Home » OOTB Reviews » Out of the Bedroom 707 review – Thursday 12th December 2019

Out of the Bedroom 707 review – Thursday 12th December 2019

Mally Smith

Running order: Nyk Stoddart, Danny and Ruaridh, Majk Stokes, Michael, Neil Matthew Fox, Will B, Roy McIntosh, Gareth Herron, Mike McKenzie, Edy and Forey, feature act: Mally Smith.

James Igoe was host this evening and Malcolm McLean was on sound desk. Venue was Woodland Creatures.

Nyk Stoddart: ‘Trust and Hope’ – a positive message written around the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum and for a general election outcome this evening that would bring hope [Ed’s note: maybe for Scottish Independence, but not for Labour]. A meaty performance from Nyk with light and shade and much wistfulness in the chorus. ‘Santa Claus’ – despite the title, only vaguely Christmassy with the minimalist lyrics “Santa Claus / flying high in the sky / Planet Earth”. Some discordance, suggesting that Santa has become discombobulated! ‘Bad Blues’ – taking the mickey out of bad blues playing and himself at the same time. Featuring a wild guitar solo that Captain Beefheart would have been proud of. Great performance from Nyk.

Danny and Ruaridh: ‘It’s Just A Bad Day’ – not only their OOTB debut, this was the first time this young duo had played an open mic together. Danny had a strong, clear, likeable singing voice with nice acoustic guitar playing and a fine song. Ruaridh supported on electric guitar and provided a smooth solo. Their second song was also very good. Nice high notes from Danny and overall a confident, pleasant sound. A very promising start from this duo and I hope to hear a lot more from them in 2020.

Majk Stokes: ‘Dear Father Christmas’ – about writing a letter to Santa Claus as a 9-10 year old, imagined as an adult. Trying to please Santa with all the good things that he has done throughout the year. Sung in the pleading voice that a young child would have. Amusing. ‘Unstable’ – a poem about the nativity story set in current times. The title is a play on the word “stable”, just in case you missed that. A nice punchline, which I won’t spoil! ‘All I Want For Christmas Is Some Socks’ – keeping it simple like Mariah Carey, and admitting that it can be difficult to buy presents for men. Most amusing.

Michael: ‘Jason Bain’ – about his friend from Canada, a tree feller. Sounds like a nice fella. Simple, well-crafted song about someone happy in the natural world and now “in the forest in the sky”. Next song was a love song “for you and everyone”. A generous gift to the audience from Michael at Christmas time. Genuinely lovely. ‘I Forgot To Remember To Forget’ – one of the first songs he wrote (not the Elvis song of the same name). An excellent song for a first effort and it was delightful to have Michael back after an absence of a few months.

I organised an audience singalong, using a Freeloadin’ Frank chorus about wanting a hung parliament. I thought that maybe our good vibrations would work, but sadly it was not to be.

Neil Matthew Fox: ‘I Want To Write A Love Song But I Don’t Know How’ – a bluesy jam. Simple, with Neil’s trademark arch lyricism which gave the song its darkness. Honesty, with both sadness and hope in the mix. ‘Loved Neglected’ – Lyrics borrowed from a Rabbie Burns song mixed with Neil’s own. I would never have guessed had Neil not introduced it thus. Brooding lyrics sung in his Johnny Cash voice. Neil sneaked in a John Prine cover which had a Christmas reference. Great picking on this number. 

Will B: ‘Man’s First Date’ – a short poem about the origins of dating with a subtle, humourous line about not wanting to wait 12 million years for the second date. We’ve all been there. Second poem was a familiar tale of leaving The Waverley Bar for The Canons’ Gait which provides some historical context for the newbies. Then, naturally, ‘Intermission’ to take us to the break.

Roy McIntosh: ‘Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho’ – dressed up in a red suit and cap, Roy was our Santa for the evening. A very literal Santa saying “all I want is snow / to take me to your homes”. Begs the question, what about those homes in warmer climes, e.g. Australia? Anyway, this was in the festive spirit and showed how effective two chords can be! ‘Car Boot Sale’ – the “national anthem of car boot sales”, this is Roy’s humourous and, at times, surreal take on the Sunday morning ritual for many. A strong singalong. As Christmas covers were welcome, Roy played the Pogues classic ‘Fairytale of New York’. Not easy solo but he performed it well.

Gareth Herron: ‘Istanbul’ – an honest, articulate lost love song that is distinctly Gareth. Epic, I can imagine this with a band. Gareth gave Istanbul, and his previous relationship, a certain gravitas. ‘Another Someone New’ – written a couple of years ago, after getting slapped in the face in an Edinburgh nightclub. Heartfelt tale about not having met “the one” yet. ‘Masks’ – one of the most powerful and resonant songs played at OOTB in the last two years. Given that this was election night, the power of the song, highlighting religious indoctrination and division in Northern Ireland, was even more so. Of course, we all wear our own masks, this is not just people in Northern Ireland.

Mike McKenzie: ‘Christmas Time’ – intelligent, beautiful and warm song about Christmas. Reminded me a little of the great Carole King. Definitely a festive feeling on this one. ‘Love Like This’ – a sublime song which rightly gave Mike the prize of BBC Scotland’s best singer-songwriter of 2019. The single version was recorded in the legendary Abbey Road studios and is released now on Mr. Bang Records. ‘Out Of The Sun Walks You’ – Mally on backing vocals, this was highly polished but didn’t lose the emotional edge. Pure, gorgeous harmonies. Mike is playing at King Tut’s in Glasgow on 8th January and is sure to have a busy 2020 in music ahead of him.

Edy and Forey: ‘Make A Way’ – another debut, and another young duo – this time a Polish/French combination. Some very neat chords from Forey on keyboard. Clearly an accomplished jazz pianist. Edy had a light, floaty voice which glided over the accompaniment like a turtle dove. A positive, happy song. ‘Come With Me’ – a brand new song which was supremely mellow, sung with immaculate feeling from Edy. The sound reminded me of music I haven’t heard since the 1980s like Courtney Pine, Julia Fordham and Basia. This is a sound that could resonate with a contemporary audience, given the right circumstances. Professional, and hopefully we’ll see them back soon.

Feature act: Mally Smith:  ‘On My Mind’ – this was a beautiful ballad; the minimalist guitar playing giving her voice more space to move around in. A controlled vocal with a delightful vibrato. ‘To The Birds’ – a “love song to [her]self”, stunning song with some super vocal variation in a seemingly effortless range. Meditative, mellow loveliness. Mally used two capos for this, with one capo only extending over four strings. I had never seen that before. The next song was about dating singer-songwriters when you are a singer-songwriter and it not being a good idea! Soft and reflective, this was swooningly good. ‘Christmas In The Trenches’ – a cover song about World War I and, especially, the famous Christmas truce between the British and German troops. A dense lyric, I was impressed that Mally remembered the whole thing! The next song was “not happy… but faster”. A song about a train played with passion. I felt like I was inside the song such was the emotion. ‘The Circle’ – about processing relationships through songwriting and dealing with the “second wave” of closure when leaving an ex. Floaty and shimmering. ‘The Rope’ – about dating the same type of person over and over again. The analogy came from a ropemaker weaving string over and over again. In a folk tuning, this was the most folky song of her set and had a hypnotic power. ‘The Waves’ – written for a guy who broke up with her halfway through writing the song. A lullaby quality, this showcased some nice fretboard work. A lovely chord sequence. Top stuff from Mally from Massachusetts. I hope to see more of her in 2020. 

Review: James Igoe

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