Paul Dempsey played a sold out Metro last night, with Dan Kelly in support. Dan’s an old favourite of mine, but times have changed since his grungy bedroom blues with the Alpha Males, and his trajectory through yacht rock seems to have culminated in some new tunes and a new band. A band which, to a man, wore sarongs. And hats – the drummer in a pith helmet, DK himself with an old-school aviator’s helmet atop his head like a leather condom.
He’s never been short on confidence – albeit delivered with an idiosyncratic insecure swagger – and made the ballsy move of closing his set with two new songs. Definitely interested to hear his new album, Dan Kelly’s Dream, but I think his astounding debut Sing The Tabloid Blues will always be my favourite. The boys I went to the show with found him hilarious: “I’m Dan Kelly and this is my band, Dan Kelly and the Dan Kellys, now here’s a new song from my new album Dan Kelly’s Dream – it’s called ‘I’m Dan Kelly singing about being Dan Kelly'”.
Not sure why I was suprised that the venue was so packed for Paul Dempsey. In all the times I’ve seen him play as frontman of Something For Kate the band has always rocked it, and his solo material is great. Plus he’s a strappingly tall, fairly gorgeous dude with an amazing gravelly voice. From the first song he owned the crowd, and they sang along every word from Everything Is True.
But best of all were the covers. SFK used to do a killer “Rock The Casbah”, and sure enough Dempsey picked a couple of classics – totally unexpected but well enough known for everyone to go nuts. He did “Miss You” and “Born To Run”. Can you even imagine? And THEN he did what my friends and I had decided not to get our hopes up about, and played some Something For Kate. And not just any song, but “Whatever You Want”, the opener to my favourite album Beautiful Sharks.
Le sigh. So it was a way more energetic show than I was expecting, and the crowd really lifted it to another level. Unfortunately cameras weren’t allowed (which I didn’t realise until after I took photos of Dan Kelly!) and I had had one too many gins to pull off the stealthy paparazzi moves. So please content yourself with grainy YouTube footage….