By Rosa Pietrasik
What do you do with your fortnightly Wednesday night? School night so do you stay in, meal out, drinks, pub or what? Well maybe you should think about live music stripping it back to its routes in a wee place just off Broughton Street in Edinburgh called “The Outhouse”. It’s a cozy pub/bar, it’s one of these places you wouldn’t even know it was there unless you’d been before. Honestly though, I’ve been before for a couple of great nights at the outhouse. As you climb the stairs you get to their cosy and intimate venue, The Loft and that’s what this night’s all about. It’s the fortnightly songwriters club a platform/showcase for singer/songwriters in Edinburgh and beyond to showcase/perform or bring their new songs to play to a audience of other lovers of music and singers/songwriters. This is all run by the humble and lovely Cameron Phair who is a man of many talents himself running many open mics/showcases and various other musical ventures all across Edinburgh. I have no idea how he does it, always upbeat and never seems to flag or seem exhausted, it must be the love for the cause and music. I take my panda hat off to him. He invited me along to write a review for the evening so lets get down to it.
First up was this man, what a joyful look he had on his face, as the first slot I feel is always hardest to do. He gave a very happy cheerful performance of his own songs and sounded very country like more like western style. Just a lovely joyful way to start the evening off.
Pete always makes me smile no matter what, I think it’s his happy, pleasant nature and his music is just the same. Very joyful and uses his voice well. He played all his own work first trying out his new song “Questions and Answers” which received a great reception from the loft, his piano melodies are just wicked. He played two other tunes, which I now the words to almost completely just after seeing him a couple of times which is strange but great. “Shine” and a loop pedal version of his song “Turn it all around” after 2 attempts as he was flustered and almost ended the set but with some lovely encouragement from the audience pulled out his best performance. I was in awe and just made the whole loft quieten and all have smiles on their faces for this as it’s amazing and definitely my favorite of the night.
Jordan has an amazing voice and it seems flawless with melodies and harmonies that he creates along with the others in “the band” at the loft. Such a lovely and humble sound to his songs he can sing almost anything if not everything. Multi talented and he’s well worth a listen and seeing him play.
Ryan always seems to wear stripes when I see him which makes me laugh but stripes are great anyway his humour and charm shine through in his Scottish folky tunes. Beating away through with his feet just can’t sit still through this man’s music though I was just dancing in my seat. He has a way with the crowd feeling like I should be dancing through his songs. He travels all the way from Bathgate just to play Live at The Loft which is a real feat but he’s just great to see.
Her first time at the loft,, but wow, this little lady blew me away with her breathy and quite unique voice. She has recorded with Callum Beattie on his record Valentines Day which is filmed in my friends flat (the weird connections Edinburgh has). Just tapping my feet to her dancy folk/rock melodies. She is very animated and seems very humble for what she brings to Live at The Loft, just amazing.
This womans’ voice has a hypnotic quality about it throughout her folky songs taking me away to another place. Her moody, mellow voice works well with the style and she has the most range in her voice singing from the very depth of her belly to using all her soft pallet to create a wonderful falsetto bringing more of that dreamy style out.
Mr. Blok is very down to earth and mellow which comes out in his songs. ‘My Loss is your Loss’ one of my favorite’s by Arno which he played in the loft. Just a lovely melodic dreamy quality throughout Arno’s set is just lovely. He is one of the regulars at The Loft and this time again just takes me away somewhere new.
Jo is so very cool with her stylish breathy low voice and very soulful singing. I just love her style and her voice wicked woman with a lot of talent that seems so natural to her. She reminds me of the women form the classics and great soulful singers gone by but she brings it right up to date. She plays the keys and a bass in different numbers of her set just such a cool cat.
I usually see this talented man with his band ‘Victorian Trout Conspiracy’ but at the loft he was solo he sang one of the the VTC’s songs ‘Watershed’ which is an upbeat and dancy tune couldn’t help but tap my feet to this song. The rest of his set was just as great with his Scottish tones breaking through his upbeat style.
A gruff Canadian was then thrown into the mix is Jamie Wells. His voice is something quite unique and reminds me of Canadian/American country singers but a bit more rough. I really like this mans style of singing and playing which very country soul style which I’m getting back into at the moment. Fantastic. He has graced the stage with Damien Rice at Glastonbury and has wrote and performed keep your heart young which he wrote for Brandy Carlisle.
Slight gruffness, singalong quality to Michael’s voice made everyone in the loft smile. He even had every one singing along with his rhythmic and rocky style at some points. Very humble about himself and his playing but with no need to be as he’s great even though with a cold he shone through. Also, this may have even brought more a rough quality to his voice inhaling his style.
During Michael’s performance Cammy had to hush the audience a couple of times as the songs are only on for 3 minutes and its not hard to keep hushed in such talent and just demanding respect from others as you’d wish it for yourself. If people want to chat they can between sets or downstairs in the bar where the music is streamed downstairs.
The loft is quite unique in this fact as its hard to find somewhere where silence is still a virtue and a must in sets and bring a whole new wonder to showcases such as these.
Michael’s last performance at the loft was quite sad as he a great talent. He is away to seek new ventures in germany. He reminds me of Paolo Nutini but not as gruff and also has his own twist on songs.Calming mellow voice which takes you back and you feel your the only ones in the room and always engages the crowd well.
Graham Bell (Mr Outhouse)
Country/folk sounding with a slight gruff scottish vibe through the country/folky songs Graham was singing. Very intimate also which worked at the end of the night and in a pace like the loft was brilliant. He is the manager of The Outhouse but really shouldn’t put you off at all and certainly is more then he seems. Melodic and draws you in.
The main man himself not to be outdone by his peers or others always plays in the night with other people too. His talents are never ending with his percussion, guitar and vocals all on par with each other like many of these musicians can play many instruments makes me in awe and a bit jealous of the various talents. Im also surprised he never seem to be tired or least show it as he sings the loft out. He dedicated the last song of the night which was about traveling to Michael Pan as he was away. He has a lovely melodic voice with scottish tones through it and he can draw you in as well and always smiling and joking throughout his cheeky ways come through in his songs making them fun but interesting and able to sit back and enjoy.
Live at the Loft (at the Outhouse) didn’t disappoint and has been better then some of the gigs I have reviewed before and defiantly the most intimate experience I’ve had. Just wonderful talent and hard graft goes into an showcase like this. Thanks to all who turned up to see the acts, all the acts that played, the bar staff and not forgetting Cameron Phair (yes another mention) who without I would of missed out on such a great event and for putting this on every fortnight is some feat.
Fabulous, Thanks a very happy Panda xx