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OOTB 26 – 25 Apr 2002

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.


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