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OOTB 17 – 21 Feb 2002

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.


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