Something For Kate
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Something For Kate

with Courtney Barnett


It’s been more than six years since Something For Kate’s last national tour, but much to the delight of their dedicated fan base, the Australian rock band are back, celebrating the release of last year’s album Leave Your Soul To Science with their Star-Crossed Cities Tour. Promising a set brimming with hits from their extensive back catalogue and plenty of new material, last night’s show in Brisbane at the Hi-Fi was jam packed with fans, young and old.

We arrived just as Courtney Barnett and her band The Courtney Barnetts were kicking off their set. Barnett’s distinctive husky voice is bold and powerful, and despite the pushing and squeezing going on as the crowd made their way into the venue, she effortlessly held the audience’s attention. Barnett’s music is difficult to describe; it doesn’t slot neatly into any one genre. She’s described it as ‘slacker garage pop,’ but add in some rock and a bit of country and blues and you’re starting to get on the right track. The lyrics, however, are what won me over. Witty and deadpan, Barnett takes the ordinary, and the not-so-ordinary, and turns it into something special. Her latest single ‘Avant Gardener’ describes anaphylactic shock and ‘Are You Looking After Yourself’ follows a hilariously familiar conversation between Barnett and a worried parent. Barnett played a bunch of songs off her first EP I’ve got a friend called Emily Ferris including ‘Lance Jr.’ and ‘Porcelain,’ before finishing with last’s years critically-acclaimed hit ‘History Eraser’, which will be featured on her second EP, scheduled for release in the next few months.

We decided to leave our spot during the break to get a drink, which, in hindsight, was a bad idea given how full the Hi-Fi had become. We ended up towards the back with a fairly shoddy view but it didn’t diminish the show at all. Something For Kate opened with ‘Captain (Million Miles An Hour)’ from way back in 1997 and being surrounded by passionate fans singing along to each and every word made it hard to not to get caught up in the excitement.

The band played for almost two hours, moving through an extensive set of old and new material, each seeming to elicit a louder cheer than the last. The band delivered plenty of tunes from Leave Your Soul To Science: last year’s single ‘Survival Expert’ got a huge reaction, as did ‘Star-Crossed Citizens’ and ‘The Fireball At The End Of Everything’ which had the crowd clapping along. I especially enjoyed ‘Sooner Or Later You’ll Have To Do Something About Me’ and ‘Private Rain’. We also went back in time to Something For Kate’s archives, with ‘Monsters’ being perhaps the biggest song of the night. ‘Anarchitect’ and ‘Strategy’ from the band’s first album [i]Elsewhere for 8 Minutes[i/] and ‘The Astronaut’ and ‘Hallways’ from their second release, [i]Beautiful Sharks[/i], also made an appearance.

Although we couldn’t really see the stage, frontman Paul Dempsey had plenty to say to the crowd, who lapped up each and every joke, anecdote and ‘thank you’ he offered. After the set wound up, the inevitable roar for an encore had the band back on stage for a few more songs. Triple J listeners may have heard Something For Kate’s cover of 'Sweet Nothing' by Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch on Like A Version, and we got to hear it live last night. Dempsey’s voice was made for this song and the transformation of the electronic dance tune was nothing short of genius. Dempsey then took us, in his words, “way back” to 1996’s ‘Dean Martin’, and ‘Déjà Vu’ was the perfect song to round out an incredible set.

Something For Kate are mind-blowingly good live, and their devoted fan base is a testimony to just how good they are. Though they may be veterans of the Australian indie rock music scene, Something For Kate just seems to get better as time goes on.
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