Live Review: Paul Dempsey, Olympia

30 August 2016 | 11:26 am | Mark Beresford

"...a jovial mood, a jammed setlist and an all-star band."

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Both the floor and balcony filled before the lights dropped and the sharp snap to attention drawn by opener Olympia, aka Olivia Bartley, had a heavy impact on the room.

The musical prowess that Bartley commands is fascinating to witness on stage, fearlessly wailing on her powder blue mustang, striking at each chord with ruthless temper while mixing in a softened, sweet vocal. Her rhythm section holds back, complementing the sounds for most of the set and allowing Bartley to do her thing with style and charisma. Cut backs between dual microphones and loop pedals were just some of the tricks in her bag, although they simply couldn't outshine the addictive songwriting of Smoke Signals and Somewhere To Disappear.

After touring a multitude of times with Something For Kate and smaller solo outings, seeing Paul Dempsey featuring on the Astor Theatre stage is a brilliant sight. Taking to it in a jovial mood, a jammed setlist and an all-star band, it took no time for him to begin doing exactly what he does best to the adoration of the cult fanbase present.

Dempsey has the innate ability to merge every facet of his songwriting style into a compelling two-hour set, from the boundless energy of Strange Loop and Morningless to the heartfelt acoustic composition of Have You Fallen Out Of Love? and Out The Airlock. The rollercoaster performance that Dempsey takes the room on engages every person - whether they shout their favourite lyrics or fall under the spell of his riffing and massively underrated guitar work. Although the night plays heavily to his latest release, the selection of covers scattered throughout not only keep the fans on their toes, but also further shows the reinvigorated Dempsey flashing back to his musical roots with Television and Pixies. Disappearing behind the stage curtain to a roaring applause, it's little wonder that we continue to pack out venues when we're met with a dedicated showing like this.

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