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Out of the Bedroom 687 review – Thursday 7th March 2019

Running order: Majk Stokes, Tau Boo, Colin Whitelaw, Queer Faith and The Many, John Porro, Michael, Siria & Ash, Gareth Herron, James Igoe, feature act: Ailsa and the Seahorses.

Majk Stokes was host this evening and Tau Boo was on sound desk.

Majk Stokes: gave us two poems from his latest book of poetry ‘Potatoes and Broken Hearts’. Breaking with his usual levity, Majk’s first poem was serious and profound. Sample line: “don’t worry about the small things / and everything is small”. ‘Inappropriate Foodstuffs’ – an amusing take on our food obsessions. Much play on words and his reading was very entertaining, showing that Majk is a true renaissance man.

Tau Boo: ‘Standing In The Steps of Giants’ – a modern take on some of the best of the eighties goth-pop genre, this was reminiscent of Cocteau Twins musically and David Sylvian vocally. ‘Apple Rose’: shimmered with redolent images of lit joss sticks, meditating on the timelessness of the universe. Bathed in the flowers of romance. ‘Levitating’ – textured; a sound that I could touch and taste. Forsaking conventional song structure – no hooks and sonic experimentation. No one sounds like Tau Boo.

Colin Whitelaw: dedicated his set to his guitar hero Phoebe Buffay (Ed’s note: a Friends character – I had to Google it). ‘The Map on the Wall’ – about following your dreams. Folk-pop loveliness with a lyric of sheer poetry. Visiting places on the map in his kitchen to find if they are real. Sung beautifully, great picking; Colin had the audience captivated. ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ – Colin noted that the third line of each verse is the same and there was a single riff running through the whole song. The effect was hypnotising and special. ‘Chips For Tea (Scottish Tango)’ – about going out after work on a Friday and deciding late in the evening which culinary options are available in the local fast food establishments. A classic!

Queer Faith and TheMany: one of the most striking-looking and memorable acts ever at Out of the Bedroom! Queer Faith sang solo a cappella with his strong bass-baritone. He began with a song about intimacy, “we are songs, thoughts, stories”. ‘The Gender Line’ – about walking on the boundaries of gender, on the wild side of life where most people fear to tread. Sample lyric: “let’s walk the gender line of eggshells… there is no gender line”. Thought-provoking. ‘The Source’ – very brave, open, powerful lyrics that went straight to the heart. A very special debut.

John Porro: a difficult act to follow then, but John was completely unruffled! ‘Mean-Eyed Moon’ – a blues song about a time when his car broke down on a mountain pass in Norway. Lovely to hear John’s warm tones, soothing songwriting and a healing guitar. ‘First Born Son’ – about his soon-to-be-one-year-old son. A gorgeous middle 8. Reminded me of an early James Taylor. It’s that level of quality we’re talking about. A class act.

Michael: ‘The Butterfly’ – starting with a slightly corny, blue joke that I laughed at, this was a touching song about Michael imagining his wife reincarnated as a butterfly. Sample lyric: “that’s what comes of wishing on a star”. Beautiful. ‘Never Gonna Love Again’ – a country number about being lonesome. I could have cried into my beer, but no! Michael did not want us to cry! ‘How Did You Know I’d Like You?’ – a “jazzy” new one played in a Bo Diddley style. A sweet love song from the old smoothy! Michael has still got it and would be a good catch for a lucky woman. 🙂

Siria & Ash: our second debut of the evening, duo Siria from the USA on vocals and Ash on guitar. ‘Freedom’ – sometimes a voice just knocks me sideways and this was the case with Siria. A young woman with a voice that is unaffected, professional and utterly glorious. While the song was strong, all I could listen to was the vocal – astounding. ‘Back Into Grace’ – quality guitar playing from Ash and a sweet melody. Fantastic control on the vocal and a wide and dynamic range. Every note was sung from a deep reservoir of emotion. ‘Dreams of You’ – neat picking and strumming from Ash and the vocal was glorious. Siria is one of the strongest voices I have ever heard in eighteen years of Out of the Bedroom.

Gareth Herron: “three diary entries” from a young man who wears his heart on his sleeve. ‘Another Someone New’ – “about being slapped in the face in a nightclub in Edinburgh” was on the theme of constantly falling in love with someone new. Also about the sleepless nights and guilt reflecting on his actions. An honest lyric, if there ever was one. ‘Coffee’ – a ballad about a relationship split with nice picking and some genteel strumming. Sample lyric: “although our souls may be the same / time has drawn us apart”. Love won and lost; more naked honesty. ‘’Next Life’ – about not mucking things up in the next life. Sample lyric: “I’m waiting for my next life / I’m hoping this time I’ll get it right”.

James Igoe: ‘Work’ – this was James’s first new song in two years. Inspired to write this for a theme on work at the Edinburgh Songwriters Circle, this was a reflection on an old friend who had a laissez-faire attitude to work.

Ailsa McEwanFeature act was Ailsa and the Seahorses. ‘Wolf Song’ – a “relatively new song”. Swoony. One of the voices I have enjoyed listening to most in the last year or so of Out of the Bedroom. The guitar chimes with an interesting melancholy. I’m guessing all the songs Ailsa played this evening were in an open or otherwise alternative tuning. ‘Stay With Me’ – at one with her voice and instruments; a strong core identity. The songs flowed and the whole effect was a seamless loveliness. ‘All The Same’ – a brand new song, sung deeply in her vocal register. Smokey and atmospheric. The next song was on her new EP, coming out this year. Her alto vocal used the full range and sounded like it floated on a misty plain. The next song was “written on a hammock in Portugal” which, of course, we would have guessed! ‘Firestorm’ – another brand new song which touched on the nervousness of the zeitgeist as humanity stumbles into the abyss. Sample lyric: “always running / scared of the storm that’s coming”. The next song, possibly called ‘Emotion’, showcased that formidable voice again. An approximation would be Audrey Hepburn singing ‘Moon River’, but Ailsa’s voice is deeper and richer than that. Final song ‘The Centre of Everything’ will be on the new EP. It sounded like a lullaby as many of her songs do, and that is good. Mellow gold. Ailsa has an extremely pleasant singing voice, brought to the fore by her fine songwriting, and I for one could listen to her sing all evening.

Review: James Igoe

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