Home » OOTB Reviews » OOTB 342 – 12 May 2009

OOTB 342 – 12 May 2009

Debutants ‘Fitzroy Soul’ kick off tonight’s OOTB. They have a real ‘smoky bar’ sort of sound, with plenty of rock and blues influence on show. Nice harmonica playing as well. Their second is somewhat darker, a gently iterated fingerpicked guitar line gradually builds into an almost grunge-like sound. Some great guitar interplay at the end, in what I thought was the duo’s strongest of the set. The set ends with “Journeys”, which drops the tempo and reverts back to a bluesy sound. An interesting and unpredictable chord progression keeps the listener interested. Some nice lyrical ideas on show in this one; “as my world falls on a spindle”. Some really tight playing from a clearly well rehearsed duo, with some interesting and original songs.

Roger – It’s a real pleasure to see Roger return to OOTB after a couple of months; he is both a hugely talented musician and a gifted songwriter, which makes for an extremely entertaining set. “Cutaway” begins with furiously strummed chords which provide ample backing for Roger’s virtuoso harmonica playing, the harsh tones of which mirror the lyrical content; “I can’t sing about you” he bitterly laments. “Venice” has a different feel, the vocal line follows the staccato riff of the guitar. The lyrics tell the story of a doomed love; “strange love, so young is what I said”. Again the guitar work is highly proficient, with intelligently used hammer-ons and pull-offs. His last is an instrumental homage to gaffer tape, which has some purely inspired playing; most guitarists struggle to solo over the altered dominant chords Roger uses, so to do so on a harmonica in such an unpertubed manner is a little mind-boggling. Cracking stuff!

Calum Carlyle– Playing tonight under his alter ego Caramel Curly, Calum begins with the enigmatic “My penis is a gyroscope”- this is full of observational gems such as “you can get to heaven even if you’ve got a penis”. The whimsical lyrics and Calum’s adept performance make it easy to forget that this is quite a complex piece to perform. A great, fun start to the set. This is followed by (the now poignant) “Living Proof”, which has now become engrained in OOTB folklore. I say poignant because the ‘hippy’ in question now looks a lot less hippy-esque. However, the song is still a cracker, and it had the audience singing along as ever. Again, Calum is really skilled at writing lyrics which are equally humourous but also thought provoking, with some astute observations about nuclear power. Calum ends with one of his new bandmate’s, Nicky Carder’s songs “Ice Cream”. Calum brings out a different side to the song which I quite enjoyed; the vocal is perhaps slightly more restrained, which places the focus on the intelligently crafted lyrics. Another strong set!

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby - 12th May 2009

Bobby – “Things to do when Nothings on the Telly” is a hilarious piece, with some excellent folky guitar. I always enjoy Bobby’s performance of this song, he always conveys the cheeky charm of the lyrics perfectly. His second is slightly more biting, taking electoral apathy as its topic; “Blame it on the martians/ they weren’t even there!” is a memorable line. Again, the use of finger-plectrums allows Bobby to pick out some complex rhythmic patterns, which make his songs sound all the more authentic. His last is an ode to the joys of busking on Rose Street “to pay for food and drink and hash”. As ever, Bobby supplements his performance with a great stage presence, an enviable trait for any performer.

Rob Sproul-Cran with Johnny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

Rob Sproul-Cran and Johnny Pugh - 12th May 2009

1. Japan – this song is a delicate, delicate thing. The guaranteed hush occurs as Rob finds his ghostlike voice and the lyrics spill out in a remarkable melody. I’m humming along, trying to be objective, but I can’t. I love it.

2. The Day He Died – Johnny plays some sweet harmonics; Rob sings “Memories you forgot you had come bubbling to mind.”

3. I See Stars – this may be Rob’s strongest song. It has grown on me a lot over the past couple of months. The live version tonight is a beast and shows off their collaborative talent. But still, you MUST hear Rob’s immense recording at www.myspace.com/robsproulcran

4. A Nice Day at the Beach – Very cool and yes breezy tune with interesting chords. Johnny unleashes the monster of rock and the duo hits their stride. Awesome.

For the last two songs, Rob stands alone and brings out some very special stuff.

5. The rock song with unintelligible lyrics. There is a Zeppelin-flavored beat throughout and while I cannot understand the words I don’t care because I am filled with surprised glee at the sound of Rob’s blues. This is what makes him standout – the ability to stop your heart with one lilting song and then plunge a needle full of adrenaline into it with the next.

6. Father. So quiet tonight that I strain to hear what’s being said. This short, quizzical, lovely song always gives me a knot in my throat. I’m afraid to know what it’s about.

Wonderful set from someone who will go far. Were you lucky enough to have his website written on your arm?

Nicky Carder and Calum Carlyle

2/3 of the new supergroup around town Neoviolet take to the stage for a couple of numbers next. Although they have only begun playing relatively recent, their first song shows that their collaboration has all the ingredients for success. Calum’s assured musicianship compliments Nicky’s natural songwriting extremely well. “The Train Station Song” is another example of this; Calum’s accompaniment is never overbearing, and adds depth to the song which allows Nicky to really let rip in the vocal. Some great harmonies as well. I very much look forward to hearing a full gig from this outfit very soon.

Jim Whyte

A quick squashee from Jim next who provides us with a tub-thumping new song. I’ve never heard Jim sing like this before, and I must say it’s absolutely brilliant! Great to hear him doing angry bluesy stuff! Its a cracking song as well packed with (self referencing) nautical imagery. Good to see that Jim is on fine songwriting form and I hope to hear some more where this came from!

Jonny Pugh (review by Darren Thornberry)

Listening to Flux, I find myself thinking that Pugh is a songwriter in the Dylan tradition. He’s a very poetic lyricist and wonderful guitarist. My partner describes his voice as “warm chocolate.” Loose ends, written in his angsty period, is actually a pretty sweet song. “Am I holding you down? My love what will become of these loose ends?” Mmmm, pensive stuff. Lyrics on his last song are irresistible. “Your forgiveness when it’s blind won’t see you through. I hurt you the most, it’s true. And I don’t know why you love me, but you do.”

Johnny’s approach to the stage is humble and subtle, and that makes his grace as a songwriter fill up the room.


Cameron’s first is an adaption of a poem written by his granddad. It has a really laid back sound, which belies the wistful tone of the words; it is testament to Cameron’s performance that the words sound completely original to him. Its one of those songs which really benefits from the sparse accompaniment of a single guitar. Great start. His second is a new one, but its played like its been part of Cameron’s set for years. Using intelligently placed harmonics, Cameron creates a dark brooding atmosphere, with long pedalled notes in the chorus. The tension is allieviated in his third with an up-beat carefree number, with a stupidly catchy chorus. “The only thing we fear is love” he sings. Nice, well balanced set.


Another debutant, Matthew’s first is in D. It has some interesting musical ideas (I particularly like the move to the Gm chord), and the confidence grows as the song progresses. “This Town ain’t the best” begins with insistent strumming has some lyrical gems; “They left me no choice/ I stole a Rolls Royce” is frankly close to Shakespearean. Brimming with confidence in his last, we are treated to a good old fashioned rock and roll romp. Great to hear yet another new face at OOTB.


Another confident debut. His first is reflection on the human condition, to which there is “no easy way out”. Again, some nice lyrical ideas on show. On his second “Walking Along”, he is accompanied by a mysterious bongo player, which complimented the rhythmic style of the music well. A real foot-tapper. His last is the strongest of the set; it has a really psychedelic sound, with prolonged drawling vocals which had my head reeling (this may or may not have been helped by the fact I was on my 5th pint at this stage). An really original song which I enjoyed. My only comment would be perhaps to learn the songs a little better to ensure that the performance remains uninterrupted. Otherwise a strong debut.

Cracking night at the Tron, I thought it was a really high standard; see you on Tuesday!

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com