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OOTB 299 – 1 May 2008

OOTB 299 – 1 May 2008

Freeloadin’ Frank, Stewart Maclennon, Ross Neilson, Many Days Waiting, Gar Cox, Sam Barber, Broken Tooth, Gordon Imrie, Ian Moore

Freeloadin’ Frank celebrates May Day with a lively opening set. Big Blue Bottle   was surely written while Frank was in a different headspace. Buzz buzz buzz! Sometimes   lays bare the paradoxes in Frank’s life. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he will. Sometimes he won’t. Etc. Frank ends with a somber tune about the loss of Papua New Guinea’s jungles to American and British companies taking the land to produce biofuels. This is a class song that would have its moody place in the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. Myspace.com/freeloadinfrank

Stewart Maclennon is one of those finds that give you faith in the open mic scene. Debuting tonight, his style is bluesy, his voice a bass or low baritone, and his chords often minor. I like his lyrics, too. Stew’s last song Lonely Man   has a great line:   tea for two minus one … he does the tango alone all night long.

Ross Neilson is cutting loose, so to speak, after a long day teaching primary kids. Clearly he needs to exorcise some dark, depressing, even smelly demons, and he gets to it with a sad but good set. A friend comments to me that Ross could do with a backing band to really draw out the fullness of his songs. I really like the last number, which is not altogether written as Ross starts in. That kind of experimentation can go really well or really badly. But OOTB is the place to fleshout new songs, and Ross does it well. Myspace.com/zentransmission

Many Days Waiting, featured act Chad and Kim Sasser arrived in the Burgh last September, and their first song is a melancholy telling of their first few months here. Sky stays grey as a newly widowed heart.   On Solitary   Kim plays harmonica and even picks up the rarely employed OOTB bongos. I love this song, from their How Growing Happens   ep. Consumer Mania   is a scathing ode to the shopping drug. It’s a spoken word piece, primarily, but Chad adds some sparse guitar, which works well. My eyes are wet as we hear about the Brazilian mother and her shoe full of children. Alaska   is a cool song about experiencing the 49th state, but I am convinced it’s bathed in metaphor. This is really about that, if you know what I mean. Three songs follow, the middle of which, Lazarus,   is about not letting important stuff collect dust (I poached this explanation off their myspace). Finally, Chad and Kim bow to the will of the people as shouts of encore!   erupt. A last lullabye leaves this reviewer feeling like an electrical charge has shot through me. Myspace.com/manydayswaiting

Gar Cox is new to me. He describes his music as slightly quizzical disco country folk.   The disco is not immediately obvious to me, but I really dig his voice and his lyrics. His second song in particular is up my street. It’s not blood that makes us strong, it’s love.   Words to live by, Gar. Another standout line from the last song: Your smiling face ate my tombstone heart.   Myspace.com/garcoxmusic

Sam Barber Nice to hear Sam and his 12-string Tanglewood again. Sam’s songs tend to be heavy strummers, and he handles the twelver with aplomb, getting a very warm sound from it. He takes a shot at the divorce lawyers licking their chops every January in Over by Christmas.   Sam plays his new single, Sophia   to close, and it’s a right poppy, fun tune. You can hear a proper recording on his website. Myspace.com/sambarber07

Broken Tooth Toothy can’t be bovvered with love songs and sunshine. He thinks and writes about weightier subjects, such as John Wilmut, 2nd Earl of Rochester, the philosophies of existentialism (When all’s said and done, all that’s to come is the dust around the sun  ) and a ship sinking in the Napoleonic wars. Tonight it’s all blues riffs and his trademark yowl. Hold Fast   is an inspired performance. That song is becoming rather popular, as evidenced by the amount of punters singing along, The ship ain’t sinking yet!   Myspace.com/electricwhiteboy

Gordon Imrie Gordon begins with a song of affection for his local bowling club. (Here we fucking go!  ) Tiddlywinks   is given its title on the spot. It’s a quaint, Jack Johnson-ish love song. The best of the three songs is a thoughtful tune, packed with sentiment, about dealing with a grandmother’s illness or perhaps her last days. We see Gordon at her bedside, pleading, Tell me a story, give me pocket money, tell me that I’ve grown.   Good set, hope to see him again. Myspace.com/potsomusic

Ian Moore Ian performs while pissed as farts and the result is indeed not very impressive. Still, there clearly is a good voice and a guitarist in there, so I hope he comes back and gives it another go minus the drink.

Review: Darren Thornberry

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