Live Review | Something For Kate + The Orbweavers @ Melbourne Zoo Twilights – February 21, 2014

Review by Ben Connolly
Something For Kate Melb ZooGig talkers are just the pits aren’t they? The bane of any true fans, their inanities strike at the most inopportune of moments, ruining a classic heart on the sleeve moment or a strained high-note, in spite of the daggers of ice being shot across the room, or even the indignant ‘shushing’ from those more forthright in their opinions. Things get a little swayed, however, when those interrupting the moments are three fully grown lions displaying their pleasure/displeasure in no uncertain terms.

And that’s exactly the bizarre set of circumstances thrown up at you when your Friday night gig is set in the heart of one of Melbourne’s most treasured inner-city reserves – the Royal Melbourne Zoo. Its Zoo Twilight series is now in full swing, hosting fellow Melbournites Something For Kate on its current swing around the country playing on specialist outdoor stages. Wedged in between the entrance and the lion’s den, the stage area is a beautiful vista of sunset-tinged greenery interspersed with picnic blankets and a solid smattering of baby capsules.

The vista is the least of the attractions, however, when lulls in the proceedings on stage throughout the night are interspersed with the rather off-putting mewls of the lion enclosure just off to the right. It’s a test of the attention span all through the evening to stay glued to the stage, or to sit ogling the natural beauty of these awesome creatures.

It’s a battle fought early on by fellow locals The Orbweavers, whose sinewy and slight folk pop was lost to the elements and the attractions. Devoid of a rhythm section, the group hangs off the story telling and folksy delivery of frontwoman Marita Dyson and an occasional horn lick to pull it through. It’s no match for the event and it vanishes in the chatter and cheese platters of the picnic rug set.

There were no such dramas with Something For Kate’s booming introduction: a cracking cover of R.E.M’s The One I Love. It’s a bold move to open a gig with a cover, but covers have become a ‘thing’ for SFK over the years, and Dempsey in particular, with whole albums and a special YouTube video series during its last tour showcasing the depth and musical nerdistry it brings to the occasion.

The twangy intro to the now teenaged Electricity sets the gig proper on its course. And it’s a rollicking setlist which nods heavily towards its reformation opus “Leave Your Soul To Science”. Survival Expert and Eureka both display the curious blend of lyrical smarts and strained passion for which the collective, and Dempsey as a solo artist, have staked their claim on for the past two decades.

Crisp breezes and the silent sunset migration of fruitbats accompanies the bulk of the early set run, which cherry picks from a formidable back-catalogue while resisting the call of falling into a hits and memories package. A mid-set breather sees the off-kilter Down The Garden Path from maligned “Desert Lights” album butt up against a solo of new track Deep Sea Divers, allowing a moment of bonding introspection between audience and band (before those damned pesky lions had their say).

A triumvirate of post-grunge largesse rounds out the set, with the slow build of The Fireball At The End Of Everything melding perfectly with a drought-breaking thump of Miracle Cure, before bringing the tale all the way back home with an ever angst-ridden Captain (Million Miles An Hour). An encore once again proves Demsey’s impressive cover-song chops – this time an unlikely take on Cavlin Harris and Florence Welch’s dance hit Sweet Nothing. It proves the straw which breaks the camel’s back and has the entire lawn on its feet and collectively ditching the cheese and picnic rugs. A lovely fitting end to a seriously underrated Melbourne band and gig series. Just don’t mind the pesky gig talkers.

Act: Something For Kate –
The Orbweavers –
Date: February 21, 2014
Venue: Melbourne Zoo Twilight –

Photos by Geoffrey D’Unienville for Life Music Media
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