Ed Kuepper and Jim White
June 13, 2021
My first exposure to Ed Kuepper and his oeuvre must have been in the early 1990s, when I acquired a Spanish pressing of The Saints’ (I’m) Stranded LP on Harvest Records, which curiously had a “Punk Rock!” logo on the front cover.
Once I settled on terra australis, I sought out any opportunity to see to man and his incarnations – be it as an opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, or him and parts of the original Saints line-up performing the aforementioned proto-punk album in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrows Parties festivals in 2009.
Same goes for the open-ended, genre defying improvisations of the Dirty Three, whose melange of free jazz, rock, ballads, blues and pretty much everything else in between, fascinated me ever since I came across their “Horse Stories” album.
Needless to say that when I heard about Ed Kuepper teaming up with Dirty Threes’ drummer Jim White, I was more than mildly excited to witness what them joining forces would culminate in.
With a stripped down and lean set-up comprised of Ed channelling his alchemy via a couple of electric guitars and White accompanying him on drums, their second show of the day commenced with not much ado with the focus firmly set on the songs, which traversed the stages of Kuepper’s close to five decade long repertoire and prolific career.
It did not take long to realise that the duo must have clicked from the get go, with White effortlessly infusing Kuepper’s songs with his idiosyncratic pulse and thereby stretching songs into new directions without ever running danger of sounding contrived.
A wonderful evening with two of the most iconic players in Australia’s music history converging, which everyone in attendance seemed to know to appreciate as in this day and age of finiteness and impermanence, there was a palpable sense of witnessing something unique that might never happen again after this tour.
image from artist website