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Out of the Bedroom 694 review – Thursday 13th June 2019

Sir Tom Watton

Running order: Neil Matthew Fox, Queer Faith and TheMany, Roddy Fraser, Nyk Stoddart, Michael Wollaston, Caro Bridges, Jim Bryce, Cameron Phair, feature act: Sir Tom Watton.

Jim Bryce was host this evening and Nyk Stoddart was on sound desk.

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘I Would Sail Ten Million Miles’ – rousing; anthemic. Maybe hinting towards The Proclaimers’ biggest hit? Natural / mystical imagery: “we will fight for our mountains and lochs”. Also, lines about sailing towards the song of the sirens (traditionally not a good idea). ‘It Ain’t Easy’ – Nice structure, strong chords, cute guitar plucking. Short and sweet – caught me out as I hadn’t written enough! ‘Lay Your Brother Down’ – Neil’s entry in the Edinburgh Folk Club Songwriting Competition. Sung in the low end of Neil’s range, this was a tale of unemployment, poverty and, ultimately, death. Powerful.

Queer Faith and TheMany: ‘Whispers’ – graphic, romantic, empowering, unbridled desire powerfully acted out on stage. Unaccompanied by any music, with effective stage props and marvelous make up. Unusual imagery, such as “I feel like I could travel through hell”. ‘So Fluffy’ – Faith’s version of ‘Like A Virgin’? More tender and intensely poetic with smells of his partner indicating happiness or sadness. Youthful desire. ‘We Are Doing Life’ – a very pleasant melody for this poem. Perhaps my favourite song of Queer Faith’s this evening. Beautifully sung.

Roddy Fraser: making his OOTB debut and performing the songs in public for the first time. A musical comedian. There was a tribute to Robert Burns’ occupation as tax collector to the tune of ‘Flower of Scotland’ with a suggestion that Burns employed dodgy accountancy practices. Next up was a tribute to Bonnie Prince Charlie in a peculiar Russian accent. Main theme was about his brutal honesty when he didn’t like the food being served. A song about James VI of Scotland who moved to London to be king there for better pay. Finally, my favourite of Roddy’s, ‘Tortoise’ which was about attempting to unite Old Firm supporters and ending up annoying both.

Nyk Stoddart: ‘Green Monkeys’ – a mellow version of one of Nyk’s better known songs. One of the fastest strummers on the circuit, Nyk showed his vocal prowess by holding some very long notes while shaking his head. Touched by Thom Yorke at times. ‘Milking It’ – another of Nyk’s comedic songs. Brief; showed some neat picking and jazzy chord changes. ‘Someday All These Things Will Make Sense’ – Sir Tom Watton wanted to hear this ballad from Nyk. Some pleasing singing and quality guitar playing. Melancholy and my favourite song of the evening from Nyk. 

Michael Wollaston: ‘Katrine’ – a love song for a woman whose name has been changed to protect the innocent. Nice 12-string guitar: an instrument we don’t see enough of at OOTB or elsewhere. A pleasant voice. ‘Photograph’ – about being a parent and documenting his child growing. Sample lyric: “I took your photograph / I kept it safe and sound.” Not on Facebook then! ‘Mrs. Lee’ – teenage lust song about being 17 and “doing what he was told”. A secret life. This pop-rock number reminded me of classic late ‘70s / early ‘80s chart hits. 

Caro Bridges: ‘Back To Me’ – country-tinged, this was classic songwriting with a killer middle eight. Awe-inspiring vocal with hints of Jewel and perhaps even Doris Day! Vintage guitar picking. ‘Promise To Your Heart’ – about being personally in a good place while knowing the outside world is going to pot. Very romantic with a massive vocal. One of the best songs of the evening. ‘Opportunity The Robot’ – about a robot which lasted in outer space much longer than was expected. Written from the perspective of the robot. Sweet, poignant, beautifully constructed with tidy chord changes. Caro needs a bigger audience!

Jim Bryce: Started with a short story about a BBC Radio 3 announcer who had trouble saying the name of the famous composer Khachaturian. ‘Cool and Collected’ – about a young lady who goes to the dance, putting himself in the minds of young people. Romantic and, some may say old-fashioned, view of youth – I would say timeless. ‘Hyena Hop’ – a most amusing song about British colonialism in the long-gone days of Empire. Mouth trombones and, more tricky, mouth steel drums were encouraged by Jim in this audience participation number. Very jolly, sung with much gusto. Last song had one line: “Well I woke up this morning, oh good!” Competing for the shortest ever song played at OOTB!

Cameron Phair: ‘Here Comes The Son’ – a short song about his son, who makes him smile. Cameron looked a bit like Gilbert O’Sullivan in his pop hits heyday. ‘Sunstroke For Keith’ – about getting too much sun at Portobello Beach, with a few Edinburgh references thrown in. Hard to imagine getting sunstroke on such a cold, damp Leith evening in June. Delivered with Cameron’s powerful vocal; one of the strongest instruments in town, it sounded better than ever this evening. A new song without a title to finish. Serious, but not too serious. Full of life and celebration. 

Feature act Sir Tom Watton: ‘Brand New Moon’ – written on seeing a huge moon in the Cowgate. Demonic guitar playing on Tom’s impressive, unique homemade pedal case which was created out of an old flight case. ‘It’s On My Mind’ – about the frustration of not being able to say the words on his mind. Such a powerful voice, with more top-drawer guitar playing: no plastic pick required. ‘The Twilight Takes Hold’ – Tom showed he could play ballads as well as rockers with this glorious example. Amazing vocal range, hitting the bass notes as solidly as the high baritone ones. Poetic, mentioning being drawn by “choirs of angels” and being “called home” to Scarborough. ‘Fool Comfort Me’ – his newest song of the evening. Opening line: “It’s always a joy / to wake up in the morning” showing his joie de vivre. An epic chorus which was deeply heartfelt. ‘And We’ll Dance’ – inspired by folk song ’The Hiring Fair’, this featured some awesome guitar playing. Tom was an absolute gem this evening and rightly deserves legendary status for many reasons, not least guitar playing. ‘Amelia’ – Tom admitted that this is difficult to play: his guitar wrote it and he’s catching up. An epic tale of a famous storm which hit the east coast of England many years ago. ‘Those Are The Days We’ll Remember’ – written for his social media manager. A fine modern day folk song. Tom did brilliantly to tune up his guitar during the song; Hendrix-like! ‘Take One More Step’ – about going to Tenby in Wales and having a memorable night camping with his step-sister. A pleasing song about family bonds. Tom’s encore was ‘Slow Down’ – an achingly sad song about a couple of friends who lost their lives too early. Played with immense feeling, this was a fitting song to end the night. One key line was “don’t go too slow / life’s full of new things to see.” This was an exemplary feature act performance from start to finish. Sir Tom is soon to release an album of 12 self-recorded original songs which I will certainly be buying.

Review: James Igoe

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