REVIEW: Paul Dempsey at The Cambridge Hotel

About eight years ago, Something for Kate frontman, Paul Dempsey was sitting  in a beachside bungalow, owned by Silverchair’s Chris Joannou, recording what would become his first solo record, Everything is True. It was January 2009, and Dempsey took a break from recording to watch America’s first African American president being sworn in on TV.

Fast-forward eight years, and Dempsey, the self-described science fiction folk-rocker with a penchant for writing about parallel universes and dystopian futures, is back in familiar territory playing at the Cambridge on the eve of a Twilight Zone-esque Trump presidency.

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Another top drawer solo show from @pauldempseymusic in Newcastle on Friday night, this time at The Cambridge on Hunter St.

A photo posted by Dave Robbo [Running]??? (@mrdaverobbo) on


While it might have been a long time between drinks at the Cambo for Paul, and a lot may have changed in the world since then, his appeal among Newcastle punters remains stronger than ever with a solid crowd turning out on Friday night.

It was the first time Newcastle audiences were given the chance to hear tracks from Strange Loop, Paul’s latest record released last year to critical acclaim, played live, and the occasion was made all the more special by the fact that Dempsey was unaccompanied. Just Paul on stage with an acoustic guitar – not even a loop pedal.

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Striding on to the stage, he kicked off the evening with the moody-yet-romantic, ‘Blindspot’ off Strange Loop before taking it back to Everything is True with ‘Fast Friends’.

There was plenty of light and shade in the hour-and-a-half-long set with the tender, melancholy moments of ‘Have You Fallen Out Love’ and ‘Out the Airlock’ contrasting beautifully with the raw energy and aggression of tracks like ‘Morningless’. ‘Ramona Was a Waitress’ was a big crowd pleaser, as was Something for Kate throwback in ‘Déjà vu’, thrown in much to the delight of the crowd.

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Nice cover!

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Covers also featured heavily throughout the night. MGMT’s ‘Fated to Pretend’, INXS’s ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, Queen’s ‘I Want to Break Free’ and Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ all appeared, alongside Dempsey’s stunning take on Calvin Harris and Florence Welch’s ‘Sweet Nothing’.

Paul’s sound has evolved considerably since his debut release. His latest record is full of wonderfully rich tracks, which could have made this sort of one-man show a challenge for some artists.

But whether it was while belting out Strange Loop’s epic opening track ‘The True Sea’, the horn-filled ‘Morningless’, or tackling covers with iconic synth or sax solos, Paul’s immense talent made it feel like nothing was missing. From start to finish Paul was mesmerizing, surprising, and entirely entertaining.

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? #pauldempsey

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Written by Newcastle Live

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