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OOTB 326 – 8 Jan 2009

Nyk Stoddart- What better way to burgeon in the New Year at OOTB than with the musical idiosyncrasies of Nyk Stoddart. Tonight, we are given a rendition of the new “Calypso Song”, complete with Russian Hat…how fitting. Over consistent strumming, Nyk adopts a remarkable wavering singing style, singing “This is a surreal moment”. Quite. Good to see Nyk is in fine fettle at the beginning of 2009, a crowd pleasing performance as has come to be expected.

Lorraine McCauley- Lorraine starts with a song written in January last year. The alternating chords evoke a picture of bleak desolation, reflecting the month it was written in. Her voice sounds distant, and the Irish inflections lend her singing an air of folk authenticity when she sings of “the wars I’ve been waging”. Really engaging. Her second, “Late in the Darkest Corners”, sets its tone with the syncopated picking of minor chords, and pedal notes. “I will be disappointed” laments Lorraine, before a particularly anguished chorus. Her last is a new untitled song. The guitar line is soothing and underlies the vocal line elegantly, which sings of loneliness, and despairingly asks “What are you waiting for?” of the unknown person who can save her from it. For some reason when I listened to it, I thought “New Year” could be quite a good title for it, not just because of when it was written, but also because of the themes of recalling the past and looking forward. Just an idea. Cracking set.

Lorraine McCauley at OOTB 8 Jan 2009

Lorraine McCauley at OOTB 8 Jan 2009

Pip Robinson – Unfortunately, tonight is going to be Pip’s last performance at OOTB for quite time some time as she prepares to leave us for the bright lights of London. To remind us all what we’ll be missing, Pip begins with “Corners”, a dark brooding song of change. Pip is as confident as I have seen her in the performance, controlling the dynamics of the song expertly. “Footprints” is a more upbeat number, with rhythmic slaps on the guitar setting the tempo. A catchy chorus is countered by the natural imagery of the verses, strung together by the smooth timbre of the vocal. A really laid back relaxing song, well suited to Pip’s voice. Her last “Days”, is a nostalgic journey, with lyrics of mistakes made, and loves lost. This performance was really enchanting; the gentle finger-picking really complements the delicacy of the lyrics, and ensuring the absolute attention ! of the audience. A really fine way to bid farewell to OOTB for a wee while at least.

Hannah O’Reily- Hannah begins with “Vertigo”, displaying her vocal mastery in the chorus, singing “Damn you, I used to sleep”, with melodious acrobatics. As anguished an ode to insomnia as you are likely to hear. “Delicate” moves effortlessly from the subject of restlessness, to vampire sado masochism… as you do. The song is full of intelligent chord voicings, and the vocal line is seductive as Hannah sings of “laying me down”. Captivating stuff. . Hannah ends with “Strange Friend”, a fascinating idea for a song, conveying a sense of incongruity through the means of a conversation with a crow. “I’ve rearranged myself for you”, she despairs, and again her vocal virtuosity is on show, with bluesy “ohhhs” and other embellishments. An enjoyable set with innovative songwriting on show, and proficient performance.

Calum Carlyle – Calum’s first, “Weather in Melbourne”, is a funky acoustic rock –fest, the sliding barre chords lending an untamed element to the rhythm. An explosive start to the set. Following this, we hear “Sleepy Time”, the second song of the evening dedicated to insomnia. Some nice acoustic noodling is followed by lazy sounding chords. This is contrasted by a harsh sounding middle eight. One could almost imagine this as a song that the Beatles could have done, (in the vein of Golden Slumbers I suppose).Enjoyable material. His last, “Don’t Go Away” sees Calum go into drop- D mode, with thick luscious chords. The unexpected key change in the chorus grants the lyrics a sense of grandeur, as he sings “I’m safe here”. Another strong set from Calum.

Alan Young – Next, we have a squashee slot from Alan. The chords slide up and down the fretboard, lending a dreamlike, psychedelic feel to the song, supplemented by the theme of the lyrics. The words are perhaps a little inaccessible, however this may be the point. Anyway, its refreshing to hear someone with as distinctive a style as Alan.

Lee Patterson + David Williams (Featured Act) – I have been looking forward to hearing Lee play for quite some time, and tonight he does not disappoint, giving the audience a master class in performing and songwriting. We know that we are in for a treat from the off, as the first song sees Lee stroke the guitar with a violin bow, producing an atmospheric layer of sound with intelligently used hammer-ons. This is complemented by the mystical lyrics: “Siren you are a mercy on me”. This develops into some beautiful interplay between Lee’s strumming and David’s intricate guitar work, as Lee sings about an affirmation of love. “The Captain and the Pony” is a real foot tapper, and gives David any excuse he may have needed to do crazy things on the fretboard: I seem to remember one particularly outrageous scale being used at the end of the song. Lee exhibits excellent mic control, in the louder! vocal parts, and keeps the listener intrigued by the story in the lyrics. Lee performs alone on his third, a jaunty number founded upon a descending bass line, and engaging runs between chords, showing the audience that he too can run about admirably on the fretboard. “I’m not dead yet, I’m just a little unwell”, he sings. His forth which I guess was called “Long time Coming”, again tells a story of doom in the verse, before a change in the mood in the chorus as Lee sings “I’m coming home”. The contrast between the verse and chorus keeps the listener interested, but the two are linked seamlessly, offering evidence of Lee’s skilled songwriting. This is followed by “There’s me and the sea”, a song about walking along the beach with some great lyrics on show, with lines about horizons coming undone, and other idyllic imagery. On this song in particular, the performance is aided by the fact that Lee! does not need to put on the cheery disposition that the song&! rsquo;s delivery requires, as he is clearly enjoying himself so much playing live. However, lest we forget that Lee can also do ‘nasty’ music as well, as he finishes with a rock and roll romp, with some hilariously bawdy lyrics: “The things you do with fruit/ I wish you’d to me”, being a case in point. This explodes into distorted thrash, which creates havoc at the sound desk. Really good to get a glimpse of the gutsy performance that Lee is reputed for, in addition to the serene acoustic numbers we heard tonight. Inspirational set from both players.

David Maxwell – A semi debutant if you will, David begins with “Can’t we go up”. A quirky chord progression, with a rich sounding guitar, sounds original, and the soft vocal timbre is well suited to the imploring nature of the lyrics. “You’ve got your feet, in the Water of Leith” is a dark observational piece: “Laugh at drunks in the street/ At least they act the way they feel”. Has an almost Leonard Cohen feel to it, in both the sound and delivery. His last, “Killer” was my favourite of the set. The guitar is funereal, maintaining the dark mood, established by the second song of the set. “Sometimes love just falls apart”: Ain’t that the truth. In general, I thought David was adept in creating ambience with his music, which is an enviable ability.

Cloudland Blue Quartet- Good to see CBQ back at OOTB, although this is the first time that I’ve seen him. “We Drove”, is a hauntingly minimalistic narrative. I wasn’t entirely sure what the lyrics were about, but lines such as “I’ll see you around/ don’t worry about the money” were suitably evocative. “Please Stay With Us” also had a unique lyrical style, narrating everyday occurrences in song, with an upbeat tempo. An interesting juxtaposition, but I did prefer the slightly more abstract take to lyric writing he adopted in the first song. Nothing wrong with versatility though. “Blend” was a strong finish to the set. Fantastic chord permutations made the three chord progression sound new and refreshing, which is by no means easy. The lyrics speak of blending in with the crowd in the chorus, and there are some absorbing lyrical ideas on show. Hope to hear him at OOTB again soon.

Rosie Nimmo- “Pavlov’s Dog”’s jazzy chord progression gives the song an almost show-tune flavour. It works though, perhaps in part due to the whimsical nature of the lyrics, comparing the unconditional love of a mother with the conditioning of the eponymous hound. Her second is anything but whimsical, a really raw, heartfelt number. “Sometimes there’s no easy answer”, she observes morosely. An honest delivery, of a poignant song. Just so that we don’t feel to blue though, Rosie ends with some good ol’ fashioned audience participation. A devil- may- care song, that probably would have had the audience singing along regardless of the invitation.

Pol Arida – Paul showcases a proficient string tapping technique on his first, whilst singing over harmonics. No doubt, he’s a very talented guitarist, but the playing seemed to take away the focus from the song as a whole. Fantastic guitar work though it must be said. “Get out of Here”, is an angry sounding palm-muted number. Prohibition is the name of the game in the lyrics as Paul sings “Don’t side with those fascist lies again”. This worked well with Paul’s vocal style, as the anarchic tone was delivered authentically. “The Last Song Ever”, has a menacing insistent chord progression. The lyrics are tenacious, as Paul attempts to blow away the back of the room with his vocal. The performance was committed, and I think that it would benefit form the backing of a band. Nevertheless, Paul is a unique performer who brought a different aspect to the night.

Gordon Imrie- The last performer of the night, good to see Gordon bringing some supporters that stayed for the whole night prior to the performance. “No Danger” is a wonderful celebration of egoism. Whilst songs lamenting the loss of love are two- a- penny, it’s really refreshing to hear a song about dishing out the pain. “Respect for you my dear is something that I lack”, in particular was bombastically delivered. “Broken Bones” has a verse that sounds like Athelete, with a catchy chorus which is very much in sync with the style of indie bands at the moment. Memorable stuff. Gordon finishes with the crowd pleasing “Cheerio”, a song about a break up as emancipation. It has a carefree, upbeat hook in the chorus which refused to leave my consciousness for quite some time. A fitting end to a really enjoyable evening at OOTB.

Compere- Rob Sproul Cran

Sound- David O’Hara

Review- Jonny Pugh

One Comment

  1. Ping from admin:

    hey all, i just noticed that Cloudland Blue Quartet has a sort-of review of this night too, on his blog. go to this page: http://crispycat-recordings.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html and then scroll down to about four fifths from the bottom. enjoy!

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