Tag Archives: Music

My review of Paul Dempsey’s recent London gig…

A few nights ago my wife and I saw Paul Dempsey in concert and I have to say that it was the best gig I have seen in years and probably one of the best that I have ever attended. Yes, it really was that good. For those of you not in the know, Dempsey is the lead singer of Something for Kate’, a band from Australia who I have been a fan of for many years ever since first listening to ‘The Official Fiction’ and enjoying it. It is the opinion of this reviewer that SfK are a band, unlike a long list of others whom I have previously enjoyed, that has only gotten better as the years have passed and they have made more music. ‘Desert Lights’ was a favourite of mine for many years, it is excellent and it was only replaced in my affections by the subsequent album, ‘Leave Your Soul to Science’, though that one took more listens for me to warm to. And since then the latest has been in my regular rotation of albums.

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In addition to his work with SfK, Dempsey has also been building himself a solo career. He released  a collection of acoustic covers in 2013 with ‘Shotgun Karaoke that was then followed by ‘Everything is True’ in 2014 and standout tracks include ‘Fast Friends’, ‘Theme from Nice Guy’ and ‘Ramona Was a Waitress’. In 2017 came ‘Strange Loop’ (cover above), the superb latest album, and one that has been on hard rotation on both my wife and my mp3 players, as well as on our home stereo. Our favourites from this album include the title track, ‘Morningless’, ‘Hey History (Don’t Go Changing)’ and ‘Volunteers’. When we heard that he would be extending his European tour with a date added in London and one in Dublin we were first in line to grab the tickets.

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My wife and I have seen some gigs over the years that were excellent but only a few. Powderfinger, another Aussie rock staple, at the Birmingham Academy was truly something special partly due to the fact that they usually fill stadia back in Oz and we were in the second row and partly down to Bernard Fanning and the band being consummate performers. That gig was incredible and I am hopefully that Fanning will return to the UK at some point during his impressive solo career. Red Sky July are always excellent (my review here: https://tinyurl.com/lpak4vx) and another standout was Ben Folds. Seeing SfK is a dream that I have had for many years now, though I have always been realistic that this probably won’t happen, but Paul Dempsey provided the next best thing by playing an impressive one hour and forty five minute set that spanned all of his solo work and a few well-known SfK songs.

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Dempsey played the gig without any backing so it was just him and a guitar on stage. And he absolutely stormed it, giving an impressive performance while visibly being tired from his time on the road. Standout tracks of the night included ‘Strange Loop’ and ‘Morningless’ (at least for me, anyway) and the SfK classics ‘Déjà vu’ and ‘Monsters’. I wasn’t even sure that Dempsey would even play any SfK songs but ‘Déjà vu’ really brought the house down and I am ever more hopeful that he might bring the band back for a European tour in the near future. My wife and I will happily see Dempsey again any chance we get, hopefully soon, and interestingly enough neither of us have wanted to stop listening to his solo albums following the excellent gig. And if SfK do come London I just need them to play ‘Deep Sea Divers’, one of the most achingly beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, then I truly will be happy. Here’s hoping!

 

‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ now has TWELVE reader reviews with an average of 4.4 stars and is available from all electronic retailers including Amazon UK here: http://tinyurl.com/pgjd68z. The sequel, ‘Jesus Returns: here he comes again’, will be out soon! Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Finally, follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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My ‘rambling’s on one of my favourite bands, ‘Red Sky July’…

I have been a fan of Shelley Poole (below, centre) for a very long time, ever since she was one half of Alisha’s Attic in the 90’s, through her solo career, to her current incarnation as one of the members of her latest band, Red Sky July (RSJ). As a teenager I was a huge fan of Alisha’s Attic and I wish I’d seen them live, but the only gig I could’ve attended unfortunately took place during a planned vacation. Luckily for me her new band, with Charity Hair (below, right) and her husband Ally McErlaine (below, left) from Texas (the band, not the place), have given me a chance to keep up to date with her endeavours and to enjoy what she is currently doing. And what they are doing is pretty fantastic!

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So, right off the bat I would say that everything RSJ has done is worth your time, though I obviously have personal favourites. RSJ make country music, but not American chart Country music, this is real country music, stripped down and beautiful. Their first, self-titled album is gorgeous, with ‘Morning Song’ (they happily tell fans at gigs  that this was their first collaboration and the reason the band began) and ‘Loving You’s Easy’ as stand out tracks, though you may struggle to find a physical copy as I think it has sold out. It is, however, available digitally (http://tinyurl.com/zzv8ejr). Their second album, Shadowbirds (http://tinyurl.com/h28w3kl), is superb and is mine and my wife’s favourite album of the three and songs like ‘Renegade’ and the title track stand out.

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Their third, ‘The Truth and the Lie’, aims more for the mainstream audience and succeeds in changing their sound for this market, though I personally prefer the more stripped down versions when we see them play live. Standout tracks include ‘Sway’, which is stunning, ‘Jetrails’ and the title track. They then returned to what they do best with ‘Voyager’, a six track EP available online only (http://tinyurl.com/jk2e637). I would say that their albums now rank among my wife and my favourites of the last few years and make for great driving music too! Shelley’s solo album, Hard Time for the Dreamer (http://tinyurl.com/j555c5k), is also an absolute gem but, like with their eponymous debut, you might have a hard time finding it for a reasonable price.

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Seeing these guys live is an absolute treat though, unlike some of their truly dedicated fans, I have only managed to see them at the Green Note in Camden. This tiny little café can’t hold more than a few dozen people and my wife, my family and I have seen them play several times in this most intimate of settings. They are sat on a small stage literally a few feet away from the crowd and they engage and banter with the audience in an incredibly intimate way. The only other time I have ever come this close to a band was seeing Powderfinger at the Birmingham Carling Academy, who filled stadia back in Australia, and being in the second row in the audience. Like that, seeing RSJ in such a remarkably small space is a true delight.

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The other thing that I love about RSJ is their attitude towards their fans. You will never see more fan service than their gigs at the Green Note, especially their wonderful Christmas gigs, where you’ll also hear their lovely Christmas song, ‘Save Christmas Day For Me’ (http://tinyurl.com/ho3bth2). Shelley, Ally and Charity will happily sign anything you ask, they’ll take photos with you and Shelley also takes an interest in her fans, getting to know their lives. The one disadvantage that I am at is that my parents have become bigger fans of RSJ than my wife and I, as we were at somewhat of an disadvantage living in Canada from 2010 to the end of 2014. My mother and father saw them many more times during that period than we were able to and so now have a closer relationship with the band than I do. Grumbles!

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If you have any interest in great music, if you like supporting wonderful bands, or you simply want to see a superb live show, then I would recommend you give Red Sky July a go. Tickets for the Green Note shows disappear astonishingly quickly so act quickly if you want to see them there. Otherwise check out their albums and gigs at other venues! Cheers!

 

My debut novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’, now has TWELVE reader reviews with an average of 4.4 stars and is available from all electronic retailers. It’s sequel, ‘Jesus Returns: here he comes again’, will be out soon! Also check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on being an indie author, comics, politics, and reviews of books and movies! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!

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