Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Something For Kate gig [7th September 2007 @ The Forum]

On Friday night, Melbourne band Something For Kate played an excellent set covering the first 12 years of their discography at the superb Forum venue on Flinders Street. The gig coincided with the release of their latest best-of double-album The Murmur Years; the title references their Sony subsidiary record label Murmur, while also being a sly nod to the similarly titled R.E.M. best-of The I.R.S. Years, a band whose debut (and arguably best) album was itself entitled Murmur. Get it?

The gig started with frontman Paul Dempsey performing a solo acoustic version of Impossible, from their 2006 album Desert lights. This wasn't a track that had really stood out for me on Desert lights (which was not one of my favourite albums of 2006), but the track really grabbed me live and hearing it in this setting (and also as an acoustic number) gave me a renewed appreciation of it. It's always good when a live version of a song allows you to appreciate it in ways that you hadn't before.

The rest of the band took to the stage shortly after, and performed for a solid 90 minutes covering a good cross-section of their first five albums, from Elsewhere for 8 minutes (1997) through to Desert lights (2006) (although 2003's underrated The official fiction was a bit under-represented with only Deja vu making the cut).

They also threw in a couple of covers, and while this itself wasn't surprising (they have never been shy of a few well-placed covers during a show), the selection of covers were pleasantly surprising. They did a great version of the Elliott Smith classic Waltz #2 (XO), with the piano/guitar riff of the original performed on violin by touring 2nd guitarist/multi instrumentalist
Phillip 'Pip' Branson. Credit has to go to the late Smith for writing such a fantastic song, but the band certainly did the song justice. It was the second time I had seen Paul Dempsey perform an Elliott Smith song live, the other being the stripped-down Needle in the hay at an Elliott Smith tribute gig at the Corner Hotel in late 2004. He must be a fan, and has therefore earned even more respect from me.

The band also covered the excellent Cold Chisel cut When the war is over, but this didn't work quite as well as the Elliott Smith number. In terms of SFK song selection (after all, this was an SFK gig ;)), the highlights for me included a great version of Pinstripe from Elsewhere, The Astronaut (from their excellent 2nd album Beautiful sharks and one of my favourite SFK cuts) and the slow-building epic Back to you from the same album.

The ended the gig with an encore of two of their absolute classics: Monsters from 2001's Echolalia and Captain (million miles an hour) from Elsewhere. All in all, an enjoyable (and thanks to the new anti-smoking laws, smoke-free) gig from these great Melbournians.

Here are some videos I took:

Paul Dempsey playing 'The astronaut'. I think the people in front of me were high on something because they couldn't stand still, hence the hands constantly waving in front of me, obscuring my vision.

The 'Waltz #2' Elliott Smith cover. This video cuts out before the end of the song, as my camera ran out of memory. The focus also wasn't very good on this one.