[MUSIC ~ AUS]
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Sat 14 Sep.
Ed Kuepper is back on tour, and tonight it is Adelaide’s turn to experience the latest iteration of the great man’s music. Kuepper’s gigs always offer something a little different, and this evening he is playing solo with a couple of electric guitars and a stomp box. He greets the audience and takes his seat, announcing that his opening number will be a song that was released 41 years’ ago, on his first band’s third album. Swing For The Crime from The Saints’ Prehistoric Sounds LP is anticipated and delivered. Kuepper introduces his next song in a rambling manner, a true story that he’s made up about cold war spies, bringing laughter from the audience. Horse On The Water, from 1990’s Today Wonder album, is the song in question.
Kuepper appears to be in good spirits; he brings an easygoing manner to the stage. He’s not saying a lot, and the tunes just keep on coming. The seated audience seems to be in a similar mood; the songs are listened to respectfully and appreciated by all. What Can I Leave You? is typically compelling. The show isn’t too loud, which helps to discern the vocals, but they could probably be just slightly higher in the mix. You can almost hear a pin drop during Messin’ With The Kid.
The set has covered pretty much all the stages of Kuepper’s long and prolific career. As usual, he’s in control. The meandering, ponderous Pavane gives way to a lengthy chat about the merits of playing new stuff, the reasons behind this tour, and his approach to playing his songs in new and different ways each time he performs them. He even tells a joke; very corny and quite funny.
At one point, Kuepper says that he thinks tonight’s gig features just about every song he’s ever released. He’s been going for almost two hours and isn’t showing any signs of wrapping things up.
After some serious exhortation from a few audience members, Kuepper relents and plays (I’m) Stranded, the song that more or less started things off for him and The Saints. It’s not often that he brings it out, so it’s good to hear him play and sing this Australian punk classic.
As the evening moves towards its conclusion, the crowd loosens up a little. There’s some audience participation in Sleepyhead, which is fun. A humming section, no less. There are a few good-natured comments exchanged between Kuepper and punters, and even a little dancing during more popular numbers such as La Di Doh and The Way I Made You Feel. The former finishes the set proper, while the latter is saved for the encore.
After the short encore, Kuepper calls it quits at 11.45. It’s been a marathon; some two hours and 45 minutes, but Ed Kuepper has, yet again, managed to maintain the quality of the performance while keeping folks engaged and happy.
Image courtesy of David Robinson