Twenty years in the music industry is a something worth celebrating. A band will only last that long if they have genuine chemistry and a real appreciation of the connection between performer and audience. Something for Kate demonstrated both in spades in the final show of their anniversary tour in front of a sell-out crowd at HQ. Much more than a by-the-numbers greatest hits show, this was a night for the fans.
After years of playing together, there is a palpable bond between trio Paul Dempsey (vocals & guitar), Stephanie Ashworth (bass) and Clint Hyndman (drums). From the intermittent looks they shoot each other across the stage to Dempsey playing a furious guitar solo with his forehead resting against Ashworth’s back, it’s clear that they enjoy making and playing music together.
Joined on stage by touring member John Hedigan on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, the band delivered two powerful career-spanning sets.
The tone of the show was set with a 20 minute retrospective film that included interviews with the three band members, live footage and clips from music videos. Then the group took the stage, presenting a chronological tour through their musical history, starting with “Subject to Change”, the first track from their debut EP, The Answer to Both Your Questions, and ending with “Survival Expert”, the lead track from most recent album Leave Your Soul To Science.
After a ten minute break Dempsey returned solo to perform a couple of numbers, including one of the real highlights of the night, a beautiful, elegiac version of “Back to You”, for which he played the electric piano.
The full band then returned for a second set where the chronology was reversed, starting with the thumping bass of “Star Cross Citizens” from 2012 and ending with an encore of songs from their first album, Elsewhere for Eight Minutes. After more than two and half hours and thirty songs the band left the stage with the words “Thank you” written on the screen behind, a final tribute to their dedicated fan-base, before making themselves available for anyone who wanted a photo, a quick chat or something signed.
Throughout the night Something for Kate mined their back-catalogue, producing lost gems alongside better known hits. Songs like “Deja Vu” and “Monsters” (in a rocked-up arrangement) sat easily with forgotten B-sides like “You Can’t Please Everybody, Rockwell”, a song that Dempsey announced had special significance as the first track the band wrote when Ashworth joined on bass.
A super tight outfit, songs were presented with an energy and intensity that showed why people keep coming back for more. Adding to the experience, most numbers where delivered to a backdrop of visual artwork and video clips thrown across the screen behind.
Through their eclectic song choices and Dempsey’s laconic conversation with the crowd, the band demonstrated a genuine affection for their fans. The most telling sign of this, however, came after the show where the trio refused to sit behind the signing desk, opting instead to stand by the bar as punters processed through to catch a moment or two of real connection with them. It’s little wonder that they have lasted so long.
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor