Paul Dempsey’s effortless talent and explosive vocals returned to Adelaide once again on February 7th with his solo acoustic performance at Lion Arts Factory. Alana Jagt a local Adelaide artist, began the night as support act with her acoustic set. Her stage presence was profound, performing some truly enchanting folk-rock tunes. Alana immediately captured audience attention as the crowd acknowledged her uniqueness, with an audience member even saying; “Wow, THAT’S a voice!” She played covers from a fellow Adelaide band West Thebarton and a cover of Ween’s Sarah. Alana’s distinct 1960’s folk/country vibe and romantic vocals were highlighted in her original catchy tunes Somehow, Sometime before she ended her set with a new track Imagining Life, from her upcoming album.
As a darkness and hush descended onto the crowd, Paul jumped straight into his opening track The True Sea, from 2016’s album Strange Loop. Equipped with his sultry vocals that continue to connect with his decade-long fans, Paul displayed his signature spellbinding sound as he repeatedly droned “she makes the ocean seem like a drop in the ocean”. He broke the piercing silence after his opening tune on a very humid night by simply smiling at us and saying “Hey! It’s going to get hot in here tonight.” Realising what he’d said, Paul then told us in jest, “Well hopefully it will be an electrifying and dynamic show…but I can’t control the temperature.”
In a dapper dark blue shirt and smart outfit, Paul joked with the audience about how the next song will be a cover of his own track from the new Something For Kate album to be released later this year. He mentioned the new song was because of member Stephanie Ashworth’s inspiration and her great bass lines. While fondly speaking about Clint and Steph from Something For Kate, Paul became hotter from the humid summer air and he realised that he missed the white towels they give the band because tonight he “really need(s) that towel.” Paul constantly made fans laugh along with him and his humble and friendly personality made it feel as though he was just our mate not an Australian music icon. We listened to him telling tour stories and how he played at Lion Arts back in 2011 on another sweltering summer night where he could “cook a chicken” on stage. Paul mixed a playlist of his iconic tracks from his solo albums, songs he’s never performed before and Something For Kate classics, like Monsters from 2001’s Echolalia and 1997’s Captain (Million Miles An Hour) from the album Elsewhere For 8 Minutes.
Pauls husky vocals and emotionally transcendent guitar chords perfectly complement his overwhelmingly picturesque and original song lyrics. This was clear in his performances of multiple tracks from his first solo album, 2009’s Everything is True, including Fast Friends, Ramona Was A Waitress, Have You Fallen Out Of Love?, Theme From Nice Guy and his first single Out The Airlock.
Surprised, audience members looked on as Paul played the intro to Eye Of The Tiger, before laughing at us and seamlessly moving into his next few songs, including originals Morningless and Blindspot as well as a cover of Kim Carrnes’ Bette Davis Eyes. Fleeting and quirky moments like these is why Paul has kept the hearts of his fans for years. As his visceral and beautiful sounds echoed through the venue, Paul Dempsey’s sold out show ended with him thanking Alana Jagt and telling us “I’ve been doing this for a very long time and it still blows my mind when you all come watch. Thank you.” Paul Dempsey will be back later this year touring with Something For Kate.
Live Review By Zara Zampaglione