Live Review: Something For Kate - Annandale Hotel (20.08.12)

The Annandale was where Something For Kate performed their first Sydney show in the nineties. Over the years they’d play there again under various names and guises. So there really was no other choice of place for the single launch. And despite being held on a Monday night, it played host to a large, sell-out crowd of adoring fans with enormous cheers that greeted music that was bigger and better than ever.

At the work-friendly time of 9PM the group kicked off with “3 Dimensions”. Like a good wine this song has matured well with age. The re-creation tonight soared as this slice of nostalgic introspection was bathed in golden light. From early on the group were in fine form with Paul Dempsey playing the affable fella hitting the high notes just like a choirboy but with guitar playing to rival a God. Meanwhile, Stephanie Ashworth maintained her cool sway and thudding bass and Clint Hyndman was the hard-hitting timekeeper.

Dempsey exclaimed that it didn’t “feel” like a Monday night before the band launched into the new cut, “Eureka”. Musically this didn’t seem too far removed from the group’s canon but it did boast a rather interesting and plodding beat. This was followed by the broody, “Jerry Sand Up”, which made us all float away to a sultry, film noir-like soundtrack.

“Monsters” was a sing-along that was every bit as beautiful as that hit from Echolalia. A member of the audience was so captivated by the moment that he called out afterwards, “I love you Paul”. It was a sentiment shared by the room as Dempsey replied, “That’s lovely, thank you” and Steph grinned like the proud partner she is. Then a gruff bloke added, “I love you Clint” prompting Dempsey to wait for the next person to say, “I love you Steph”. It seemed as though the crowd shared some good old fashion manners and a desire to display mutual love and appreciation for such a talented group of musicians.

There was the slower-paced, almost lounge creep of “Down The Garden Path” before things were taken up a notch with the real purpose of the evening, the new chiming single, “Survival Expert”. Dempsey would dedicate this one to the Annandale’s owners, Matt and Dan Rule after saying how chuffed he is to see the venue still there, well over a decade after they first performed at the joint.

Another new song was offered, this time with a Jack Johnson-like, sun-kissed vibe and then the pulsing, “The Fireball At The End Of Everything”. This did prove to be a rather new experience for the older fans that weren’t so used to hearing such cheery, new music and shiny pop numbers with additional flourishes- but these did go down a treat. “Miracle Cure” was another new highlight with big keys; a rocking clip-clop beat and it was full of the kind of peppy bounce typically synonymous with a teenager.

The old favourites like “The Anchorman” and “Whatever You Want” were met with the kind of reverence and adoration that they rightly deserve. But despite this, the real highlight of the evening was actually a cover, after Dempsey was left alone with just an acoustic guitar. He would tackle a song he “Couldn’t get enough of at five years old”. That was Sam Brown’s “Stop” or the one that goes: “You better stop before you tear me apart”. It was raw and emotional, boasting the kind of pearls you typically find in the band’s originals.

The main set concluded with “Déjà vu” where Pip Branson joined the group to play a great violin solo. It also had some additional layers and was good fun, much like “Pinstripe”. The guys came back for an encore and closed with the highly charged “Electricity” which almost seemed like a war cry.

Something For Kate’s show had been a welcome return to the live circuit after their break. Paul Dempsey thanked us all for helping make the night sell out so quickly (and on a Monday to boot). At times it felt like he, Ashworth and Hyndman had never been away at all. Their set of old and new material was one tight and well-oiled machine. The new stuff sounds especially rousing with far more care and attention to detail having been paid in order to create additional sonics and many more textures to punctuate the overall sound. So let us all wait with bated breath for their next run of live shows in October. Can’t wait!