Paul Demspey - Jen Frei

Review – Paul Dempsey at The Tanks

Something for Kate front man Paul Dempsey returned to The Tanks last Saturday for an absolute stellar performance of his solo works.

In Cairns as part of as part of a 9 date regional tour off the back of his latest album ‘Strange Loop’, Dempsey started the evening on a comical note, apologizing for the mix of songs played on his iPod before entering stage. Oddly enough to hard hitting track by Anthrax. A mood most would have not expected to encounter.

He then immediately shared his love for the Tanks Arts Centre and commented on how every local journalist had mentioned to him about the recently installed air-conditioning (I being one of them!).

‘I do really love this place and love being here..  It’s just nice to be inside an oil tank, sometimes you yearn to be in an old oil tank’ (laughter) said Dempsey.

With his strong and unique voice captivating the audience from his first lyric, it was his second song ‘Fast Friends’ from the his first album ‘Everything Is True’ that got the crowd singing a long with him word to word and continued into his third song  ‘Have You Fallen Out Of Love’.

With his good sense of humour shining through over the course of the evening, Dempsey would often speak to the audience about how the songs came about and what they truly meant.  When discussing how the track ‘Strange Loop’ came about, he talked about a trip to India and not returning as a spiritual guru, unlike a lot of people he knew had.

The first of a number off interesting covers over the evening was a beautiful version of the MGMT song ‘Time To Pretend’, showing Dempsey’s great ability to make a song his own. Before launching into a brillant version of his band Something For Kate’s hit Deju Vu.

Having toured with the late great David Bowie in 2004, Dempsey talked about recently playing at a tribute show  with Bowie’s band at the Sydney Opera House.  After suggestions from the crowd, he asked the audience to choose between him playing ‘Space Oddity’ or ‘Ashes To Ashes’. With an even vote to hard to split, Dempsey decided to play both songs to much delight. With his haunting vocal in ‘Ashes To Ashes’ making the hair stand on the back of a lot of necks!

‘Ramona Was A Waitress’ kept spirits in the room high while  ‘Morning Less’ was performed with the same sheer intensity you would expect from a full rock band.

Receiving a cold beer from a punter in the crowd, Paul toasted the gentleman as ‘the most thoughtful man in the audience’ before launching into a heartfelt version of the track ‘Idiot Oracle’ from his latest LP ‘Strange Loop’.

Finishing the night on a high, Dempsey pulled out the Queen classic ‘I Want To Break Free’ with many in the audience mimicking Brian May famous solo. He also added that he planned to return to The Tanks with Something For Kate in the near future. A great ending to a fitting night by one of Australia’s most respected singer-songwriters.

Mitch Sullivan

Photos by Jen Frei – Frei Films

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