Live Review & Gallery: Paul Dempsey w/ Toby Martin, The Factory Marrickville 230623

Sydney siders filled The Factory at Marrickville for a night of incredible acoustic melodies by Paul Dempsey of Something For Kate and Toby Martin of Youth Group last Friday night.

Toby opened the night bringing us tunes from his third solo offering ‘I Felt the Valley Lifting‘, an album he recorded whilst living in Slaithwaite Northern England. Toby has such a gift for story telling, beautifully enhanced by his soulfully sweet voice. Spring Feeling is such an uplifting song and easily made us forget it was a freezing winter’s night. Last time I saw Toby live he was accompanied by a full band. Tonight proved he only needs a microphone and acoustic guitar to guide his audience through his folk-esque style stories. He was the perfect opener to fellow indie compatriot Paul Dempsey.

Paul took to the stage in the same fashion as Toby – just a man and his acoustic guitar. As we found out, we were lucky to be hearing anything from him at all – only a couple of days prior, he had no voice! Thankfully it was back and took us through the wonderfully crafted songs Paul has become known for – of course Monsters made a welcome appearance, but I can’t not mention the incredible way that Paul interprets covers. It can often be a little risky to attempt well loved hits by other artists but Paul has a way of delivering them in such a way you could easily forget they weren’t his to begin with. One standout was easily Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley – such a moving tribute, the room teary eyed and singing along with him. He opened the night with Springsteen’s Brilliant Disguise which actually inspired me to listen to the original again over the weekend. Is it sacrilege to say that I think I enjoyed Paul’s version more?

Special mention must also go to the production team. There is nowhere to hide in pulling off the perfect mix when there’s only one instrument and one vocalist and these were delivered perfectly throughout the night. As a photographer I was especially captured by the lighting. Again, not an easy task to make a stage look interesting when the majority of it is empty, but also not to be distracting or jarring like many a gig lightshow can be. I found it a perfect balance across both acts.

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