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Out of the Bedroom 701 review – Thursday 19th September 2019

Gareth Herrron 2019

Running order: Ross Robertson, Roy McIntosh, Neil Matthew Fox, Will B, Matthew Sier, Jim Bryce, feature act: Gareth Herron.

Jim Bryce was host this evening and James Igoe was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Ross Robertson: ‘I’m Sorry I Missed Your Sister’ – Ross last played OOTB at the Waverley Bar, so a well-over-10-years hiatus. Poppy and pleasant, Ross described this racy, slightly crude number about infidelity as “very un-PC”. ‘Sell It To Me’ – keeping the theme, this was about, ahem, “window shopping” in Amsterdam. Nicely picked with some fine jazzy chords, the line “my conscience says no at the cost of my libido” spoke volumes. ‘Girl, That’s Wrong For Me’ – classic acoustica on the theme of a woman that will drive you mad. Upbeat, melodic, with lots of quick chord changes and a dense lyric. 

Roy McIntosh: ‘Isle of May’ – originally a “wimpish” song about his son [surely “affectionate” song? – Ed], this was a misty-eyed song about the local island at the mouth of the River Forth. Roy gave the nature reserve an aura of mystique. ‘Old Ford Popular’ – a joyous celebration of youth, freedom and having an old banger to drive up and down the country from the East Neuk to London. “Whoopee!” sand Roy as the amp almost blew! ‘House of the Larachmhor’ – “a Rabbie Burns song” with a hint of the traditional. Opening line: “there is a house in Pittenweem…”

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘An Angel Lies Here’ – showing commitment to his songwriting craft, Neil played on his birthday! This was written with Angus Gibson and was a brooding, dark tale of an angel. ‘Rotten Fruit’ – this was immaculately picked on his classic (Martin?) acoustic guitar. Haunting, with a still presence. Calming, but also scary. ‘Lay Your Brother Down’ – from his album just released last week, this was requested by feature act Gareth. Sad, beautiful tale of the death of his (fictional?) brother in a bleak, forgotten town that he could not escape. Neil’s excellent debut album is available online at https://neilmatthewfox.bandcamp.com/album/the-songs-of-neil-matthew-fox.

Will B: ‘The Shortest Day’ – this poem made the point that every day is 24 hours! Will gave some powerful examples of what can happen in a day and the potential we all have for change. ‘37D’ – poem about an “angular” woman, but not a lustful tale as the title would suggest. ‘Lift Off’ – a nod to a certain prominent statue on Princes Street. ‘Intermission’ – Will’s classic poem, inspiring us, just before the break on this occasion.

Matthew Sier: ‘In The Middle of the Night’ – from Broken Hill, Australia – the coolest name for a hometown ever? – this was Matthew’s OOTB debut. Beautifully poetic, his picking was first class, reminding me of peak James Taylor. A charming, strong Aussie accent in his singing voice. ‘A Moment That Comes With Daylight’ – a song about gardening, spending time communing with nature. Perfectly crafted, this was a cracking song: reflective and meditative. ‘Back Home In Your Favourite Tree’ – dreamy, about a lost love. I got so lost in the song that I didn’t focus on the words. Pleasant baritone. This man is a player – come back soon Matthew. 

Jim Bryce: ‘New Directions for the Blues’ – Jim played this on the Woodland Creatures piano, with his back to the audience like ‘60s heartthrob Dave Berry (and Jim Morrison in the early days of The Doors). Dark, dark humour about our cultural obsession with bad news to make us angry and upset. A great performance on the old Joanna. ‘Pilgrims’ – written 42 years ago, but only recorded yesterday for his next album. A delightful song, again tinkling the ivories, this took me to a romantic place. Organic, with hints of mid-70s jazzy Joni Mitchell. ‘Oh Yas’ – “the holiday song” played on the house guitar satirising the colonial British attitude when abroad. An eternal song that will always be current Bexit or nay.

Due to a dearth of artists tonight, some who had already played doubled up playing one song each. I’ll whizz through these, as follows:

  • Ross Robertson: ‘My Bravado’ – manic song about a guy on the pull.
  • Roy McIntosh: ‘Car Boot Sale’ – the Sunday morning anthem.
  • Neil Matthew Fox: ‘Deal or No Deal’ – a rare short story about being a contestant on Noel Edmonds’ TV show and realising he was a “tosser”. ‘The Unbelievable Melancholy of Mr. Blobby’ – a dig at the moronic monster of the ‘90s masses.
  • Will B: ‘Bough To Love’ – African woman tribute.
  • Mathew Sier: an old campfire song sounding great.
  • Jim Bryce: ‘Hyena Hop’ – audience participation with the unforgettable line “all the chimpanzees just crap in your eye”.

Feature act: Gareth Herron. ‘Castle In The Sky’ – stunning effect on his guitar using his pedals. Reminded me a little of early Travis with a lyric about following your dreams. ‘Next Life’ – Gareth uses his songbook as his diary and this was about how he hoped he would get his next life right. [Life just is, Gareth, no right or wrong! – Zen Ed] Sample lyrics: “green grass on the other side”. ‘Wishful Thinking’ – written in his teenage years. Raw, visceral but sophisticated for that age group. Used a loop pedal to play lead, subtly done. ‘Masks’ – a powerful, deeply thought-provoking tale reflecting on a childhood growing up in Northern Ireland. Should be up there with Ulster anthems such as ‘Alternative Ulster’ by SLF, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 and ‘Belfast’ by Boney M. ‘Strangers’ – brutal honesty about relationships which have become “broken” or “run [their] course”. ‘Into The Unknown’ – a backpacking tale. Sample line: “taking another step into the unknown”. Traveling can be addictive. Marvellous stuff. After a nod to Frightened Rabbit came ‘One For The Road’ – about the reasons behind why he drinks. Used the loop pedal to great effect again with the song building from a simple narrative over guitar into a multi-layered epic with drum pattern. Intelligent music. ‘Modern Love Song’ – about the fleeting nature of love, rejecting 18th century Romanticism? Again, built this up into an epic with grace. ‘Leaving’ – a suitable, poignant closing song. Rocky, even slightly punky, this sent us back into the world with a renewed vigour. One of his strongest songs of the evening. Strong use of space and a most agreeable chord sequence.

Review: James Igoe

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