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Out of the Bedroom 682 review – Thursday 13th December 2018

Running order: Small Feet Little Toes, John Porro, Callum McKinnon, Gareth Herron, Roy McIntosh, Sir Tom Watton, Jodi Findlay, James Kerr, Michael, Freeloadin’ Frank, Jonas Cimermanas, Jeanice Lee, Ben Murray, Paul Hitchens, Will B, feature act: Majk Stokes.

Peach was host this evening and Jim Bryce was on sound desk.

Small Feet Little Toes: ‘The Tide’ – written on a songwriting retreat in Dumfries. Peach was in amazing form, her guitar playing and singing better than ever. She gave it laldy!

John Porro: ‘Border Town’ – a ballad about growing up in a border town. Sounded like a folk standard such was John’s classic songwriting style and some in the audience were singing along. Hints of the great Richard Thompson at his peak. ‘In View of the Mountain’ – a nature lover with a poetic soul, this featured some nifty guitar licks. A very confident performance by John on his second OOTB performance of 2018.

Callum Mackinnon: ‘Under the Winter Sun’ – this Americana ballad from Callum’s recently-released album showcased his quality songwriting in a way that was very easy on the ear. Sample lyric: “when the frost cracks under the footprints / and it’s gone like an old man’s youth”. ‘Maybe It’s The Cold?’ – a modern-day fable of the ennui of the day job, this continued the winter theme. Themes included isolation, heavy drinking and coping just to get by. “Really nice picking”, as Peach said.

Gareth Herron: ‘A Better Man’ – the next chapter of his love story, following on from part one at OOTB two weeks ago. Directing his anger towards himself, there was a sense of hurt and self-pity. Sample lyric: “a better man would have known what to do / a better man for you”. ‘Masks’ – Gareth’s view on growing up in Northern Ireland and one of the most powerful song lyrics delivered at OOTB in 2018. Dreaming of a day when the people will “throw the masks away” for the next generation.

Roy Mcintosh: ‘Car Boot Sale’ – this blew the cobwebs away as Roy’s voice was loud! A fun, unpretentious song about the joy of the car boot sale. Sample: “Sunday morning / the highlight of my week”. ‘The Santa Song (Ho Ho)’ – Roy’s own Christmas classic: he certainly had the beard and build for the job! Sample lyric: all I want is snow / to take me to your homes”. Enjoyable, light entertainment from Roy.

Sir Tom Watton: ‘As The World Turns’ – Tom’s Christmas song, about coming together as family and friends often viewed as the most positive aspect of Christmas. Great guitar playing from Tom and genuine feeling expressed using the deeper part of his vocal range. ‘Waverley Bridges’ – a powerful anthem about homelessness and the long road to recovery. Tom gives his PRS money to Bethany who run a homeless van for the homeless in central Edinburgh. Dedicated to Colin Milne, a former OOTB regular and someone who Tom and others miss badly.

Jodi Findlay: ‘Backbone’ – smoky voice, sounding even more confident than she did on her OOTB debut two weeks ago. Very comfortable on her tiny ukulele, plucking and strumming the instrument to its limit, and using the dynamics of her impressive vocal range. ‘Gabriel’ – despite the angelic name, this was not a festive song! About falling for Gabriel, this had heaps of energy and power, especially in her vocal. More of this please, Jodi!

Jim Bryce: Jim had no time to perform a song, but gave us a short comedy sketch, handing out the sweet chilli crisps and wishing a ‘Merry Crisp-mas’ to all! Time for a break…

James Kerr: ‘Golden Flash’ – about James’s late father who was a leather-jacketed biker in the early ‘60s whose nickname was “golden flash”. A pretty cool dad, by any standards. A personal and unique lyric told as a story by James who must be one of the quirkiest songwriters Edinburgh has ever produced. This was the first of several consecutive squashee (one song) slots this evening as Peach tried to fit everyone in.

Michael: the return of one of OOTB’s oldest and dearest performers, playing for the first time since he turned 80 earlier this year. ‘The Weatherman’ – a (made up?) love song about his ex-wife who left Michael for his best friend 30 years ago… and Michael misses him! Beautiful song, this was a brilliant end-of-year return.

Freeloadin’ Frank: another OOTB all-time favourite Frank played an updated version of his standard ‘Rupert Murdoch’ (“the man who has done more than most to make people homeless”). Sending bad vibes the way of the multi-billionaire, Frank also added Theresa May to the mix. Frank sang this song with venom and passion – a quality performance.

Jonas Cimermanas: with his exceptionally natty, sleek black electric guitar, Jonas played the blues. Excellent guitar riffing with a sparing vocal, this was a song I could have listened to all evening. There was a delicious descending middle eight and the jazz/blues fretwork was first class.

Jeanice Lee: ‘Christmas In C Minor’ – Jeanice drew on some festive classics for her powerful, gothic Christmas song. Jeanice’s own lyrics were written after a painful break up and Marco’s lead guitar added potency. Jeanice weaved a fascinating update of Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ into the piece and her version was arguably better than the original.

Ben Murray: ‘The Bee Carol’ – Ben turned a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy into this Christmas song. Ben noted that queen bees need to be kept above 40°C during the winter and, of course, we need the bees to survive. Sample lyric: “come with me on Christmas Eve / to see the silent hive”. As Peach said, “sweet”.

Paul Hitchens: a debut from Paul who played his Christmas song ‘Nadir Snow’. A pained song with a dynamic arrangement and deeply passionate vocal. Angry, strummed verse and picked chorus. Sample lyric: “it’s so cold, cold / without you my darling”.

Will B: aka Bill Philip. First poem was ‘Feast of Stephen’, about Will’s friend in New York during 9/11 thinking of his new love. The legendary poem ‘Intermission’, inspired by being poets being barred at OOTB, took us to the final break of the evening.

Feature act Majk Stokes: ‘I Dig Your Archaeology’ – and oldie about archaeology that he “dug up recently” (ouch!). A romantic song, ending on a high. ‘Ants Are Amazing’ – an ode in praise of our formidable friends, sung partially in French. ‘Leeches’ – a different beast altogether, Majk is not a fan of these creatures who were an irritation on his Australian tour earlier in the year. He had no didgeridoo, but Majk’s impression of the instrument managed to mimic its sound brilliantly. ‘Bear of Bad News’ – focusing on two of Majk’s favourite bears – Winnie The Pooh and Paddington (Ed’s note: don’t we all love them?). An ecological song based on his passion for tree planting, with sample lyric: where can a bear shit if there aren’t any woods?” ‘Too Much Waste’ – commissioned by his friend Graeme, this was based on a song by The Levellers who are long-term favourites of Majk. Sample lyric: “we’ve got to clean the seas”. Indeed. ‘The Beetroot Song’ – written when working on an organic farm, Majk used puns on “beetroot” to most amusing effect in this love song. Sample lyric: “beetroot to what you believe in”. ‘The Elephant In The Room’ – dedicated to his partner Beth, this was a genuinely romantic, emotional and very enjoyable song. Majk at his best: poignant, funny and getting to the heart of the matter. Had us all hanging on that word (Ed’s note: beginning with “l”). ‘We Need The Bees’ – following on from Ben Murray’s song earlier this evening in praise of bees, Majk also noted that these are perhaps our most important friends. Nice singalong chorus: “buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz”. ‘All I Want For Christmas Is Some Socks’ – Majk showing that he is an uncomplicated and frugal individual on this hilarious Christmas song, inspired by the difficulty of buying presents. Majk just wanted to keep his feet warm! Sample lyric: “if you want to make it fancy / put them in a box”. For his encore, Majk sang ‘One More Cup of Coffee and The We’ll Save The World’, the title track of his 2018 Fringe show. The theme was change coming from the individual, rather than relying on those in power to make the necessary changes for you. An upbeat way to end an excellent feature act set and OOTB Christmas evening.

Review: James Igoe

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