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OOTB 329 – 29th January 2009

Out of the Bedroom 329 29th January 2009 – This turned out, though we didn’t know it at the time, to be the final OOTB at the Canon’s Gait. It was cold but it was great fun. A full list of very good performers tonight, here’s a look at my review of the proceedings:

1. Gerry – Gerry starts the evening off with some nice floaty music, his songs have a lovely warm feel, with his full sounding chords and rich voice. His second song’s the bounciest in my opinion, he says it’s about “one of those times you go and pull someone in the office you’re not meant to”, fair enough! He cheerfully carries on through several minor technical hitches, good job!

2. Angel Conversations – I saw their Secret CDs appearance last year, and it was interesting to see them as a duo tonight, both rugged up warmly against the cold, they take the stage and play some emotional folk ballads for us. Nice foot tapping stuff, their final songs has a little lean towards Portishead territory which i quite enjoyed.

3. Duncan Drever – He’s been along to OOTB a few times now, and he’s always entertaining. He tells us his first song “doesn’t have a name… doesn’t have a name yet… it’s good though!” Duncan has a very distinctive singing voice and good solid songwriting. His first song was a lovely creamy pop song which (name or not) was clearly entitled “Cynical Like Me”. His second song (also unnamed!, but clearly (to me anyway) titled “The Ice Fields of Newfoundland”) is a jaunty folk song about life on the sea. Nice rich chords. It’s the first of several sea-related songs tonight. His third is similarly folky, i’m quite impressed by the success with which Duncan has included traditional folk styles into his music in an original and modern way.

4. Dave – Dave’s all the way from sunny Dundee, and i for one appreciate him making the journey! His music is really rock music, the sort of thinking rock music we were hearing in the 1990s. He sits cross legged on the stage and plays us a heavy song that’s more like MTV unplugged than acoustic folk. Great to hear rock-based songs at OOTB. his second, “Questions” has what Dave says is “a pointless intro”, anoher fast acoustic rock number. He’s a man with a message, politics, TV, God, he doesn’t shy from weighty issues. His second song has an enormous power chorus in the middle that develops into some metal style rapping! His third is a scathing criticism of certain aspects of the music industry, i’d like to hear Dave with a band, though he does well without one!

5. James (squashee) – James plays us an incredibly smooth song, entirely in what i think may be Spanish! Pretty captivating, anyway. Calum Haddow comments afterwards: “i’m not sure but i think that’s what sex sounds like”…

Which brings us to the intermission, it must have been dangerously overcrowded because OOTB took the extreme step of playing Frank Sinatra songs at high volume during the intermission, a decision that can only have been made in order to try and thin the audience down a bit, but it didn’t seem to work because virtually everybody came back for round two, which began promptly with…..

6. Mayhew – a four piece band. Two guitars, a cello and a female vocalist, their sound is beautiful as you’d imagine. their singer has a lovely rich voice. The band makes very good use of dynamics through their songs, the texture of their music is a bit like cycling through a hilly landscape on a slightly breezy summer’s day. Their second has more of a groove to it, and the singing gravitates a little in the direction of Morcheeba, on a good day! They come across very professionally. Their third would maybe be described as complex folk, perhaps. These guys remind me a touch of Eagleowl, which is certainly no bad thing.

7. Rossco Galloway and the Chans – our featured act of the evening. I haven’t seen ossco Galloway for some time, i don’t think, except for last week when he was doing an admirable job of playing percussion for Tica Douglas. Anyway, tonight he and one other play us some songs accompanied by guitar and organ. He tells us we’re hearing “one half of the Chans”.

Rossco has a rich and very listenable baritone voice, and his first song, “Fishwives’ Tale” is quite a mysterious song, creating a powerful effect, a little like a Scottish David Bridie. His second, he says, “is a song about humans rather than sea life”. It’s another engaging and interesting song, Rossco carries on through his set giving us more songs which make you want to listen, accentuated by his slightly exotic highlands/islands accent. His fourth, a song about geese(!), has a slightly funky, chromatic feel. Very good use of the word “cacophonic” in a song also. There’s something about these guys that reminds me of water, they have quite a liquid sound. In my opinion, the most beautiful song of the set was their fifth, a lovely ode to the island of Iona. It was genuine and sincere in a way that many sentimental songs don’t manage. Nice.

8. Ross Neilson – Ross Neilson takes the stage with his distinctive 40-a-day country blues voice and plays two songs from his new CD and one from the CD before. There’s a certain hardness about Ross’ sound, though his songs can be quite emotional as well, it really is a form of country music, with just a touch of Hank Williams in it. One thing about Ross’ music though is that it is really Scottish, or at least British, country music, which certainly gives it a different direction. Ross is at Secret CDs this week, and by the sound of it will be selling his CDs for a very affordable price…

9. Stuart (squashee) – Another watery number called “Taste of the Sea”, it’s a lovely relaxed groovy blues song which was up to the high standard already set tonight by everybody else!

10. The Victorians – Offbeat. Very engaging. The singer begins by shaking hands with about two thirds of the audience while the guitarist plays a long introduction to their first number, which includes a quick explanation to the audience that their set is the musical equivalent of a naff attempt to get into our pants. The style is Noel Coward type crooning, replete with dodgy poses with the microphone stand. One other feature of this performance was the singer ranging across the room individually serenading many of the yound ladies in the audience,as well as a slightly nonplussed Calum Haddow. The second song includes a striptease… This is true through-and-through performance, in the vein of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. “Sweet Tennents Trousers, I Proclaimed”, we are told, and for the third song, we’re encouraged to boo, jeer and shout hatred instead of applauding! These guys are inspired vicionary madmen, good work!

11. Bobby – I really like Bobby’s songs. This’ll be the second time i’ve seen him though i think he’s been along more times than that. Before he comes on, Bobby wins a “sexy santa outfit in tonight’s raffle, well it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry! He begins with a song called “Aff Duty Annie” which he sings with his distinctive Scots brogue. It’s a clever little folk song about a specific kind of unrequited lust. “Five strings on my banjo”, his second, another good solid foot tapping Scottish folk song, kind of a bit like Billy Connolly, in ethos if not in actual sound. He finishes with his stand out track “Things to Do When Nothin’s on the Telly”, which he apologises for! No need! it’s great!

12. Calum Carlyle – I slope up to the stage and play three old songs, Double Decker Bus (To Heaven), Living Proof, and The Sound of Falling In Love at First Sight. Nobody threw rotten fruit, which i always consider a good thing. Then we all packed up the gear, wrapped our scarves around ourselves and each other, and stumbled out into the perpetual frozen tundra of the Canongate, and from thence, onwards ever onwards to the pub, or possibly to bed.

Compere: Calum Haddow
Sound: Rob Sproul-Cran
Review: Calum Carlyle

One Comment

  1. Ping from Dave:

    Thanks for the great review Calum, very well written. I particularly liked the comparison to early 90’s rock, it’s kinda what I’m going for. Sorry I couldn’t stick around for the rest of the night to hear the rest of the performances, you know what trains are like. Hopefully see you soon in the new location 🙂

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