Performing on October 6th 2012 @ The Corner Hotel
If you need to demonstrate the devotion of Something For Kate’s fanbase, you need not illustrate that they sold out The Corner three times over for the opening dates of their current national tour; but instead that the same bursting crowd has turned out in full to see The Gin Club’s Ben Salter support the Melbourne trio.
Between his clouded tuft of brown hair and sharp-suited visage, Salter looks like your average singing, songwriting troubadour, but when he scrunches his eyes and opens his mouth, any concepts of mediocrity are swiftly evicted from the packed venue.
Ably demonstrating why his solo debut, The Cat, won a QMA award for Album of the Year, Salter’s solo show does riveting things with naught but his plaintive acoustic playing and his striking, strident vocals on the likes of ‘Opportunities’ and a rousing version of Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’.
The Boss connection continues once Something For Kate grace the stage, with bassist Stephanie Ashworth sporting a vintage Springsteen tee. She’s tailed by drummer Clint Hyndman, whose sleeve-length tattoos and bushman’s beard make him look like ‘Born To Run’s titular escapee.
Front and centre is the affable presence of Paul Dempsey who with nary a wink to the crowd, kick starts the set with the yearning ‘Eureka’.
Taken from SFK’s first album in six years, Leave Your Soul To Science, it is the first of many cuts from a record that demonstrates a band charged by a newfound sense of urgency.
Through the turbulence of their own personal lives, including their new-found roles as parents, they now sound like a band playing to their instincts, trying more adventurous tricks that their older, ponderous selves may have second-guessed.
The snarling bass and off-kilter 7/4 timing of the sinister sounding ‘The Kids Will Get The Money’ for instance, which actually derails a hiccupped intro. But “with that monumental fuck-up out of the way” as Dempsey humorously puts it, they whip through a set that balances the new, with their rich back catalogue.
The pair of ‘Monsters’ and ‘Say Something’ from 2001’s Echolalia follow, and don’t sound a lick over ten years old, as the teeming punters join in full-lunged ardour.
A heroic version of ‘The Futursit’, and scintillating version of ‘Back To You’ also get a deservingly passionate response, while ‘The Last Minute’ – the closing track from the group’s 1997 debut – also gets a showing. Dempsey dedicating it to original bassist Julian Carroll, “who’s out there amongst you tonight.”
A solo version of the acoustic-led ‘Deep Sea Divers’ proves once again why Dempsey is as smart a writer as he is a magnetic performer. Silencing all but those singing in unison to his shanty featuring “a transsexual at the bottom of the sea.”
Later, following set highlights like ‘You Only Hide’, fan favourite ‘Pinstripe’ and the insistent hammering of ‘Star Crossed Citizens’; Dempsey pays tribute to Powderfinger, a band they regularly supported, before inviting Darren Middleton on stage to jam through a loose-limbed ‘Ship Of Fools’ and a suitably thundering version of ‘Electricity’.
While its bluster would have made a suitable finish, Something For Kate instead opt for a gentle close with the “secular hymn to the moment”, ‘Begin’.
As beginnings go, the opening night of the band’s first tour in four years was a stone-cold triumph.