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Out of the Bedroom 709 review – Thursday 6th February 2020

Chris Glen

Running order: Grant Robertson, Danny Lee, Roy McIntosh, Jean Thomson, Paul the Primitive Magician, Tau Boo, Jim Bryce, feature act: Chris Glen.

Jim Bryce was host this evening, Tau Boo was on the sound, James Igoe was meeter and greeter and the venue was the back room at Woodland Creatures.

First OOTB debut act of 2020 Grant Robertson was striking looking in a swirl of red hair and beard. He gave us three charming, unconventional songs about JK Rowling’s daughter, being mistaken for a postman and a TV licence inspection man’s perspective on the world. Grant’s style was upbeat and endearing and he would be an ideal performer for a summer festival stage. 

Danny Lee made his OOTB solo debut after performing with Ruaridh at the Christmas show. Danny’s style was big, universal songs for all, reminiscent of album giants such as U2 and Coldplay. Great dynamics, strong vocals and melodies, a pleasing baritone voice, lots of energy and a confident performance. 

Roy McIntosh wore his heart firmly on his sleeve as ever. Roy’s strident performance started with a song about the generosity of strangers, especially involving drink or romance. Unfortunately, the story didn’t end well but it was all very human. A sad song about baby Hayley from Buckhaven, “the girl with the golden smile”, and resistance to Donald Trump’s golf course in Menie completed a feelgood set from Roy.

Famous (to this writer at least) for an unforgettable appearance on ITV’s ‘Long Lost Family’, Jean Thomson returned after a two-year break. Jean played a couple of evocative songs using the mbira, a traditional thumb piano from Zimbabwe. Light, chiming, charming ‘Snake song’ evoked the natural world of southern Africa. Jean sang lightly with a minimal, lovely vibrato in her second song. 

The artist formerly known as Eyeball Kid, Paul the Primitive Magician’s first song included minimal guitar playing and dense, poetic, observational, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Next two were beat poetry, with Paul using tambourine and open guitar strings as percussion. One was delivered in a US southern/midwest accent and the other was Scottish. Freeform and original, Paul is a genuine artist not going for the quick buck. Recommended.

Tau Boo ploughs a lone musical furrow that is completely, distinctively his own. A big, bold, beautiful noise bringing his voice from depths in the gut where few male singers can go. Paul played along to the chorus-laden sonic cathedrals with the tambourine which, surprisingly, worked! A mix of the serious and the more mellow and light, this was original music in every sense. 

The always-entertaining Jim Bryce showed us a little of his vast musical range with three guitar numbers ebbing from blues to ethereal folk. ‘Kept on Rolling’ was an existentialist 12-bar blues that was hilarious in an understated way. The hypnotic drone and picking mania of ‘Waiting For The Man’ was open to interpretation. Death, god, drugs or another? We ended with ‘Breathing’: mellow, meditative, melodious.

Feature act Chris Glen had a vocal style with sweet, light and melancholy tones reminiscent of the much-underrated Ray LaMontagne and Jeff Buckley. Chris raced through 11 songs in his set, all of which were delivered with consummate professionalism and focused energy. A smooth, classy sound, with excellent microphone technique – other musicians, are you watching? Chris showed his guitar playing dexterity switching from folk to rock to jazz and plenty in between. The subject matter in his lyrics switched from guillotine dances to barflies to silver moons and the “nonsense” song encore. One criticism: Chris doesn’t seem to know how good he is and I thought he could have owned the stage a bit better. Chris had some banter with the audience and all in all this was highly entertaining stuff. We should all be treating ourselves to more of Chris’s music, either live or on his recordings available at https://chrisglen.bandcamp.com/releases.

Review: James Igoe

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