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OOTB 323 – 20 Nov 2008


The Weather Underground kick us off tonight with a song about the singer’s
“girlfriend’s orgasm” amongst other things. The violin (or viola, I can
never tell the difference) provides a piercing introduction, while the
chord alternates between hammered on chords. I thought the double
stopping towards the end thickened the sound well, and maybe could have
been used a bit more. Their second entitled “Matter of Time” begins with
some intricate interplay between the guitar and the violin’s pizzicato,
before exploding into a thumping, rock riff, and lyrics about the
“passions of youth”. The singing style is unique, in restraining itself
where others would turn to shouting the lyrics, and it works well here.
They finish with “Father Forgive Them”, which had some interesting lyrics
such as “The Government deals with the devil’s hand”, over the contrasting
staccato chords on the guitar and the flowing violin line. Enjoyable start
to proceedings.

Sam Barber gives us a quick squashee performance with new song “Catch”,
which is (quite fittingly) very catchy indeed. “I wouldn’t want a piece of
your shadow” he sings over confident strumming. I think this would work
well with a band, but the songs stands well in solo performance as well.
Would have liked to have heard a few more, and I hope that I will soon get
the opportunity to do so at OOTB soon.

Calum Carlyle The newly appointed webmaster begins with an instrumental
entitled “walking through the shallows”. It has quick sequenced runs
through the scales which showcases Calum’s proficient technique, without
descending into over indulgence and keeps a fine melody as well. I
particularly enjoyed the brief allusions to an augmented chord in some
parts. Next, Calum takes to the mic and belts out “Drinking and Driving
(My Car)”. This is a real bluesy number, it almost has a show tune quality
to it. Whatever, it had the audience feet tapping and finger clicking.
Calum has a great voice for this sort of thing, and can reach the falsetto
notes most proficiently. Finally, we hear the techno influenced “Acid
Test”, which shows a different side to Calum’s guitar playing, using
intelligent chord voicing to build up a menacing sound, whilst he laments
“I still need you”. Cracking.

Colin Milne This is a first for me…. Colin is taking to the stage without
his world famous glute!! Instead we are treated to some songs on a nylon
string guitar. “Lunchtime” tells the tale of a gentleman’s affair with a
younger lady. Colin really is adept at creating pictures of the story in
the listener’s head, with great humour as well. “Folks I didn’t mean to go
that far” sees Colin put on an outrageous American accent for some lines,
as we hear of a farmer who had 6 daughters and….well I’m sure you can
guess what happens. Peals of laughter ring out as Colin assures us that
“when I climbed into that car/ I didn’t mean to go that far”. His last
sees Colin revert to “granddad” tuning (brilliant), and a song more
serious in tone entitled “The Attic of the Mind”. Here he sings of certain
thoughts which are best left in the metaphorical attic, such as “The
things you’ve done, you’ve left undone.” Colin carries this off possibly
even better than his more comical material, which given the laughter in
the room previously is no mean feat.

Darren Thornberry Our illustrious chairman takes to the stage for the
first time in quite a while, and shows us immediately what we’ve been
missing. He begins with an absolutely mesmerising a capella, whose lilting
melody would be enticing, were it not sung in such anguish. “Where is the
substance to this abuse?” he asks. This sort of thing requires a powerful
voice, but also exceptional control, and Darren pulls it off superbly. For
me, and I’m sure many others, definitely one of the most memorable
performances I’ve seen at OOTB in quite some time. To follow, Darren
accompanies himself on guitar with a gentler song, with real pathos: “The
wind is without mercy and maybe so am I” he contemplates. The song is
peaceful, which contrasts the sadness in the lyrics effectively. His last
uses a nice descending sequence on the guitar as sings “I just wanna walk
with you/ why is that so hard to do?”, which sounds more like frustration
than desperation. A really top set from Darren, hopefully much more of
this to come now he’s back with us!

Rosie Rosie describes herself as “an almost open mic virgin”…I only wish
that I could manage the vocal control she does tonight some day, let alone
after my first few performances. The chords are gently strummed with the
thumb, which provides a tender backing to the warning that loaded words
are “much to dangerous to let out on their own”. Her second is called
“Nothing to Fear”, which has a more rhythmic feel to it, with some nice
diminished chords knocking about. After a dramatic recall to the stage,
Rosie leaves us with a song about “Letting Go”. The descending major,
major 7, major 6, chord sequence adds an enticing quality to Rosie’s soft
vocal, which complements lines such as “I know that its right, but its so
hard to do” well. A superb (almost) debut, and I hope that Rosie will
return in a matter of weeks rather than years this time!

Furious George 19 April 2005

Furious George 19 April 2005

Furious is up next with a quick squashee performance with “feelings define
our chemistry”. The song is forceful in spite of the sparse arrangement
given Furious strong vocal. Some good lyrics on show as well, I
particularly liked the idea in the line “speak to me visually”.

Tica (Featured Act) Tica really is one of the most unique performers on
the circuit at the moment, so it was a pleasure hearing her give us an
extended slot. She begins with a new song which demonstrates her
inimitable lyrical and vocal style, the conversational approach mixing
acute observations with fine storytelling. Not many can write a song about
being mistaken for an Australian by a drunken punter. Really liked the
‘favourite book’ motif as a lyrical device. “Hip Hop” sees Tica sing over
a quick staccato riff, (which, by the way, is much more difficult than
Tica makes it look). Again some great lyrics (“its not that I’m unhappy/
my life just feels too planned“), which begin with the banal, (discussing
music taste), before exploring heartbreak and relationships, and back
again in one effortless swoop. Her third is a new one, which is a
monologue over syncopated picking, and rhythmic slaps on the guitar. The
long sustained chords of the chorus offer a good contrast, and offers the
song a strong structure. This is followed by “Sandwich” which sees some
good old fashioned strumming, and a fantastic allusion to a Simon and
Garfunkel classic. Again the lyrics are well crafted, describing a day out
to the beach with a crate of coronas (sounds good, especially in deepest
darkest November), a really upbeat, singalong number. “Crazy Bitch” is my
favourite of the set. The bitter words in Tica’s nonchalant vocal is
really effective, and the chorus sounds really pained, but also
incredulous. Again, I am impressed by a lot of the lyrical ideas in the
song, but I am constantly having to remind myself to listen to the guitar
work, which is really quite complex. Her penultimate song is in a slightly
different style which is well placed in the set, singing about karma and
that “it is all about energy”. The set finished with another upbeat
number, about choosing music in the front seat of a car, before Tica
assures herself “things must look up now”. The thing that strikes me when
I listen to Tica is the structural intelligence of the lyrics, which can’t
really be reflected by quoting a few random lines. Whilst most confine
themselves to either straightforward storytelling, or purely confessional
lyrics, Tica is an expert in crossing the boundary between the two. In
conjunction with her unique singing style, this causes the listener to
become totally immersed in her songs. Tonight was no exception, as we
heard a polished, versatile, and thought provoking set.

Not Andy begins with a protest song about those killed in war. Really
powerful stuff as he begs “let no more names be added”. I believe this
refers to a wall in Stafford according to ( not) Andy if I remember
correctly. This is followed by “The Ballad of Bob and Rose”, who make
“sweet music all of the time”. Good for them. This song had a good tempo,
but did sometimes rush the vocal. Really did get the foot tapping though,
and the lyrics told a convincing tale. The set finishes with what I
thought was the strongest song overall, “50 things to do before I die”
about “being pissed off“. This sees (not) Andy let rip with a rockier
sounding riff, and an anger which strengthened the vocal line. “I’ve found
a new website” he sings confidently, before listing the eponymous 50
things. Nice idea for a song, and well delivered.

Henrik (debut). This debutant begins with a song he wrote for an ex
girlfriend. The dom 7 chords lend a bluesy feel to the swaggering punchy
lick. There is a touch of the Jimi Hendrix to the part in which he sings
“It’ll all blow over”. This is followed by “Strawberries and Cream”, which
in spite of the pastoral title, mutates into a menacing, snarling
rant….albeit minus a tuba. This lamentable state of affairs is soon put
right in his final song “A wee waltz”, where a small orchestra of OOTB
members provide a tuba sound at the appropriate juncture (I wish someone
form the bar had walked in at this point). The song itself was written in
the rhythm and style of a waltz, which gives the song an almost cabaret
feel. A strong and memorable debut performance.

Martin Brooks (debut) Martin’s first is about the Bermudan tradition of
catching a shark, and using its oil to tell whether its going to be
stormy….music and cultural education tonight! The song is folky, and
suitably off wall given the subject matter. “White Rabbit” has some
interesting imagery, with lines about “electric fences”, before asking
“have you cast a spell on me?”. Not entirely sure what it was about, but
this may well be the point. His last is about Ospreys (the birds I
presume, not the rugby team), again using natural imagery, over some
delicate runs between the chords. An intriguing performance, and with the
confidence that will come from future outings, I think Martin will develop
into a really unique, quirky performer.

Cameron begins the long line of squashees that finishes the evening. He
plays a song of his brother’s (which I for one can’t complain about) which
is a pleasant listen, and provides a good platform for Cameron’s strong
voice. Don’t know the original, but Cameron gives a hearty rendition.
Would like to hear one of his own soon!

Rosie returned to the stage for the third time of the evening. Her song
has a warm timbre, with a nice spider/fly metaphor. “Have I ever told you
how wonderful you are?”, she sings softly. I can almost imagine this as a
Morcheeba, trip hop sort of song. Nice one.

Toby (debut) Toby gives us a song about a young lady, hope and whiskey.
“Angel’s share” is a cracking lyrical idea for a metaphor about lost love,
and Toby give a really strong performance. From the Ryan Adams school of
songwriters, I hope to hear a full set from him soon.

Nicky finishes the evening with “In Hiding”. This was a really raw,
assured performance. The song would sound great with a band, but tonight
Nicky takes up the stage and the song completely by herself, given the
great power in her voice. She is getting better each time I see her. Look
out for what I’m certain will be an explosive featured act slot from her
in December!

Compere: Jim Whyte
Sound: Daniel Davis

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