Home » OOTB Reviews » Out of the Bedroom 695 review – Thursday 27th June 2019

Out of the Bedroom 695 review – Thursday 27th June 2019

Jim Bryce

Running order: Roy McIntosh, Joseph Martyn, Majk Stokes, Jonas Cimermanas, James Bissett, Ian Macdonald, Nelson Wright, SMUT., feature act: Jim Bryce.

Roy McIntosh was host this evening and Malcolm McLean was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Roy McIntosh: ‘Old Ford Popular’ – An ode to his first car, this was a celebration of the classic British car. Note: the emphasis was on the “lar” rather than the “pop”. Roy then told a story of a recent naked bike ride he went on where he was, embarrassingly, spotted by his son. Apparently a very large cyclist sucked up the foam on the bike seat. Graphic image.

Joseph Martyn: ‘Lenses’ – his first appearance since 2010 when he was known by his birth name of Iain. Joseph’s guitar was the most unusually-shaped guitar I have ever seen, with some frets on the fretboard being longer at the low end than the high end, giving an optical illusion. Also, the sound hole was at the top of the body rather than the middle. Quiet, smooth baritone vocal. Sample lyric: “you look through / the lenses of your soul”. ‘Gold, Silver and Bronze’ (title?) – searching for the lost chord on this, moving into seriously jazzy territory. A few stop-starts and time signature changes with prog tendencies. This style continued into Joseph’s final song which started mellow and summery then exploded into rock prog. Great to see Joseph back and enjoying his music.

Majk Stokes: ‘No Man’s Land’ – Majk admitted that he mostly plays comedy songs but this summer has turned him serious, as evidenced by this “very dark environmental song”. A dialogue between father and son, with the son asking about the future world war which happened due to environmental disaster. Sung with passion, this was clearly a subject close to Majk’s heart. This was an epic – Majk’s longest ever song. ‘Beetroot Song’ – the seriousness didn’t last too long! His t-shirt said “beetroot to me and I’ll beetroot to you” which was also the chorus. Upbeat, dancy and happy, as well as being human and poignant. 

Jonas Cimermanas: Started with “an older song” (untitled) which was very slow-paced, providing drama. Jonas described his songs as “folky, with a bit of punk and death metal”. I’m not sure about that description but there were a variety of influences on his music. Jonas’s voice sounded strong and clear, with a hint of emotional vulnerability, and he played with confidence and authority, owning the stage. The next song was “kind of a country song” which drifted like a cowboy across a Midwest prairie. I could imagine the landscape – picturesque even with a minimal lyric. Finally, a “newer song” which started with a positive lyric, looking forward to the day, and then examined regret about the passing of time. Beautiful chords, plucked expertly. 

James Bissett: ‘50th Anniversary Edition’ – originally from Glasgow, James was making his OOTB debut. James “plays Scottish folk soul with a bit of funk”. And boy, James was a player! A bit of a racy lyric and a positive one. James performed an impressive guitar solo accompanied by some scat singing. Quality stuff. James told a story of working in a day centre for alcoholics when he was young, which led to his next song ‘Come Away With Me Darling’. Very catchy and enjoyable, James came across as a friendly, engaging, extraverted performer of the type we’re not that used to at OOTB! Some immense guitar playing. ‘Fire It Up’ – about “being diagnosed with a broken heart” but overcoming the affliction and falling in love again. More immense guitar playing, very funky, and a somewhat lewd, humourous lyric all adding up to a top performance.

Ian Macdonald: ‘Baby Blue Is My Love’ – Ian was making his second OOTB appearance this evening, with this melancholy, reflective song about lost love. It was very short and sweet. ‘It’s You All Over’ – about the tension in a relationship, after the honeymoon period. A dream? Was this an imaginary romance? Affecting guitar playing and an aching emotion in Ian’s vocal. ‘I Feel Invisible Today’ – powerful with some excellent guitar playing. Ian apologised for forgetting the words but (message to Ian and all singer-songwriters) your songs are original and we don’t know the lyrics! Just repeat other lyrics or make them up! No apology required. Introspective, vulnerable music from the heart.

Nelson Wright: ‘The Landscape of Dreams’ – a rare appearance from the co-founder of Out of the Bedroom without whom we would not have been here today. Fine, jazz-tinged guitar playing in a 1960’s French-style pop song reminiscent of Brel and Gainsbourg. The vocal was delicate, fragile, half-spoken telling tales of dreams of walking around Istanbul. A confident performance and great to see Nelson in good form. 

SMUT.: ‘The Nature of Love’ – after a couple of appearances using backing tapes, SMUT. showed us another side playing acoustic guitar. A truly lovely voice, and a “bloody good guitar player” as Roy said. Beautifully constructed song, this young musician is the real deal. Versatile, talented, confident and, boy, she can sing! ‘Vixen’ – written a few years ago about therapy. Sung in the lower part of her range and floating right up to the top, completely effortlessly. A bona fide talent. ‘Bleach’ – a mature vocal performance and the guitar sounded wonderful (was it a Freshman?). A terrific advert for her OOTB feature act slot in two weeks’ time.

Feature act: Jim Bryce: ‘The Alopecia Stroll’ – this was a hilarious, crazed performance of a discordant jazz-fusion song. Like Ornette Coleman mixed with Cole Porter. Acted out forcibly with primal screaming. An opener to shake us up. ‘For Suzy’ – a complete contrast, with Jim on classical guitar singing a song for a crying child he babysat for in Aberdeen. Mellow jazziness which reminded me a little of the much underrated Pentangle. ‘No Whispers In The Corporation’ – about the control exerted by authoritarian bodies such as the Civil Service, who Jim briefly worked for, and the BBC. More bluesy than the recorded version, the narrative was poignant and woven together expertly. Played on the keyboard with gusto and performed with the expertise of the seasoned actor. ‘You Are Delightful’ – an older love song which reminded me a little of prime Randy Newman. Short and very sweet. ‘Celebration’ – completely poetic, bordering on genius. Acted out with the consummate professionalism of celebrated performer. A rollercoaster of emotion, pathos, drama and the deep complexity of life, specifically the smaller, unseen and unspoken things. Silence and tears. ‘Oh, Yas!’ – a complete change of mood, with this take on disrespectful British holiday makers abroad as we move through the summer holiday season. This could have been a song on a Monty Python record! ‘Oink/Rosie’ – recorded in 1970 with a band, this appears on Jim’s latest album. A bizarre, complex song with various parts – even Jim didn’t know what it was about. I assume Jim was enjoying a jazz cigarette or two back then! ‘Please Don’t Leave Me Waiting At Your Door’ – a public singalong with Jim presenting a large A0 songsheet which I held up for the audience to sing along to. The next song was a classic from Jim’s canon (the title escaped me). I thought Jim should have sung this smoking a cigar in a silk dressing gown while drinking a glass of brandy. Spacious, reflective with some scat singing – a tool that Jim uses skilfully. Finished with the jolly ‘Hyena Hop’ from his ‘Bootlegged By HIs Own Hand’ CD. The audience participated with mouth trombones and steel drums. An immense performance of quite outrageous variety from a master showman. 

Review: James Igoe

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