Home » OOTB Reviews » Out of the Bedroom 703 review – Thursday 17th October 2019

Out of the Bedroom 703 review – Thursday 17th October 2019

Kirsty Heggie

Running order: Startled Bee, Tau Boo, Pixie Moonshine, Jim Bryce, Neil Matthew Fox, Sam ‘Sorley’ Shackleton, Will B, James Igoe, Jonas Cimermanas, Stephanos Constandinou (SCEVIP), Jeanice Lee and Marco, feature act: Kirsty Heggie.

Startled Bee was host this evening and Tau Boo was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Startled Bee: ‘The Little Things’ – immaculately played. Great change in emphasis on the vocal. A good lesson for budding singers how to use light and shade. Pitched to perfection.

Tau Boo: ‘Sing’ – siren-like, shimmering. Visions of Victorialand, ice sheets and frost as far as the eye can see. Antarctic wasteland soundtrack, also Scandic Noir soundtrack. The biggest ice sculpture you will ever see. ‘Levitator’ – Walking on water? Expansive… I could imagine someone, a young man, running across a field of wheat. Escaping? A dream sequence? Open plain: vast, wide, scary for agoraphobes. 

Pixie Moonshine: ‘Fall Asleep’ – Pixie hadn’t played at OOTB since the Kilderkin era, due to having children, and it was terrific to have her back. Some nice, wide chords on her large guitar. A lovely voice, rich and deep. Sample lyrics: “I’ll do my best for you / even if it’s not enough for you”. ‘Voices Fill The Room’ – uses the fretboard well. Up and down the sound resonates. Good variation between picking and strumming. Seamless. She’s good!

Jim Bryce: ‘Living Through You’ – strumming the guitar, Jim’s song appeared to be about a “roving tinkerman” whose god was living through him in the good and bad. A folk song in classic US ‘60s style. Plenty of “ba ba bas” to keep us entertained. ‘Moon and Water Song’ – voice interspersed with some affecting penny whistle. Atmospheric, powerful, hypnotic, with some strong images using ancient imagery. Partial stories – we couldn’t make the full picture without filling the gaps ourselves. Spacious.

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘The Sculptor’ – pirate Neil with his eye patch holding a scar that is thankfully only temporary. Some incredible guitar playing. Deeply symbolic imagery; a short story inside a song. ‘Tired of This Life of Mine’ – co-write with his friend Angus Gibson. I would guess that Angus wrote the music and Neil wrote the words. Almost biblical in his eternal, timeless imagery. Very dark, Nick Cave is in danger of stealing this unless it is copyrighted very soon.

Sam ‘Sorley’ Shackleton: ‘Green and Yellow’ – personally recommended by feature act Kirsty, Sam played in the traditional US folk style with much gusto. Influenced by early Dylan and Woody Guthrie, this was a very confident performance. Lyrics had some political elements but were also funny. A young, happy man. ‘Pink Collar Blues’ – about working in hospitality. Sam’s got his own thing going on – the Scottish accent, seamless transition between guitar and harmonica. Echoes of peak Johnny Cash. 

Will B: a relative of Startled Bee? ‘The Withered Flower‘ – a positive, poetic view of a flower’s life. ‘Teenager’ – put himself in the shoes of a teenager. Trying to understand it and be his true self. ‘Intermission’ took us to the break. 

James Igoe: [Review by Startled Bee] James led off with ‘Splitting the Old Firm’. It has a hypnotic melody and a subtle use of lyrical repetition that really draws you in. This was an especially strong rendition of a classic from the Igoe song book. It caught my ears afresh and I found myself humming it on and off over the weekend. Originally inspired by one binary political divide, the words resonate with divisions that are very much current today. His second song of the night was ‘Work Was Never Your God’. Less often performed than Old Firm, this is a powerful invocation of a friend who took life by the scruff of the neck. James’s song laments his friend’s early death to cancer, but celebrates his approach to life and the inspiration it offered. James’s voice was in very good form tonight and he had set aside acoustic for a delicately picked electric. All in, this was a compelling taster of the feature set James will be playing at the next Out of the Bedroom session on 31st October. 

Jonas Cimermanas: With Jonas on acoustic guitar and musical partner Paulius on electric, this was a potent combination. Two equals playing guitar in harmony, with hints of classical music in the interplay. A neat solo from Jonas, who is growing in confidence with every performance. The second song – Jonas never tells us the names (!) – was water-themed. Paulius made some watery noises on the electric and the overall effect was atmospheric and a little spooky. Ideal music for a soundtrack? Experimental and expansive.

Stephanos Constandinou (SCEVIP): Making his Out of the Bedroom debut, Cypriot Stephanos played a new song with no name. Mic-ing up his violin to loop pedals, this was the third electric act in a row which is quite unusual, and also refreshing, for OOTB. Played his instrument like a guitar, pizzicato and multi-layered. After a fashion, the bow came out and suddenly there was haunting beauty over a bed of distortion. This was the longest song of the evening; very much in the “epic” camp. Unfortunately, this meant only one song but a most memorable and original performance it was.

Jeanice Lee and Marco: ‘Our City’ – normally electric and noisy, this melodic rock duo played acoustically for us this evening. Jeanice wrote this song about the fight for freedom in her birthplace of Hong Kong. Loved this. The vocals were hypnotic and the words deeply heartfelt and sung with intense feeling. “Our city is standing on our feet.” A clarion call to anyone who is defiant in the face of oppression. ‘Never Was’ – about a relationship that seemed dramatic at the time but, on reflection, never was. This would make a good flamenco number. Great solo work from Marco. They have noticeably improved as musicians over the last few months, probably due to playing several live dates across Scotland. 

Feature act: Kirsty Heggie. ‘Cold Turkey (If You’re Lucky)’ – about fame, adventure and rehab. Could Kirsty be Scotland’s answer to Judy Garland? Glorious vibrato in her voice and exquisite guitar playing. This was original and also familiar and classic in the late ‘60s folk mould. ‘Fire In The Forest’ – about mythological sirens which can either lure men to death or take people to the next life. Exudes calm and confidence in her performance; Kirsty even tuned the guitar halfway through the song and continued seamlessly. ‘Golden Baby’ – showed her class with incredible lyrics and a virtuoso performance. This got a great response from the sizeable audience. ‘Do You Know How Much It Costs?’ – song written while smoking weed, this was a lighter and jokier in tone. Well-observed with poignant lyrics. Freeform with several tempo and textural changes. ‘Dust and Grime’ – about outsiders, this was inspired by her Aberdeen-based muse Tibetan Dave. Slightly more conventional and less esoteric than Kirsty’s previous songs, this stood out. Sample lyrics: “I’ve seen your mind / it’s divine”. ‘Date With A Knife’ – this was about plastic surgery (and lust?), dedicated to her friend Irene. Normally I don’t say this, but how did Kirsty remember all these words? A pro. ‘Love’ – KIrsty lives music and this was an example. Not every feature act immerses themselves into the songs in this all-encompassing way. Very sweet, open and gentle. Sample lyrics: “never was there love without fear”. ‘How To Love A Dirt Goddess’ – an instruction manual for the audience? Sensual, honest, powerful. Also, funny! Kirsty said “bless you” when someone sneezed during the song but she didn’t miss a beat. Nice riff, the song flowed in several directions. ‘Private Worlds’ – about how people are not all that different. Kirsty said she does not keep secrets and everything is out in the open. Kirsty is something of a musical shaman, shaking the crap out of us. A cover song to finish, this was a wondrous performance from an immense talent. The audience was large and appreciative and Kirsty deserved all the plaudits she received this evening. 

Main reviewer: James Igoe

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