleasant they were too.

Stewart Hanratty
was the first new performer of the evening. His light, slightly jazzy style was a breath of fresh air and had a mid-70s flavour a la Stevie Wonder. Stewart’s soaring baritone vocals created an atmosphere of summer cafes on the Mediterranean coast sipping a suitably iced drink enjoying the sun. The lyrics maybe didn’t reflect this, especially his song ‘about when you realize you’ve been an arsehole for a long time’ and ‘Love Bites’ – a love song for vampires featuring the lyric ‘someday soon I’ll plunge a stake through your heart’. Good stuff, hope to see Stewart back soon.

Jill Hepburn, everyone’s favourite Falkirk singer / songwriter – well, mine anyway – followed with a stunning brace. ‘I Don’t Want That Much’ has a catchy guitar riff with that voice. When Jill first came along her whispered vocals were not always clear but like the best singers she has improved over the weeks to the point where she’s one of the best vocalists at these nights and spellbinding at times. ‘Lotus Moon’ is a song of loss and delivered with a quiet intensity reminiscent of Nanci Griffiths without the irritating country twang. It’s always a pleasure Jill.

Julie King made her OOTB debut though she was a regular performer at The Tron open mic nights. Julie sings unaccompanied which I always thought was very brave – no guitar/piano to embellish the message. ‘Daytime Television’ was a housewife blues – a largely ignored lyrical genre – about being driven insane with the claustrophobia of housework, motherhood and godawful daytime TV. Having watched bits of ‘Kilroy’ and ‘Trisha’ I can empathise with those feelings of being driven insane. The line ‘The highlight of my day is when ‘Neighbours’ comes on,’ conveys the sense of monotony. ‘I Am A Martyr’ and ‘Spider’ were masochistic and slightly sadistic respectively and the passion no doubt comes from the theme of ‘Daytime Television’. Am I reading too much into this? Good to have you back on stage Julie.

Leslie, another first-timer from North America (USA?) played during the break and her piano instrumentals were very pleasant but unfortunately I was flogging raffle tickets and couldn’t concentrate. What I heard was promising and if Leslie comes again I’ll get her a better slot than the break!

Freeloading Frank & Iain came on for their first joint performance, I think. That most precious of rarities – a new Frank song – got its first performance tonight. The lyrics were, ahem, in the embryonic stage but the words ‘Where You Gonna Run To Uncle Sam?’ suggested that may be the title. ‘Celullite’, undoubtedly a Frank classic, was played with customary abandon. The ladies, almost universally, love the song which is a homage to the better sex with couplets such as ‘there is no greater delight/than to lick the cream from the cellulite’. Iain played one of his songs about a sheep who’s had a happy life living near Sellafield being shipped off to Belsen. It will be interesting to see if this duo become a more permanent fixture. Watch this space€¦

Norman Lamont stated off his set with ‘When I Went To Your House’ – ‘a story of infidelity and adultery’ which was brilliant – he is simply one of the finest lyricists in town. ‘Turn Turn Turn’ was a song of advice as Norman feels he is at the age where he can dispense advice! The sort of tune which demanded percussive backing (Nelson on bongo, Iain on back of guitar), the advice seems to be ‘keep your innocence in mind’. Norman’s fine final song ‘The Beggar Of Love’ is from ‘the ballad of bob dylan’ CD (only two copies left – it’s well worth the £3).

Lynsey took to the stage again, tonight she had a cold but she overcame it admirably. Her folk song for modern, complex times ‘Benjamin Denton Blues’ (see last week) started the show, the haunting ‘Breach’ followed. There was an epic, U2-Joshua-Tree feel to the song which built up into an emotional maelstrom by the end. ‘I Am Legion’ with it’s funny tuning again impressed. Be sure to visit/ play at Lynsey’s own open mic at Nicol Edwards on Monday nights if you get a chance.

Claire, who has played before but as a keyboard act, came on with a guitar which she hadn’t played for six months. If I hadn’t played my guitar for six months I’d be a laughing stock but Claire sounded like she’d be playing the thing every day for her whole life such was her ease with the instrument. ‘Out Of Sound’ was a sad song of longing with the lyric ‘I wish I could feel the rhythm of your breathing beside me tonight’. ‘December in June’, a homage to her time in Australia, was written when she was homesick. ‘Portobello’, about a romantic liaison in Edinburgh’s seaside, was sung a capella and ended the set very nicely.

Howard, the final act and debutante of the night, came on to a stormer. Dressed colourfully in green and white t-shirt and light red trousers, his light, sensitive vocals were crystal clear and he played a fine song which he’d written yesterday morning and had already played at Kin the previous evening! One thing, I don’t know if I’m using the wrong deodorant or my socks weren’t washed properly but Howard lit a joss stick on stage. On ‘Mind Over Matter’ Howard’s vocals were breathy and with lines like ‘my soul ever pessimistic and intensified’ reminded me of Jeff Buckley. He decided just before the end to change the direction to an old school hip-hop rhythmic vocal and got everyone in the place feeling funky! For more info and music downloads, Howard’s website address is: http://howardbbridges.iuma.com/ . It’s well worth a look.

By the way, our website – www.outofthebedroom.co.uk – will be up and running very soon. More details to follow…

The winner of the prize, a book ‘The Secret Thoughts of Women’, was David Pajor. Congratulations!

The next Out Of The Bedroom evening is at The Waverley this Thursday, 28th March from 9 p.m. See you there!


OOTB 20 – 14 Mar 2002

Posted 14/03/2002 By reviewer

After Nelson and I got things going with a particularly enjoyable set (if I may say so myself), we were entertained by a couple of newcomers by the names of Olle and Miika. I like surprises and these tall, blonde Scandinavians certainly were a surprise of the pleasant sort. A-strumming and a-blowing, their heartwarming, melodious songs were a breath of fresh air. ‘A Place Where I Will Grow Old’ was a tribute to Scotland where Olle said he felt very much at home. ‘My Morning Song’, featuring some subtle harmonica playing, spoke of lazy days without a job with the lyric ‘I get up and there’s some breakfast for me/My mum has left me some bread and cold tea’ and having time to play his morning song. It might be a generalisation but mainland Europeans seem to be less angst-ridden than us Brits… These two have obviously been playing a lot of late as their duelling guitars were tight as a gnat’s chuff. Look out for them around Edinburgh in the near future.

Rosie Bell was up next. A debutante to Out Of The Bedroom, antipodean Rosie has been a pivotal figure in the Edinburgh music scene for a couple of years and helps run an open mic night at The Maltings on Wednesdays from 9pm and is well worth investigating. Back to our night and Rosie’s music, like her blonde hair, was very spiky in a challenging, thought-provoking way whilst playing a vibrant, pulsating keyboard coupled with a breathy vocal style. ‘Early Warning’ spoke of bitter experiences of one-night stands, ‘Pollen & Salt’ was at the other end of the spectrum as it was a homage to the attractiveness of men ‘smelling of pollen, tasting of salt’ (is that how all men smell and taste? answers on the back of a postcard€¦). Rosie certainly has strong feelings and is most articulate about a variety of subjects. Go see her!

Derek continued to take us through the musical odyssey that is the as-yet unpublished musical ‘Modern Times’. Two love songs stood out: ‘Moments That Passed’ told of a lady (the heroine perhaps?) who is engaged but falls for her fiancé’s best friend after he sings her the song and ‘Wishing’, a duet – which Derek magically managed to convert to a solo piece featuring some fantastic whistling – between the leading man & leading lady. It’s great to see a songwriter with a dream and I hope ‘Modern Times’ gets its premiere at the Festival Theatre soon.

Those young and gifted men from Matt’s Band a-strummed, a-picked and a-bongoed their way into our hearts once more. The line-up has changed to a four-piece with Kenneth joining on bass guitar and he added to the already full sound of one of the truly up-and-coming acts in Edinburgh right now. These chaps are among the most commercial of the acts at The Waverley and on tracks like “Lovers Fall” and ‘Cellarful of Letters’ there were some great harmonies reminiscent of The Eagles at their height.

It was good to see Lynsey back after a couple of months. She’d been playing a residency at Bannermans during February and she’s also running an open mic on a Monday at Nicol Edwards, Niddry Street on Monday nights. She found some time to play at our night again though and it was good to hear songs like ‘Brother Grimmer’, ‘Benjamin Denton Blues’ and ‘I Am Legion’ in their full glory again.

Colin Donati never ceases to amaze with his breathtaking musical canon. ‘Stand Me Nowhere Near’ was an energetic, slightly quirky number while “No Central Axis” was written the previous day and was inspired by a misheard lyric – ‘being god ain’t easy’ – from a jam session (Tuesdays at Aubrey’s bar in Jamaica Street). Slightly Talking Heads in style, it looked at life, the universe and everything from the point of god, and it succeeded in being dryly funny and thought-provoking at the same time. ‘Kafka’s America’ was an interesting culture clash idea song and underlined that when you see Colin play, you’re not only entertained but educated.

The wonderful John Hunt returned after a few months’ absence. His flowing mane and character-imbued face give him an advantage to the rest of us normal-looking folk. His songs are equally as interesting such as ‘Out in the Countryside’ which tells us to cancel September and October and pick mushrooms (possibly the ‘magic’ kind) and is a lazy, laid-back cracker. ‘I Am Totally Resistible’ is a brilliant song about being unemployed, along the lines of Freeloading Frank’s ‘Yippy Dippy Doo-Dah’. The final song ‘Orgasm’ is about just letting go. Great to see John back.

A friend of Olle and Miika’s (sorry lost the name) won a Travel Connect 4 in the prize draw.


OOTB 19 – 7 Mar 2002

Posted 07/03/2002 By reviewer

Unlike the week before, last Thursday was jam-packed with musicans all night, so we had a very full bill indeed. Musicians, eh? As unreliable as buses. You wait for ages, then they all turn up at once . . .

Anyway, Jim and I got the show on the road by playing two songs, then Derek reprised part of his set of the previous week, turning in an especially fine version I thought of “Operation Overload” (“All we seem to do is work/Going berserk”) and adding a song called I think “All For One” which had the tricky technique of switching from strumming to finger picking, but I thought it enhanced the dramatic nature of the song very well. Dammit, I want to see Derek’s musical. If Bill Gates was even half a man, he’d get his fat nerdy arse down to OOTB and give us all enough money to record NOW.

OOTB debutante Darren then weaved his pop magic, utilising an electric guitar and drum machine in the process. He had a melodic, strumming poppy style that worked very well I thought, it was music that made me feel happy, even though it concealed lines like “Your wisdom’s etched into my brow” and “River of life/Wash away my dead leaves” in the song “Sensible Life”. Great use of the whammy bar in the deceptively simple lead breaks too, conjuring great curling phrases out of his instrument. Apparently Darren will be bringing a keyboard sometime soon as well, so it augurs well for more pop pleasure in the future.

First timer Neil was the next performer, and was quite different from Darren, employing an uptempo strumming style and friend Fraser on the boom of the duburka. “Breaking Traffic” had a great high vocal, and “Out Of Breath” used the house capo to good purpose, shifting the register of the guitar so that it sounded almost like a mandolin at times, complemented by the urgent rim shots and polyrhythmic shenannigans on the djembe from Fraser. I’d like to hear those songs again, as I enjoyed them very much, so hopefully Neil will come back soon.

Graeme McDonald, sporting an extremely stylish black and white Danelectro electric guitar was next, and played three songs of pure pop beauty. “Bloody Makes The Earth” had Norman Lamont playing the duburka like a man possessed, he must have been practising, I think. It always amazes me that Graeme can play the harmonica and guitar so well AT THE SAME TIME, he’s got no right to be doing that sort of multi-talented thing. If you want to hear more, Graeme’s got some CD’s that can be purchased for the ridiculously small sum of £3, and I intend to do just that the next time I see him.

Free Loading Frank, now fully revitalised after his ‘flu, hit the stage next, and roared into a superb “Bloodshed On The Way”. His “I’m In Love WIth A Woman Called Scum” was preceeded by his showing us the advert in the national press from a couple of years ago that inspired the song. Up until that point I was never sure if Frank was making it all up, but now I know he wasn’t. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s all a bit complicated to go into here, but the song is great and well worth listening to. “This Song Is So Easy To Play” (Yippy Dippy Doo Dah) closed the set, though what the Waverley owner Ian, collecting glasses upstairs, made of lines like “I take drugs almost every day/I’ve smoked all my brain cells away” is open to question. A storming set.

Stormin’ Norman Lamont (sporting a damned fine grey striped zebra shirt) and Graeme then set out their musical wares, opening with the poignant “The Desert Was Better” which had Graeme doing an Ennio Morricone, all echoing guitar lines as if from a Sergio Leone film, which sounded great. “Holding On” followed, and turned slowly before us like a huge, beautifully painted fairground wheel, it reminded me a bit of Bob Dylan’s “If You See Her”, but it was a very good song in it’s own right, and one I’ve never heard Norman play before. The sound of a late night blues club of “Walking On Fire” concluded things, featuring some great hollering from Norman, and the splendid line “Been a pig in the dirt/A lover a leaver, a liar”, as well as a scorching blues solo from Graeme.

Then it was time for the mystery prize draw, which was won by Kevin Connor, who won a magnificent Magic Wallet. He was seen using it to try and swindle money out of Colin Donati and Frank, apparently telling them to put a £2 coin in it, and “magically” making it disappear. Colin and Frank were too quick for him though, and lost only 10p.

Then it was Stephen‘s turn, wielding a very nice slimline semi-acoustic Telecaster, which he used to set up a frenzied strumming style, complemented by Fraser (again!) on the duburka. The vocals were suitably impassioned, and complemented the mood set by the guitar, the whole effect being quite intense. A very nice ascending instrumental bridge in one song and some unusual drum patterns varied things well. Stephen normally plays with his band August ’81, so watch out for them around town. Despite his blatant attempt to steal the battery from my tuner by “forgetting” to take Stephen and Fraserit out of his guitar, I liked his set very much, and made me intrigued as to what the full band experience would be like.

Fraser (mentioned previously) was then on, and blow me down if HE didn’t have a drum machine as well. Drum machines, eh? They’re like buses . . . etc. (stop it – Ed). His powerful baritone voice wouldn’t be out of place in a contemporary rock band, and carried well in the room. He used some discordances in his guitar chords which I found interesting. Unlike when I do it, he meant to do them, as they were repeated succesfully more than once. Come to think of it, he IS in a contemporary rock band, his band Enki are playing the Bongo Club in New Street in early April, and I’m sure he’ll be down to OOTB to plug his gig before then. The last song had a great kicking drum track, but unfortunately the limits of the house PA meant that it couldn’t be pumped up to all it’s majestic glory, but it was still a good song, Fraser turning the monstrous beats on and off via a foot switch.

The vast, many tentacled collective consciousness that we humans refer to simply as “Matt’s Band” came next, squeezing their three people into the tiny OOTB stage. They’ve got a very melodic, open sound, each musician plays well and complements the other, creative space is left so that the sound as a whole is balanced and sweet. Their use of vocal harmonies was extremely ear-pleasing too, as was the bongos and shaker used by their percussionist. “Cellar Of Letters” and “Love Is False” showed the soaring vocals at their best, the style perhaps the half-brother of Travis’ Fran, but displaced to the American midwest.

Kieron returned to OOTB with Gareth on second guitar to play “It Won’t Do You No Harm”, which I thought captured the energy and style of some of Steve Marriot’s best work, which carried over to “The Fast Song”, which was indeed that, but more besides. He altered his vocal style for the last song, a more Jeff Buckley-ish style predominating, but this time augmented very well with Gareth’s lovely slide guitar.

Well, as you can see, we’ve had a lot of people passing through the silver curtain of OOTB over the last couple of weeks, and the quality and variety has been pretty incredible, in my humble opinion. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens this Thursday. Three keyboards . . . ?


OOTB 18 – 28 Feb 2002

Posted 28/02/2002 By reviewer

After a couple of songs from Jim and I, Jill took to the tiny but perfectly formed OOTB stage. She tried out a new song for the first time called I think “I Don’t Want That Much”, which had the spectral beauty and clarity of a sharp, still winter’s night under a full mooon. The guitar part for that song gave her some problems, but she overcame them by the sheer melodiousness of herJill Hepburn voice, so it didn’t matter. Speaking of moons, her song “Lotus Moon” I thought was brilliant, the line “I’ll be waiting for you/On the bridge/With the kids” being particularly evocative for me, quite why I don’t know, as I don’t think I’ve ever waited on a bridge with children, but it was a haunting image nonetheless. She returned to the stage later to perform “Long Gone”, and she really should have been by 11.15, as she had a last train to catch back to Falkirk, but instead she had a couple of pints and had to leave suddenly at 11.30, and I hope she made it to the station on time. That’s the problem with OOTB; people have MORE FUN THAN IS GOOD FOR THEM there. I don’t think Jill’s recorded her songs, but I for one would be willing to pay, good, hard earned money (or the taxpayers money, as I’m a student) for them.

Derek was next, having successfully claimed his woolly hat from the previous week. Obviously word had got out that we were planning to raffle it as the mystery prize. I don’t think many people play songs from a musical that they’re writing, but Derek is one such fellow, playing songs from his “Modern Times” opus. My personal favourite “Go Down” kicked things off, and was followed by “War Song”, “I Love To Sing” (which had some lovely dischordant spanish-style finger-picked passages), “Operation Overload”, and “Love On The Rocks”, which thankfully was NOT a Neil Diamond cover, and he returned later to play “The War”. I must admit that I’m very curious as to what might be happening on stage in Derek’s musical while these songs are playing, so maybe during the Festival he can get a bunch of pale arty students from Cambridge or somewhere to perform it in a draughty church hall or something, and persuade them that it’s “good experience”. Failing that, I’ll use my imagination, but the songs are good enough to stand up on their own anyway.

The flu-recovering Free Loading Frank stood up next, opening with “Sometimes”, and following with “Bloodshed On The Way”, one of a small number of songs in the “outwardly cheery sing-a-long with a topic of a concealed agenda of politicians untruths” genre. Somehow though, that song works, and never fails to get everyone joining in. “I’m In Love With A Woman Called Scum” I thought had some new lyrics, but at any rate proved very popluar with the crowd, and uniquely perhaps, Frank has the word “rapscallion” in the lyrics. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard THAT in a song before. Finishing with a rousing version of the pro-fat “Cellulite”, Frank showed that the ‘flu can’t keep a good man down.

Riley then strode purposefully up, commencing with “Half One, All Your Money’s Gone”, the sound of a late night diner transposed inexplicably to Edinburgh. He then urged us to “Catch the train and clamber on/Won’t miss nobody when you’re gone” in the insanely infectious “Blue Horizon”, and asked us to “imagine a girl in a nightclub” for “Surly Girl”, the guitar part of which can only be described as beautiful. “Jennifer” finished his set, asking her to come “out walking with me” as he “Ain’t gonna love nobody, nobody but you”. I like the way that Riley plays with the styles and norms of country music, referring to it musically and lyrically but all the time making it his own thing, so that you’d be hard-pressed to classify his music.


OOTB 17 – 21 Feb 2002

Posted 21/02/2002 By reviewer

The inclement weather may have put some people off from coming, but not Derek, whom I last saw play at the Tron tavern a few years ago.

In fact, Derek is so hard that he left afterwards to get the bus without his woolly hat, and if he doesn’t reclaim it by next week, we might well offer it as a mystery prize sometime. He kicked off his set with a delicate love song, and followed it with “Go Down”, a gentle, picked piece but with a serious lyric that reminded me of some of John Cale’s work. “Make It Pay” and “Operation Overload” continued the delicate and melodic style, and I’d have to say that Derek has obviously been practising, as he’s improved beyond all recognition. His voice is a lot stronger now, and he’s developing his own style on the guitar in the folk-pop tradition. Apparently he can tinkle the old ivories a bit too, so I’m very interested to see what he might come up with next. I’m fairly sure he’ll be back next week to satisfy my curiosity, because for one thing he’s left his hat.

Newcomer to OOTB (although he played at the Tron) Kieran was up next, and he had a majestic, soaring voice not dissimilar to Jeff Buckley’s. And for anyone who doesn’t know JB, that’s praise indeed. The guitar playing was equal to the task of keeping up with him, and provided a very effective accompianment, often using augmented and suspended chords to give a slightly otherworldy feel to proceedings. He varied his style for the cockney spoken number “Living With A Psycho”, the narrative of which centred around precisely that, and the consequences thereof. He said he’s coming back in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to hear him again, and any other songs he’s got.

Riley wasn’t put off by the weather either, and gave some great renditions of songs to warm our hearts. “Half-One . . . ” (despite accompanying bongos by me) was it’s usual regal self, and “Surly Girls” was preceeded by the comment that it was for his girlfriend. Glancing over in the hope that they were having a public row, I was disappointed to see that she was smiling, and it transpired that she’d suggested the memorable title. Damn. “Blue Horizons” surely must have one of the catchiest riffs in the whole of Christendom, and non-Christendom too, for that matter. Just how the Devil does Riley play that and sing? Answers on a postcard please. As ever, it was a pleasure to listen.

Audience member Jason won the mystery prize raffle, gaining a brass (no cheap plastic, mind) kazoo in the process. Will he be tootin’ and a ‘ buzzin it down at the OOTB in future? Only time will tell.


OOTB 16 – 14 Feb 2002

Posted 14/02/2002 By reviewer

Before I commence, Norman Lamont enjoyed the 12 Bar Club in London’s swanky west end, despite the rather unusual arrangement of having some of the audience very close and below you, and some of the audience very close and above you on a balcony, so he didn’t know where to look when performing. But he said he enjoyed the whole experience, and there is a chance to get paid as well, if you bring enough people to watch you. I don’t think they have an open mic night as such, but If you want to know more, their website is at www.12barclub.com.

Despite it being Valentine’s night, there wasn’t a surfeit of songs which celebrated the joys of love. Norman Lamont‘s “The Beggar Of Love” certainly didn’t, as the protagonist is “more candle than fire”. It’s the same with his new song, the atmospheric and totally brilliant “When I Went To Your House”, a Brel-ish piece that uses a sense of space to convey drama and emotional tautness. Maybe Norman had had an argument with the wife or something, as he followed that with “Living Waters”, which is an up tempo raging ragnarok of a work, drawing on a bluesy base with a hint of swing thrown in, and is all the better for it. “Bells Are Ringing For You Now” was more poignant, conveying a sense of loss with the melody and mid paced strumming. This man never plays a bad gig, as was evident from that performance and Saturday’s in The Maltings.

Riley and Ian‘s performance of “Surly Girls”, despite it’s sheer melodic beauty and comedy mouth-trumpet from Riley, wouldn’t be rallying anyone to the banner of Love either. Neither would “Half-One, All Of Your Money’s Gone”, with the lines “That girl, she’ll give you the world / One day, she’ll take it away”. Come to think of it, “She’s Looking For A Millionaire” doesn’t sound too promising either. But the effect as a whole was quite mesmerising, Ian’s beats and fill-ins on the djembe perfectly complementing Riley’s vocals, and the prairie twang of his guitar.

Colin Donati had an excellent set, ranging in style from the sing-a-long of “Daniel” to the Tom Waits -inspired “Euphemia” to an extremely original, end enjoyable version of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”. We let him off with a cover because as well as being a pulsing, jazz-picked wonderful arrangement, Colin’s delay pedal was beset by gremlins, and he simulated a delay manually whilst singing. Now that’s what I call talented, and as audience member Bruce remarked when alluding to his guitar, “He can certainly play the thing”. Colin’s singing and playing have certainly come on a lot in the last few months, so I can only assume that he’s been locked in a basement somewhere with only his guitar for company.

Les Miseres were a cajun three piece with a line up of Riley on guitar and vocals, and a fiddle and accordion player. They made an impressively full sound for just three people, and it was foot-stompin’ fun. And, some of the songs were sung in that archetypal language of love, French, so I think we can say that they created a Valentine feel. Apparently their fiddle player has only been Brucehappy1playing it for 9 months, having switched from the bass, but I thought he’d been playing it all his life. The accordion player is equally good, and plays a most unusual looking squeeze box, impressively loud. Their gig on Sunday at the Forest Cafe was bloody good, and I can recommend going to see them when they play again.

Bruce Blacklaw finally achieved his lifetime ambition of winning the mystery prize, netting himself a shiny new mouth organ. Now the fellow’s got no excuse not to form a band and bring them down to OOTB.


OOTB 15 – 7 Feb 2002

Posted 07/02/2002 By reviewer

Before I launch into this weeks review, I’d just like to say that there’s an extremely good open mic night if you’re ever in London of a Wednesday night. How do I know this? Well, I was there last Wednesday, at the Virtually Acoustic Club, a very well run evening, and ably presented by the friendly Stephen Chin. Two (original) songs at the most per artist meant that a staggering 31 performers booked in for the night. I had a great evening of entertainment, and best of all, it was free. If you want to know more, look at the website or email Stephen Chin on stephen@thevac.co.uk . I’m also looking forward to what Norman Lamont thought of the 12 Bar Club (also London), as he played there last Thursday.

Our own evening was no less entertaining though, featuring a fair variety of performing styles and personalities. After two songs from Jim and I, Jill from Falkirk stepped up to the mic and unleashed her astonishingly clear, pure voice onto an unsuspecting audience. A new song was aired for the first time “Words Don’t Matter”, but in this case they did, as they carried the song by the way they were sung. The song was so new that there was a slight hesitation in the guitar playing at one point, but it didn’t mar the beautiful effect of the whole. The other two songs she played are being performed more confidently every time, and are just as good. If Jill carries on like this, then that hypothetical £10, 000 a day studio will have to make room for another performer.

Scott Reilly was next, but as he’s forbidden me to talk about his performance, I’m going to say that he wore his damned fine crushed velvet purple shirt again, like he did last week. It didn’t smell or anything, so he must have washed it. We also noted that orange juice in pubs isn’t anywhere near as good value as beer in pubs, but why this is, we couldn’t say.

OOTB newcomer Ian followed, with a song called “Where Are You”, delivered with a throaty, folk-bluesy vocal, slightly reminiscent of some artists around the turn of the seventies. His guitar playing was pretty impressive too, with a chiming, picked guitar style that occasionally used the more percussive side of the instrument, pinging his strings off the fret board in time with the beat. I liked “She Said It’s All Gone”, and the way he used the capo to vary the sound of the songs generally. They obviously train them well down at Kin, where I believe Ian often plays.

Then it was the irrepressible Freeloadin’ Frank‘s turn, and he started off with his guitar sounding as sweet as a bird. Then the gremlins struck, causing Frank to uncharacteristically forget some of the words. Totally in character though, he turned it to his advantage, and sang about how he’d forgotten the words instead, which amused the audience greatly. After the old favourite “I’m In Love With Scully From The X-Files”, Frank detuned his guitar to perform “Cars” which thankfully isn’t a Gary Numan cover, but a swirling, ethereal, otherworldly masterpiece about the evils of cars, money, and capitalism. I personally think that it was his best performance of that song that I’ve heard, it has a very unique sound and was performed superbly. Normally you wouldn’t say that a song that could possibly be about an acid trip (“The Magic Cornflake”), and a song called “Bloodshed On The Way” would be lighter, more sing-a-long numbers to follow, but bizarrely, that was the case. Only Frank can do this, so don’t try it at home, folks! A rousing tour-de-force all round.

After the interval, Jed (who I think also plays at Kin) played for the first time at OOTB. He had a very nicely-shaped acoustic guitar, and he could certainly play it. An even more percussively picked style than the aforementioned Ian resulted in a rhythmical pulsing of the strings, with some droning thrown in for good measure. The singing was equally good, and delivered with passion, I especially like the song about the Edinburgh homecoming that he played. And anyone that can play an extremely intricate arpeggio whilst looking up and greeting a friend that walks in deserves respect, in my book. Come back soon, and teach me how to do that.

Philly and Callum then came on to the stage, and although had been drinking heavily, turned in a fine performance. Despite “Don’t Kill The King”‘s serious subject matter, they couldn’t resist a laugh or two along the way, and the crowd seemed amused by Callum’s bent notes too. Apparently they’d been in the studio recording that day, hence the visit to the alcoholic beverage establishment later. Gentleman, if that is what happens after imbibing prodigiously, then please keep doing so, as it was an extremely enjoyable performance.

Riley Briggs then performed two shiny brand new songs, apparently fresh out of the box. They wereRiley Briggs up to the dizzyingly high standards that Riley’s already set for himself, and continued in the twanging, country-tinged mould familiar to regular OOTB-goers. Picked patterns and bent notes coupled with Riley’s expressive singing and knack for a great melody meant they were very fine indeed. I liked “That Girl Will Give You The World”, and Riley’s use of 2/4 time to give a different angle to proceedings. If that’s the sort of quality that Riley can come up with in a week, then I say let’s lock him in a room for a month with his guitar and a bottle of whiskey, and we’ll probably end up with the best song ever written. I’d love to hear those songs again, so I hope he returns soon.

Philly and Callum then generously played again to “keep the party going” in Philly’s words, Playing “Teardrops Will Fall” which I hope was one of the ones they recorded, as I like that one.

The raffle ‘s mystery prize was won by none other than the mysterious Scott Reilly, of the aforementioned purple shirt. Strangely enough, the prize was “Purple Ronnie’s Little Guide for Lovers” or something similar (I don’t know, Jim bought it, but it had “purple” in the title), and it brought quite a few laughs when passed around the table afterwards. Mind you, we’d had a few pints by then.

So, as you can see, no shortage of great music, humour and bizarre coincidences abounding once again. If you fancy it this Thursday, then come on down.


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