Live Review: Paul Dempsey, Olympia

20 August 2016 | 2:34 pm | Liz Giuffre

"There was a familiarity to this gathering that both sides clearly weren’t taking for granted."

More Paul Dempsey More Paul Dempsey

Despite the changes on the boarded up, pre-light rail George Street, there was a reliable vibe inside The Metro tonight. Supported by fellow Melbourne songwriter Olympia (who brought a similar mix of quirk, folk and killer melody), Paul Dempsey gave the full house nearly two hours of tunes. With minimum banter between pieces, but acknowledging the crowd and returning “I love you, Paaaauul” catcalls from the darkness, new album Strange Loop was given a great live airing.

Dedicating sweary newbie Hey History (Don’t Go Changin’) to Donald Trump, Dempsey’s slow-burn swagger supported the set and charmed the hell out of the crowd. Olympia and band soared throughout the main set, too; adding colour and shape to his sonic stories.

Highlights included The Great Optimist, Volunteers, Lifetime Supply and Idiot Oracle, while Dempsey described Be Somebody as a song about “the worst pick-up line of all time”.  As a collection, the new stuff is perhaps a little more subdued than Dempsey’s previous offerings, but live there was plenty of room to let the tracks expand.

Returning to older treads Out The Airlock had us swaying as one, while a cover of Television’s Elevation ticked the box for fans who love an obscure piece of Dempsey’s self-described shotgun karaoke. He teased us with the threat of a Cure track – not this time, sadly, but perhaps one day (imagine!). Not much in terms of very old tunes this time around, with Ramona Was A Waitress, Fast Friends and Bats bunched together. Having said that, you don’t really need much more than the last's simple repeat “nobody’s ever gunna break your heart again”  you get something new every time you hear Dempsey do it.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter


Thanking the crowd several times for “just being here, for coming out to hear us”, there was a familiarity to this gathering that both sides clearly weren’t taking for granted. See and hear you for the next collection, Paul.