Live Review: Paul Dempsey, Fraser A Gorman

22 February 2016 | 11:55 am | Liz Giuffre

"Tonight was much more about finding your new favourite rather than hearing your old one."

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That Paul Dempsey dude is more than alright. A career as songwriter/singer/guitarist for Something For Kate would be enough for most, but he also keeps on as a solo artist and patron of the next wave of local songwriters.

Tonight that wave was ridden by support Fraser A Gorman, a Melbourne alt-folkie signed to indie Milk Records, home of Courtney Barnett and co. Gorman's style is old folkie but with a new indie twang, with Barnett's quirks a clear influence and an endearing Paul Kelly-like sense of understatement. Listen out for more.

A little before ten Paul Dempsey took the stage as part of a five-piece band, a tight fit that he mentioned a few times throughout his set with mock annoyance. "It's a bloody mess up here, but they're so good I'm not getting rid of anyone," he joked about his players. The set to follow was dominated by new tunes getting their first airings, and they were bloody lovely indeed. There seemed to be a new love of waltz-like timings and sensibilities, with tunes dedicated to personifying history, finding volunteers in unusual places and what Dempsey called "a song about the worse pick-up line ever". It sounds weird on paper, but in practice it was lovely. The set also featured lots from his first solo album, including Bats, Out The Airlock and Man Of The Moment — with the latter particularly gorgeous in its dynamic and mid-song break. A couple of rowdy kids down the front decided that there should be a bit more Something For Kate, and while Dempsey did oblige with a tip of his hat, at the end of the day be politely put them in their place, saying "I don't mean to be rude but I'm gonna get on with what I've planned now." Amen. There were still plenty of opportunities to sing along and share the love, including a cover of Bowie's Ashes To Ashes performed with affection and a straight bat, although tonight was much more about finding your new favourite rather than hearing your old one.