Live Review: Paul Dempsey + Fraser A. Gorman – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (26.02.16)

Ultra mellow singer-songwriter Fraser A. Gorman opened proceedings to a building Friday night crowd at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne’s Richmond. With a breezy blend of tunes, including a cover of Wilco’s “Passenger Side”, and some quirky, off-beat story telling (my favourite moment was a tale regarding the evil nature of children, just beating the merits of kebabs on a night out), Gorman captured the attention of the audience, earning applause with his laid-back songs – such as “Big Old World”.

Paul Dempsey, lead singer of Something for Kate, took to the stage just after 10pm with his band and it was evident there were many fans present eager to see him perform. I confess to this being the first time experiencing Dempsey live and as “Bats” rang out through the venue, it was clear I’ve been missing out. Already an impressive presence physically on stage – surely something well over six and a half foot tall – his voice filled the room with a richness and clarity that was captivating. With a sold-out crowd it was well and truly standing room only in the venue and, possibly complicated by the Roast Duck Curry I’d consumed just prior, igniting my face from within, it was necessary to shift location a few songs in to find some moving air.

“Fast Friends” had the audience singing along in fine voice, and it was fascinating watching his band members, all clearly talented multi-instrumentalists, seamlessly switching instruments at will. The Corner always has great sound and it was lovely to be able to hear the harmonies during the gig.

Dempsey treated us all to a new song, “Blindspot”, and followed soon after with “The Great Optimist”. That was my personal pick of the evening – and another tune with which the audience happily sang along.

 I can’t help but feel a bit sad that it’s taken me this long to catch on to the talent of Paul Dempsey, and I certainly feel that I have a lot of catching up to do, though with such outstanding songwriting I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a chore. If you have the chance to experience this man live I urge you to do it, at the earliest opportunity.


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