Something For Kate front man Paul Dempsey is currently embarking on a run of solo shows on the back of his most recent album Strange Loop, including a much anticipated show at the NightQuarter in Helensvale on 10 February.
A lot of the shows on this tour are taking in more out of the way regional centres such as Cairns and Darwin, and I ask Paul about his experiences with playing to crowds who are not as spoilt for choice as their capital city brethren when it comes to live music.
“They definitely appreciate it. I guess regional crowds can be a little bit more loose. But then again my solo shows are a bit looser anyway. Because it’s just me up there with a guitar and you’re not blowing the audience away with volume, there’s just more opportunity for interaction with them. You hear people singing along, you hear people yelling stuff out during songs and you end up having a real back and forth with the audience. It usually ends up being very funny!”
With a long term fan-base known for their rabid devotion to Dempsey’s extensive back catalogue, I ask him how he handles the inevitable audience shout out requests for obscure Something For Kate numbers that are part and parcel of these more intimate shows.
“Well I bring a rough set list on stage with me but I don’t usually stick to it with the solo shows. Because people do yell out requests, and sometimes you’ll go “yeah what the hell I’ll give that a crack” and you just sorta say to the audience “if I forget a few lines in this one you’ll just have to fill in for me.” Sometimes I can literally stop singing for a couple of lines and just listen to the audience singing. It’s really different to being up there with a band, where it’s just so loud and forceful that the crowd are pretty much beaten into submission!”
In 2012 Paul released an album of covers called Shotgun Karaoke, featuring his reinterpretations of tracks from artists as diverse as Archers of Loaf, Queen, Wilco and INXS. I asked Paul if it was easy to pick which tracks made the final cut on that record, and if he has any plans to pump out another volume down the track.
“Those songs (on Shotgun Karaoke) are just all old favourites of mine, and that album was recorded in an afternoon. I treated it pretty casually and I might just bang out another one at some stage, when the time feels right. I love throwing covers into my set, it’s a bit of fun. But I’m also wary of becoming known as ‘that guy who does covers’, so you know, there’s a time and a place for it.”
The time and the place to mark down for Paul Dempsey disciples is Friday 10 February at NightQuarter, where he’ll be bringing the banter, the singalongs, a deep back catalogue of much loved originals and a smattering of covers in equal measure.
Image (c) Dan Boud