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Out of the Bedroom 704 review – Thursday 31st October 2019 – 18th birthday

James Whyte and Igoe

Running order: Tina Louise Avery, Beth Clarke, Startled Bee, Majk Stokes, Roy McIntosh, Neil Matthew Fox, Nyk Stoddart, feature act: James Igoe.

Tina Avery was host this evening and Nyk Stoddart was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Tina Louise Avery: ‘Weave The Sea’ – Tina was at the seaside, where she draws much inspiration, today. This floaty, gentle waltz moved like the pattern of the sea. Neil Fox provided human music stand support. ‘Open Sea’ – about refugees crossing the Mediterranean and included the line “change your luck on the shore”. This could also be about seeking a new life away from a troubled home. Powerful. 

Beth Clarke: ‘All These Things’ – playing her trademark mandola, this song included a large array of imagery about the complex person that she is. This was a powerful statement, with Beth refusing to be defined by illness or values imposed on her. Powerful, moving and sweet. ‘The Pretty Flowers’ – one of Beth’s older songs that she hadn’t played in a while. A powerful, sad story about laying the flowers on the grave of a family member. I’m not sure if this had any connection with the upcoming Remembrance Day. ‘Evolution’s Finest Hour’ – angry song written as a reaction to the appalling political situation in the UK and elsewhere with so much anger and hatred. One of the key lines was “remember that we all feel the same”; enemies too. Gearing up nicely for her feature act slot in two weeks.

Startled Bee: ‘Winter Moon’ – an Australian love song. A line that jumped out at me was “you’ve got to be brave to be alive”. “Alive” as opposed to merely existing? Maybe so. About the power of imagination taking us beyond distance, regardless of how far away. ‘Only So Long’ – “you have a beautiful smile, and you know it”. A ballad which soared high on the chorus “time waits, only so long” (I misheard Tom Waits at first). Classic songwriting, with great dynamics. ‘Take Me’ – rock song about a burgeoning relationship. Challenging and sexually-charged. Includes a line which Mr. Bee said reminded him of me each time he sings it. If you check out previous OOTB reviews, you’ll see the line in question! A lilting, endearing fragility in the vocal.

Majk Stokes: ‘I’m Better Now (Undead Blues)’ – “dug out of the cupboard”, this was written after a painful breakup with some Hallowe’en connotations in there too. Slightly rusty on the guitar? Incisive and witty lyrics. ‘I Don’t Want To Leave Ee-You’ – written this afternoon with Majk joining in the co-theme of Brexit this evening which didn’t happen and perhaps never will. A sort-of love song to the much maligned EU. ‘Ey-Oop (I Love North Yorkshire)’ – currently being recorded for his upcoming album which will hopefully be out by Christmas. A rap in a Yorkshire accent in the middle which, strange as it might sound, worked well. Some funky guitar playing. 

Roy McIntosh: ‘Car Boot Sale’ – dressed as a very fetching gnome, Roy played his homage to the Sunday morning ritual for a certain subculture. In the audience, Tommy MacKay clearly enjoyed the earthy-yet-surreal humour of a fellow Fifer. ‘We’re All Going To Party Now’ – Roy’s niece invited Roy to sing at a 100th birthday party in a care home (a dream gig). Perhaps not necessarily the most appropriate lyrics, e.g. “get that reefer rolled up and get that whisky in the glass”. Viagra was also mentioned. Roy’s niece has hardly spoken to him since but I want this sung at my 100th! ‘Old Ford Popular’ – Roy’s joyous ode to his first car which gave him the freedom to drive down to London. Thanks to Roy for the attractive candlestick holder for the birthday celebrations.

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘A Place That I Call Home’ – traditional, rootsy style with a few 7th chords keeping us hanging on the next line. Sample line: “this town was built on smog and soot” nodding to the industrial past of not so long ago. Deeply sung, Cash-like. ‘Bright As A Morning Star’ – sung in the higher end of his vocal range, this song about a fractured relationship sounded great. 12-bar-ish with some excellent picking. ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ – his spooky, foreboding Halloween song, featuring a priest reading from the book of Deuteronomy. Resonant imagery, profoundly poetic – he’s maturing all the time.

Nyk Stoddart: ‘The Man With The X-Ray Eyes’ – a combination of Halloween and Nyk himself who is apparently scary. Not at all, a nicer chap you could not meet. But wouldn’t it be nice to have x-ray eyes? Especially if you were a doctor. ‘Milking It’ – short and very sweet, this works with comic effect but is actually a good basis for a longer song if Nyk was so inclined. ‘I Was Buried Alive by The Mutant Slash-Killer Zombies From Planet X’ – a Nyk classic with many hooks such as the “na… na na na na” singalong sung in a slightly edgy manner. Another suitably Halloween style song with time signature changes, bizarre sci-fi humour and generally a bit off-kilter. Quality jazz acoustic playing. 

Review: James Igoe

Feature act: James Igoe with James Whyte.

This pair were both known as Jim when I first new them. With old age, though, comes a certain amount of gravitas, and such contractions must be eschewed. All fun and James here.

So, the OOTB Godfather takes to the stage, like a proud mother hen inspecting her brood. This guy has spawned all this and NOW IT’S HIS TIME! There’s something biblical about all this: Mr Igoe is Judas (i.e. “c*nt’s gone electric!”), and he’s backed by Jim the Baptist.

First song- Tragic Clowns. Nothing to do with The Joker. Clowns constantly get a bad press; is Jim trying to relay this? (I think that’s what Tommy said). Great start: as the lyric goes, “blazing with charisma”.

Second song- Work. Heartfelt song about a close friend, an eternal student, “no Bill Gates or Elon Musk”. Work was never his God, all anti-(Protestant work ethic) (my brackets). GORGEOUS SINGING AND HARMONISING.

Igoe then gave us some reverie about OOTB’s history- 18 years old when it turns midnight basically. So there you have it. OOTB is now officially old enough to get into pubs. So far, it has conducted itself impeccably, and will surely continue to get served. Big shout out to Nelson Wright, his startner in crime. Can’t believe this website is still accessible: http://cult-of-nello.blogspot.com/

Third song- you can learn a thing or two from them. What are they? Older Women! “They can always find a younger fool like you” (as someone speaking fully 2.5 years younger than his wife, this threat is constantly hanging over me). JIM LOVES THEM OLDER WOMEN (I’m just copying Tommy’s notes out verbatim by the way).

Fourth Song- I Was Being A Fool. Jim is working through his life’s confusions here. Not afraid of baring his soul. No pretensions.

Fifth Song- solo job- politics!- (It’s Hard) Splitting The Old Firm. “No shade of green or grey”; “so close you can’t see the join”. One of the great ‘later era’ Igoe tracks. It really clips along wittily. Splitting the old firm, by the way is probably not something that will be achieved by either Jo Swinson or Hibernian in the 2019-20 season by my reckoning…

(and away went Mackay)

Sixth Song- The Ideal Song. I know that James wrote this in collaboration at a songwriting workshop at Lamb’s House in 2006, but sadly I can’t find who the collaborator was (I could just ask him, I suppose) [Ed’s note: just me!]. Anyway, nice to hear it, and James’ soaring “beautiful voice could be known throughout the nation”. He does have some voice, Igoe. Still hotly pursued by many a choir.

Seventh Song- he hands over the reins to James W! Who does I Found Love! And dedicates it to my good lady wife, Claire! Who expressed gratitude! Well, he did perform it at our wedding, and I can’t remember if we ever paid him. Great performance of an OOTB-and-beyond classic.

Eighth song- 2016, or indeed ZOIb, as James W read it. It really works- it’s actually been refined over the last three years, and the references (Trump/Ali/Brexit/Hibs/Bowie/Cohen) come along at an alarming pace. Lovely song.

Ninth song- Cowboy Song 2. James cannot do a set and not play this staple based around going off to the bright lights of London. Fly, James. Reminds me of the last night in The Waverley, when, at midnight, just as Nelson hit the solo, Ian Walker shut off the upstairs lights and blasted God Save The Queen through the internal PA. No such sabotage this time.

ENCORE- Inge’s Eyes. James takes his encore with aplomb, playing the song about the woman whose first name is very nearly an anagram of his surname.

Feature act review 1: Tommy MacKay and Scott Renton

‘Two James for the price of one’ and so much more. OOTB is a wonderful open mic night – welcoming, friendly, supportive, encouraging – and it has been so for 18 years. Well done James, and thank you from all of us who have ever played the OOTB stage. Even when you have not been prominent at the night, you have been in the background emanating positive vibes… And James Whyte agrees with us!

Happy 18th birthday OOTB, and many more returns. So, Cowboy, thanks for the songs and for playing my favourite ‘Inge’s Eyes’.

Feature act / OOTB 18th review 2: Tina Avery

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