Home » OOTB Reviews » Out of the Bedroom 670 review – Thursday 31st May 2018

Out of the Bedroom 670 review – Thursday 31st May 2018

Running order: Small Feet Little Toes, Darren Edmund, Majk Stokes, Impossible Songs, Startled Bee, Snakeskin Shoe Review, Adam Naylor, feature act: Sonja Sleator.

It was a warm, balmy Leith evening… and hosting Out of the Bedroom this evening was the very lovely Peach opening the evening in her stage persona Small Feet Little Toes, The toes were visible this evening as SFLT was barefoot – well, it is summer yes? ‘The Tides’, written at a songwriting retreat in September, and had a graceful riff, a deeply melodic vocal and the overall effect was one of washing away the past (sample lyric: “I got strong / I am free”). ‘Sweeter’, a love song written when in a bad relationship, showcased a growing confidence in her delivery with clear lyrics and astounding vocal dynamics with muted guitar picking adding to add effect and intensity. The final song was written when she was 19, and was jazzy and Jeff Buckley-esque at times, matching the great man’s intensity with phenomenal guitar playing.

It was nice to see Darren Edmond in for the first time this year and started with ‘Love Song’. Written when a teenager (songs written when teenagers becoming a rapidly developing theme this evening), Darren sang in a pleasing, not overly-strong, Scottish accent. Also featuring Dylan-esque harmonica playing, this sped along like a juggernaut. In a brief two-song set, Darren finished with ‘Ballad of Me and You’ which was a beauty. About young love, family and friendship, this was mellow, evocative storytelling at its finest. Reminded me of Ralph McTell at his peak.

The mood changed to something much lighter with Majk Stokes who gave us three Star Wars related pieces in honour of the new film ‘Solo’. First off was a short poem ‘Star Wars’ which celebrated May 4th – a couple of OOTBs too late but still, just, in May. ‘These Are Not The Droids You Are Looking For’ was a nod to a certain U2 song with a similar title and melody. Very short and sweet – I’m sure Obi-Wan Kenobi would approve! The bawdy ‘I Want To Fly Your Millenium Falcon’, written when he was 19 (theme!), was a space age punk rock love song which had most of the audience laughing, including several women who took the song in the nudge-nudge-wink-wink spirit. As this is a family publication, I cannot relay any of the many double entendres – suffice to say it was a bit of fun from Majk.

After a surprise return to OOTB a few weeks ago, it was good to see Impossible Songs on stage once more. ‘There’s No Law Against Love’ – not yet, anyway – was about the raw realities of love and featured a a gorgeous duet in the chorus. Reminding me of Neil Young, Ali sung this sweetly but the well-observed lyric was anything but rose-tinted. ‘Happy Like’ was about a love affair that Ali had experienced in a previous life (sample lyric: “this boy has no chance, has he? / happy like kamikaze”). John’s sensitive guitar playing underpinned Ali’s floaty vocal wonderfully well. I interpreted ‘Another Day’ as the mundane – “another day, another dollar” – and how we are restricted by society’s expectations that having a dull, mediocre job that pays the bills is in some way both good and noble. A soft, powerful vocal from Ali and call-and-response with John. Poetry, sheer poetry.

After the break came Startled Bee with the very romantic new song ‘So Far In Miles’. About distant love but only in terms of geography as the object of affection is “never [far] in mind” and “close to my heart”. A simple, pleasant melody. ‘Rain’ was not written when Matthew was 19 but was written about something romantic that happened to him under a bridge around that age. Some fascinating vocal changes throughout, ending on a powerful note. ‘On The Jetty’, one of the ‘Bee’s most familiar tunes, sounded top notch this evening. Another outdoors waterfront location for a romantic setting, a wistful classic.

Making their debut this evening were Snakeskin Shoe Review who were a trio for this evening but usually have seven musicians on stage. ‘New York 1963’ was based on Suze Rotolo who famously featured on the cover of Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’. Unusual subject matter for a lyric, this included plays on words, such as “wake up little suzie / you’ll see Another Side real soon” (one for the musos). The lyric for ‘1979’ was again based on quirky subject matter; in this case the decline of lead singer James’s family through the prism of Ringo Starr’s late ‘70s alcoholism – all written when he was 12! Evocative, including mention of music of the time (Blondie, disco, new wave) and various song titles. ‘Hank Quinlan’ was named after Orson Welles’s character in the film ‘Touch of Evil’ and this was seriously quirky! Quite rocky, even punky, I’d like to see this one played with the band – probably my favourite from the curious Snakeskin Shoe Review.

Adam Naylor started with ‘Newhaven Harbour Blues’, another song this evening with a waterfront location. I love all these running themes and subthemes! About disagreeing and having different points of view but ultimately accepting that. Fishermen were mentioned but only, I think, as nebulous characters in the tale. A nod to Scotland’s bard, ‘One Small Thing’ was about the best laid plans not always working out, taking small steps and realising that, as an adult, you don’t know everything when as a teenager you thought you did. Very pleasant easy listening. ‘Learn To Fly’ was a catchy song about finding someone who helped him learn to fly, figuratively rather than literally I assume. Perhaps an allusion to his recent marriage? Adam is looking for a band – contact him on Facebook if you’re interested.  

Our feature act for the evening was Sonja Sleator, a young singer-songwriter based in Belfast and on tour around the UK, accompanied by guitarist Daniel. Sonja started with ‘Five Years’, about her mum giving her five years to make a success of her music career. Hats off to Ms. Sleator senior for providing her daughter support for that length of time and being a sensible parent! A strong, memorable chorus and a great delivery – Sonja’s voice has a huskiness which is incredibly endearing. ‘Goodbye’ was about deciding to leave someone who then lied about having cancer to persuade her to stay with him – what a cad. Great melody and a sweet song. ‘America’ was about playing songs in the USA and dreaming of moving there. Great Irish-smoky vocal from Sonja and nice dynamics from Daniel. ‘I Want You Just As Much As You Want Me’ was about being in love with someone but with a dark twist. Sample lyric: “bring the bodies where no-one will find”. ‘Mia’ showcased Sonja’s mature voice and reminded me of Suzanne Vega in her ‘80s pomp. Song of the night for me. ‘Pour The Vodka’ was about having one-too-many drinks to get Dutch courage to speak to a musician. Laid back sound matching the late Spring / early Summer day. ‘Murder’ was influenced by Ryan Adams – great guitar from Sonja and a simple, effective melody line. Very enjoyable and a healthy mix of darkness and lightness. ‘Cambria Moon’ was about a place near San Francisco where Sonja wrote the song. Some enjoyable backing vocals from Daniel and a cracking guitar riff too – I can hear this on a BBC 6music playlist and perhaps even Radio 2. A cracking set from Sonja and Daniel and we wish them all the best.

James Igoe

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