Paul Dempsey @ Rosemount Hotel
with Blake Scott
Friday, June 9, 2017
It’s no secret that the people of Perth have a true love for this guy, and if you have ever had the chance to experience a Paul Dempsey concert in the flesh then it’s quite easy to understand why. Embarking on his second full national outing since the release of 2016’s Strange Loop and in support of his latest single Blindspot, this is a one man who appears to be endlessly touring, but with such a raw talent for song writing and a voice of soulful, melodic-melancholy if he is not considered a national treasure by now then there is something amiss with our country.
With yet another seamlessly sold out show in the West, (and what is now an almost sold out national run) Dempsey’s Blindspot tour saw him take to the brand spankin’ new Rosemount stage with full backing band in tow to belt out a near two hour set comprised almost entirely of tracks from 2009’s Everything is True and of course, last year’s Strange Loop.
The local love in the main room was palpable and the anticipation was building steadily as special guest, Blake Scott of The Peep Temple brought his support set to a close as those attempting to now squeeze in to the back of a room which was fast becoming tight as a drum.
Paul Dempsey took to the stage to a thunderous reception and launched straight into his set with the tracks Bird In A Basement, followed immediately by Nobody’s Trying To Tell Me Something, he then addressed the elephant in the room (which ironically enough was the room itself).
“It’s lovely to be back here in Perthiopia. And it’s lovely to be back here at the Rosemount, and the Rosemount is looking very, very fantastic, I must say. Well done for re-jigging your room”
Ah, the room, yes, let’s talk about the new room for a moment, for those of you who have not yet had the chance to get down to check out the refurb, maybe (and hopefully) this is just a case of getting used to, but the new room is yet to grow on me. What I used to love about the Rosemount’s main room was it’s rustic cosiness, a corner stage, and dance floor, band and tour posters plastering the roof and walls, but most importantly, a bar where it is easy to get a beer. This seems to have now been traded away for what now feels to be almost a cocktail lounge vibe. One thing is for sure, when this new room is sold out, you will definitely feel the claustrophobia.
But maybe I’m just being a dick? (I thought to myself), as Dempsey said to his audience, as if he may have heard my thoughts and was speaking just to me as he was kicking off with another crowd-pleaser, The Great Optimist “This is positive, this is a song about positivity, so try to be positive when someone else is being a dick”.
Following on with a couple more tracks from the new record, Hey History and Blindspot, it felt like he was emoting direct to the real Dempsey-die-hards in the room, the latter especially seems to have the ability to really draw on that much loved Something for Kate sound and really invoke an emotional response from his live audience, truly one of his best from last year’s record.
Although his only real dedication of the night was actually to his bass player, Patrick Burke with his gorgeous ballad Have You Fallen Out Of Love?
Dempsey just seems to have this authentic ability to genuinely connect to a live audience, made extra special when the stage is literally feet away from his wide eyed fans who take in every lyric and melody he projects. And of course no one goes to see one of his live shows without hanging out for a perfectly crafted cover track, in this case taken from the Fleetwood Mac masterpiece, Rumours was The Chain. A live cover which blended perfectly with the feel and tempo of the evening’s of part rock, part folk, part balladeer persona.
Smashing out a flurry of other tracks such as Bats, Ramona Was A Waitress, Take Us To Your Leader and finishing with the big mover, Morningless before returning for a three song encore of Idiot Oracle, The True Sea and Theme From Nice Guy it’s hard not to get swept up in such an intimate show, and it’s true that Dempsey has more of an affinity with his local pub venues, you can feel his enjoyment of playing so close to an adoring audience as he puts his all into every performance. The melodic eclecticism of the song writing, tightness of his band are projected brilliantly from the stage and no doubt he wont be staying away from us for too long.