Home » OOTB Reviews » Out of the Bedroom 664 review – Thursday 8th March 2018

Out of the Bedroom 664 review – Thursday 8th March 2018

A lighter night, a fuller crowd and the best show of 2018 so far…

Running order: Small Feet Little Toes, Ewan Stein, Tina Louise Avery, Khalid and Jamie, Jon Mclean, Callum McKinnon, Robert King, Michael, Jim Bryce, James McGinley, feature act: DB Hews.

Host for the evening Peach was back for the first time in weeks in the form of her musical alias Small Feet Little Toes. Proving she has lost none of the musical ferocity and vocal power, her opener – I think called ‘Gone Gone Gone’? – sounded as sweet as ever. The lyrics were somewhat opaque adding mystery to the theme of the song without dimming its power. The “ooh, ooh” and “ah ah ah” s were sung with a special, raw ache. ‘The Change’, which will appear on her new album, was edgy: swinging round and round, up and down and was full of light and shade and much in between. About a breakup, I want to hear the recording and cry over a glass of sherry.

Ewan Stein, originally from the Isle of Arran, was unknowingly auditioning for the feature act slot next week. Congratulation Ewan, you passed the audition are feature for OOTB 665! ‘Dirt’ had a epic intro, with classic guitar playing in the Americana style echoing the golden era of early ‘90s American rock. There was a story in the lyrics but I’m not quite sure what that story was which is intriguing and would tempt me to listen closely to any recordings. Ewan has a good voice though maybe needs to start smoking in order to get the Grunge in his larynx! ‘You Could Have Been With Me’ was a lost love song, sung beautifully (sample lyric: “everything has changed /I’m leaving you”). Some top notch guitar picking and a super composition overall. ‘Fur Lined Fantasy’ was nothing to do with Billy Idol and Ewan actually couldn’t remember the inspiration for the lyric and this was short and very sweet.

OOTB favourite Tina Louise Avery was promoting her show for Water Aid on Friday 16th March. Tina began with a suitably watery song in ‘River Man’, played on a gorgeous sounding ukulele. Atmospheric and sung in bewitching tones (sample lyric: “water, running round your legs/ running through your hands”). ‘We Perceive’ was a new song played on the house guitar. More direct and perhaps simpler than Tina’s more well-known material, this showcased her impressive vocal range wonderfully well. 

Vocalist Khalid Al Khajah made his OOTB debut with his friend Jamie on guitar and certainly made a positive impression on everyone in the room. Possibly the first native of Bahrain to have played at OOTB, Khalid showed his awesome vocal range and elasticity on ‘When The Quiet Comes’. Reminiscent of early ‘70s Stevie Wonder, this was a moody, jazzy number which showcased Khalid’s baritone and Jamie’s outstanding jazz guitar playing to great effect. ‘Body Talk’ had echoes of Michael Jackson and Prince and Khalid went all falsetto in the chorus! Adding some rap alongside the pop, Khalid acted the song magnifying the already-powerful performance even moreso. More stellar guitar playing from Jamie, this was an excellent performance. Khalid and Jamie – please come back soon!

Jon Mclean, no relation to soundman Malcolm, played his first show at OOTB since we moved from The Outhouse. Egged on by his girlfriend, ‘Action Girl’ was performed for International Women’s Day, Jon having changed the lyrics from an existing song. This was a confident, forthright performance with a really pleasing vocal. ‘I’m Sorry’ was,  Jon’s heartfelt apology for those moments when he says things which hurt people when he is drunk. Hopefully not a common occurrence. I’d like to hear this again to make sure I caught the meaning. Glad to have Jon back at OOTB!

OOTB debutant Callum McKinnon opened with ‘Bottle of Rain’, a strikingly well-arranged number and one of the most catchy and memorable songs of the evening. A confident and relaxed performance with pleasing dynamics and a rasping, aching vocal. Sample lyric: “dreams like paper boats / washed down the drain”. Second and final song ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ showed his finesse on the guitar and was another finely-crafted song from an artisan musician. Callum was a top quality addition to the evening and I look forward to hearing a lot more from him, including an upcoming album.

After the break, Robert King, who last played OOTB in the Kilderkin era, opened with ‘Who You Are’. An ecological meditation on the craziness of modern life, I enjoyed this song immensely for it’s strong chorus and croaky vocal (helped by his sore throat!). I also enjoyed the lyrics about consciousness which chimed with my current reading material – the inspirational ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. Sample lyric: “you don’t have to be anyone at all / to be who you are”. Robert started writing ‘Love Is All’ five years ago and finished it this week! Robert has been busking solidly for the last few years and clearly knows how to perform songs. The message “love is all you’ll ever need” has been used before in pop music but it’s a message worth repeating. Great voice, loads of emotion – come back soon Robert!

OOTB legend Michael played standing up and was enjoying boogying on stage! Michael started with ‘Love’s A Funny Game’, an engaging, simple song with its heart in the classic rock ‘n roll era. Sample lyric: “love is a funny game / it changes, never stays the same”. Michael uses a music stand for his lyrics, joking that, at his age, he often forgets stuff including where he is, asking the audience if he was at the Usher Hall! Michael finished with the tender romanticism of ‘How Can I Write Another Love Song?’ (sample lyric: “that first touch, that first kiss / you remember forever”). A performance that would surely bring a tear to a glass eye.

Jim Bryce was on top form this evening and started with ‘A New Direction For The Blues’, played on the house keyboard. The theme centred on how we make ourselves miserable with our reaction to the news when we are feeling good, perhaps because we need to feel miserable in some way? Jim used musical discordance deliberately to match the lyrical message and the overall impact of the song was humourous, entertaining and educational. ‘Background Music’ was a well-observed song about playing music in a noisy bar. As the OOTB audience is an attentive, receptive one, Jim admitted “you’re not the audience for this song”! Again, a most amusing song, raising several chuckles, and performed with aplomb.

Instrumentalist James McGinley started his set with ‘Love Flu’. James plays a classical guitar with an external pickup producing a homemade, organic sound. No words but the feeling of wistfulness in the early part of the song was tangible before a gradual build up to a fuller, more expressive, finale. ‘Coming Home To You’ was inspired by finishing work on Friday and driving 300 miles home. Optimistic sounding with an urgency but not too fast-paced as we wouldn’t want James to break the speed limit! It was a pleasant change to hear a purely instrumental set.

Feature act this evening was Irish multi-instrumentalist DB Hews. A very gracious performer,he told us it was an “immense privilege” to be at OOTB (we blushed, collectively). ‘Boy’ was the opener played on his very handsome electric guitar which worked nicely with DB’s Irish burr. ‘The Will’ was a merger of an uncompleted song with a completed song – an interesting songwriting technique – featuring some pulsing, rhythmic guitar playing. It wasn’t clear to me during the performance but DB said afterwards that this was about a suicide. I guess the lyric “despite the prayers and pills / I don’t have the will / not tonight” was a clue. ‘Here She Comes’ was an epic. The guitar arced from frenetic to calm and soothing and back to frenetic again while DB’s singing was tumultuous. Featuring some gorgeous keyboard playing, ‘I’m Sorry’ (part two following on from Jon Mclean’s earlier song?) was short, sweet and melancholic. DB wrote ‘Does My Baby Even Care To Know?’ for a short film about robots playing humans at chess.The lyric of the song was nothing to do with chess but it had a cinematic feel. A sweet melody and very nicely paced. Back to the guitar to the end of the set, DB sang a love song that he said was about no one in particular but I think he was lying! Finally, DB sang a song for his dad on the acoustic which he had never played to anyone before. An affectionate portrayal, with sample lyric “he is right and wrong / and stuck in his own ways… a story told in his face in years”. A universal theme… I think that many people could identify with that description of their father. A top notch feature act from DB Hews – look out for his upcoming gig at Sneaky Pete’s on Wednesday 28th March.

James Igoe

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