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OOTB 350 – 7 July 2009

OOTB 350

It is serendipitous that Darren Thornberry’s last night with OOTB, before he flies off Stateside, is also one of our grand birthdays, so it is only fitting that he compere. Darren enjoys these sorts of events so much, he always proposes fancy dress. Tonight is no exception. It is also no exception that he is the only one wearing any fancy dress, which consists of a wolf mask. Papa Bear to Werewolf in one easy step.

Calum Carlyle
There is ambiguity as to whether the beach-chic Calum is rocking tonight is an attempt for fancy dress, or merely his over-optimism about the weather. Regardless, he makes the most of our covers-encouraged stance for tonight and gives us ‘Sad Songs and Waltzes’, a country song that tells of loss (of course) and not knowing how lucky you are. He follows with a very touching rendition of Thorn’s ‘Connections’, and there’s barely a dry eye already.

A debut, I believe. His first has an easy lilt to it, whie subtle guitar sits under the vocals nicely. Almost Bacharach. His second highlights that fact he sings with his own accent, which lend the songs authenticity. He sings on his third, “God bless that feeling of truly being alone.” It’s an upbeat number, and a fine end to the set. Come again, Nick.

Also a debut, maybe. I didn’t get a chance to chat to her in real life, but her stage persona is timid. Or maybe that’s just when she’s being loomed over by a man in a wolf mask. It really does look like Little Red Riding Hood. Her voice, though, is one of a pure tone that carries effortlessly. “We could elope, run away and get married – oh, how happy we’d be.” You’d believe that. Her second is a knowingly quaint waltz  – “Peter will take you to tea”. Which makes me want to hear more.

Geoff Chandler
Another debut, I think. I confess – I prejudged Jeff, and thought we were getting some jazzy number about fly-fishing. No, what we actually get is comedy gold. His first is supposedly a true story, about a guy and a girl on a bus. He’s unable to express his feelings, “so he sent an email to the Metro.” The best part is that it’s told from both sides – “Some creepy guy was smiling at her.” His second is about stalking an ex – “You were kissing outside MacDonalds” By the end, you couldn’t help but be grinning. Brilliant.

Chapman & Chapman
These guys usually play with a band, but tonight’s foray into acoustic territory begs for a repeat performance. Their first is a heavy shuffle about Scotland – “You are who I am”. We have a great deal of softly-sung songwriters here, so it’s great to see someone with a proper pair of lungs. And this girl can sing. “Do I have it all?” she asks on their second piece.  ‘Yeah, pretty much,’ would have to be the reply. Awesome range. Their third shows off some fine details in the lyrics, this time about a grandad – “He puts on his cap, and quietly closes the door.” Cracking stuff.

Lindsay Sugden
When you play around with guitar shapes at the top of the neck, it can so often feel contrived. Somehow Lindsay manages to make it all sound not only orignal, but stirringly beautiful. Always a gem.

Lorraine McCauley
She has one of those voices that makes boys feel funny in their stomach, and when she sings ‘Haunt Me’, you happily would. Casper can take a back seat. “They sway between the shadows of two worlds.” And the guitar strikes like a clock at midnight. Truly haunting.

Nelson Wright
“There’s gonna be flashbacks and bad trips all summer long.” No, not his prediction, but lyrics from his cover ‘Please Stay Close To Me’, which combines love and Class A drugs. Naturally. Who knew of his wild past?

Jim Igoe
He starts with an OOTB classic – ‘Listening To The Flaming Lips’ Good to hear covers of other OOTBers. For his second trick, he brings out a piece he’s written specially – ‘No Wonderwall’. Given the title, and that the lyrics feature “last month, OOTB had a bump with a musical celebrity” you can probably work out who it’s about. Genius, and a great singalong.

Sam and Hannah
“One of us will die inside these arms” The first time I’ve seen this pair, and I see what people are on about. Perfect close harmonies that fit so well, it sounds like one enveloping instrument. Not easy to do, and very well done.

He begins with ‘Give A Little Love’ by Noah and the Whale. Good stuff. His second is a high-register Bon Iver number. He claims it’s out of his range, but he copes admirably. The awesome drone sounds from the guitar actually feel like being licked by a whale. Mmm. His third is a Neil Young song. Popular enough choice to start with, but improved by the fact that Cam is actually a much better singer than Young. If you’re going to do a cover, may as well improve it!

Thorn cannot effuse more about this guy, and you can see why. This song is creeping and infectious – “So I know just what to do with your life.” Good stuff. Please search for Kazookeylele on YouTube. You will not regret it.

Rob Sproul-Cran
Here’s what Sam Barber had to say about me: His first song is Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Only Livin’ Boy In New York.’ It is subtle and heartfelt, and dedicated to Darren Thornberry. His second, dedicated to Calum Carlyle, is a cover of his ‘Glad Rags’. It features beefy power chords and power hollerin’ [and only one line of the lyrics]. Dynamic.

Her vocals trampoline all over the place (in a good way), as she sings “Look into your eyes – there’s something missing.” She has a great presence on stage. The performance is sultry but ballsy.

‘Kitten In A Bong’ is a true story! I’d never quite believed him, but sure enough – look on the internet. “A nun-bong-kitten song”, ‘Waiting’ is dedicated to Calum Carlyle and Darren Thornberry, and has to be one of his more obscure gags – you wait through the 5 minute intro for the song to start, and… that’s it. For his last, he pulls out one of the medleys he’s becoming so used to – he has to play these for crowd pleasing – so tonight it’s Bad Blues and Mutant Zombies. If U2 could whip up this sort of crowd involvment, they might actually start playing some reasonably sized venues.

Sam Barber
Gives us a fine cover of ‘Way Down In The Hole’, by Tom Waits. It’s sung as lively blues. Next, Sam proves himself to be a total legend, with the Huey Lewis and The News classic ‘Power of Love’. The audience were instantly back on their skateboards, hitching a ride on the back of a passing truck. Superb. Finally, ‘Notes for a Speech’ provides a change of pace. “You took my finest hour, and crushed it like a flower.” Excellent cover choices, and a cracking set.

Cameron Phair
A confident cover of The Smiths, who he clearly holds in the highest esteem – “It’s the bomb that’ll bring us together”. ‘Sparks’ by Coldplay is heartfelt, and a fine choice. All the girls start to cry. This is nothing, however, compared to the sheer joy that is ‘Disco 2000’. He enraptures the crowd, well this reviewer at least, and carries them along on a wave of elation. And he gives it his all. Top banana.

Julien Pearly
Accompanied by Lindsay Sugden tonight, Julien sings the ‘Franglish’ tune ‘Everyone Kisses a Stranger’. Amazing what you can get away with if you’re French, clearly. It is good to see Julien back at OOTB, and it’s a fine end to the night.

We’ll see you at OOTB 400.

Geoff Chandler

One Comment

  1. Ping from Jim Igoe:

    Excellent review Rob. I’ll try to keep my review as compact and bijou next week.

    One thing – Geoff Chandler played OOTB in the Waverley Bar days. About 2003 I believe. It’s been a long hiatus but it was great to see him back and as entertaining as ever.

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