"It's this self-exposure that's really really interesting, and that offers a sense of potential in this space/format in future."
Triple j Mornings presenter Zan Rowe introduced us to the very first MyTunes on Wednesday at inner city venue Giant Dwarf. Giant Dwarf is a gem in the Sydney local arts/culture scene, and seeing their expansion into music is exciting - there's an opportunity presented for intimate sitdown sets from the kinds of artists who don't need a stadium set-up to keep the crowd's attention.
One such artist is the inimitable Paul Dempsey. He opens the gig/talk with Captain (Million Miles An Hour) and Deep Sea Divers, two tracks chosen by our host Rowe. Dempsey easily falls into the role of performer, immediately inhabiting the songs, all gangly limbs and crying out, holding the audience captive. Later in the night Dempsey performed Ramona Was A Waitress, the stomach-churning (in a good way?) Monsters, and a song from his recently recorded second solo album, before ending the night with Rowe's favourite Dempsey/Something For Kate song, Whatever You Want.
The intention is for artists to be interviewed, to engage in a conversation with a fan - the pairings aim to illuminate something about host and artist previously unseen. Unfortunately at this point the night doesn't seem successful yet: Rowe conducted a fairly straightforward interview, Dempsey rarely revealing insights the awed crowd hadn't heard before. It was his quips and jibes that made the whole experience worthwhile, as well as a moment at the end of the night where Rowe opened up about Beautiful Sharks, and its role as a call-to-action for Rowe in getting out of relationship-limbo when it first came out in 1999. It's this self-exposure that's really really interesting, and that offers a sense of potential in this space/format in future - the possibility for a conversation about music's power to come to you just when you need it most, to be shaping, to be a soundtrack for milestones and difficult decisions, to connect people.