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Out of the Bedroom 697 review – Thursday 25th July 2019

Queer Faith and TheMany

Running order: Tau Boo, Tina Louise Avery, Jane Knightingale, Kirsty Heggie, Neil Matthew Fox, Nyk Stoddart, James Igoe, Beth Myers, Ross Neilson, Finley (Slate House) feature act: Queer Faith and TheMany.

Tina Avery was host this evening and Tau Boo was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Tau Boo: Long, chiming, slow-paced introduction – just right for a warm summer’s evening. Mellow, all-enveloping sound and a booming, glorious voice that has improved with age. Tau Boo is an artiste, playing original and niche music that makes him stand out. Song 2 began atmospherically; his guitar reverbing like a 12-strong or perhaps a mini string section. Lyrics were fairly impenetrable but the voice was more like another instrument than the deliverer of a message. What I heard was romantic: “take me to a room” and “she entices me”. There is only one Tau Boo.

Tina Louise Avery: ‘The Shadow’ – Tina sung this song based on ‘Little Dorrit’ round the campfire while on her recent camping holiday. Lovely to hear Tina’s voice shining like a beacon in her first OOTB appearance in months. Pretty picking and deep symbolism, e.g. “to serve the shadow is more precious than jewels or gold”. ‘13 Minutes To The Moon’ – not sure if that was the title but it was based on a recent BBC radio documentary. Tina described it as “silly” but it was more fun with mouth trumpet and some philosophy thrown in. Nice return.

Jane Knightingale: first song was looking at two sides of the moon debate: the lunar side and the loony side. Phenomenal guitar playing and singing with a strong political slant, such as “what’s so good about London?” and “put every politician on the dole”. Also a very personal political. ‘Sandy Boy’ – about small children and the affection you feel for them. The sweetest song to be heard all evening, the guitar playing alone was making me feel quite emotional. A deeply affecting vocal from the artist formerly known as Nobody Jones.

Kirsty Heggie: ‘If You’re Feeling Lucky, Cold Turkey’ – describing herself as “a mix of Amy Winehouse, Joni Mitchell and me”, this was a confident performance. A naturally compelling voice with a strong vibrato and lyrics that resonate with vulnerability and truth. Sample lyric: “is there anything clean in this world anymore?”. ‘If Only A Little’ – a song that “started off as a joke” and now part of her repertoire. Kirsty owned the stage, an artist more mature than her years. It felt like we’d dropped into a private conversation: “set aside your pride / try to open up to me”. Quite simply, what a voice!

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘Ashton Lane’ – the second Fife-based performer in a row, this was a strong performance with a resonant vocal. Evocative lyric: “that night we stood on the cobblestones of Ashton Lane”. Regretting that he didn’t kiss the girl; the vulnerability drew us in. ‘The Story Of A Woman’ – brave for a man to sing a song with this title! A new song with quick-fingered, flamenco guitar playing. “Her flesh turned crimson by the light”. This was in the gypsy folk tradition of legends such as Piaf and Aznavour. Vivid imagery of the internal and external life of the woman as well as rich religious imagery. A magnificent wordsmith. 

Nyk Stoddart: ‘Aeroplanes’ – continuing the flight theme (think “moon” – it was moon landing anniversary week), Nyk played a mostly instrumental piece. The guitar set us in flight, in our imagination rather than literally. A great example of painting pictures with music.

James Igoe (review courtesy of Nyk Stoddart): “The founder of OOTB plays the legendary ‘Inge’s Eyes’. A song of indiscretion sung politely and lavishly but with passion. It’s always great to hear.”

Beth Myers: ‘The Key’ – lovely picking pattern; slow and heavy like ‘Saturn’ from Holst’s Planet Suite. Sympathetic, harmonic whistling from the audience. Not many words, another minimalist song. Gorgeous, husky, haunting vocal. Symbolism with the main line “I don’t need that key”. Curiosity as to what the key would be and where would it take us. ‘Don’t Be Ridiculous’ – great title! Partially about making coffee, a task Beth would be familiar with in her day job. Stop-start guitar and shyly singing almost side-on to the audience. An original style, not sure how delIberate it was. Sample lyric was on (moon) theme: “I’m an astronaut flying through space… I’m not drunk, don’t be ridiculous”. Loved it!

Ross Neilson: ‘Just A Moment’ – a song “with two choruses” written this year and may be on the new album. A ballad in the classic acoustic tradition. Strong songwriting, dynamic vocal particularly in terms of soft to loud. Intense performance, with Ross completely in the zone. ‘Ways To Run’ – sounded more like contemporary Americana than I’d heard from Ross before. A touch of Ryan Adams and musicians of that calibre. Good tune with a strong melody that could appeal to a wider audience if he were given the opportunity.

Finley (Slate House): ‘The Crackle Holds The Air’ – the sole OOTB debut of the evening. Reminded me of Noah and the Whale and Mumford and Sons. Fine guitar playing with a vocal of confidence and authority. Vivid imagery, such as “skeleton screams”. Gulp. ‘Lantern’s Light’ – played the guitar high up the neck, giving a bright, chiming sound. Good singing, pleasant modern folk-rock style. A very enjoyable debut and I look forward to hearing a lot more from Finley.

Feature act: Queer Faith and TheMany. This was an intimate performance which focused on the theatrical aspect of music as much as the music itself and that made them one of the most unique feature acts ever at OOTB. Starting with ‘Lone Wolf’ – a song about being liberated from loneliness by freeing the wolf from within. Compelling, profound words, followed by the collective mission statement of “we are queer”. Bold and brave. ‘On A Leaving Plane’ – about the difficulty of a long distance relationship (“my heart has become a cashew”). A heartfelt song of love delivered with a sonorous vocal. Costume change raised the sense of drama in the room. ‘The Gender Love’ – “a political song” about the personal politics of crossing the gender line which challenges our received version of reality. Beautiful and challenging, but also playful and light! ‘Life’ – about the universal questions about life which ultimately can be brought back to the one thing. We are living life, now. In the present. A simple concept but one that many of us fail to grasp. Immersive and cathartic. ‘The Source’ – written in a storm of polygamy and jealousy in an attempt to find the truth. About love, diversity and breaking down the boundaries in our minds. ‘Galactic Shell’ – “something more kinky” so the long silk gloves came into play! Reminded me of Shirley Bassey at her glamourous peak. ‘Love Temple – about building a love temple between hopes and fears, emphasising that the world only exists in our minds and we can change it any time. Philosophical, thought-provoking. Kirsty was “enchanted”. ‘Wife Cake’ – a funny song about being a sugar addict, acted out superbly well, ended the night on a light note. A theatrical masterclass from Queer Faith and TheMany who are playing at Brig Below in the Edinburgh Fringe – check press for details as this will be a must-see.

Review: James Igoe

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