I was extremely fortunate this year to enjoy a performance by the enigmatic Ed Kuepper and Mark Dawson in July of 2016. Whilst familiar with his music I had yet to see a live performance. It was a truly wonderful evening.
The venue was Belgrave’s Sooki Lounge – a premise that deftly creates an intimate setting. Decorated in the style of an Edwardian Parlour it offers an assortment of seating arranged before the (slightly vaudeville) stage – complete with long velvet curtains and fringed burgundy pelmets.
The setting perfectly accommodated Ed’s intimate style of showmanship. He engaged directly with the audience incorporating each person into his performance. The atmosphere was familial and warm and characterised by a diversity of age groups. The banter between Ed and percussionist Mark (Dawson) was typically witty and added to the approachability of this extraordinary musical talent.
The quality of Ed’s live work was impeccable. He drew from a comprehensive collection of songs ranging from his days with the Laughing Clowns to tracks from his recent album (Lost Cities). All tracks were united by the fact that within each song could be heard the ebullient origins of punk underpinned with a variety of influences – rock, soul and avant-jazz.
One particular highlight of his performance was a version of Collapse Board by Laughing Clowns. Introduced by Ed as the most depressing song of 1983 (as declared by Australian Music Magazine) his rendition was vibrant and evocative. He completed his set with two hauntingly atmospheric songs from the soundtrack he wrote for the 2015 film Last Cab to Darwin.
A truly remarkable musician.