Concert Review: The Paper Kites

Photo by Wal Reid

Photo by Wal Reid

By Wal Reid

Friday March 29th, 2019 - The Tuning Fork, Auckland

Local act Mountain Boy were a breath of fresh air, they definitely warmed up the floor before Melbourne’s finest, ThePaper Kites took to the stage. Their relaxed methodology a reward for some tasty musical gems.  It was a stroke of genius to find a support act not only similar in appearance, but alsomusical style.  

These guys have latent potential to their Folk/Pop quiver that can only see them improve and be a serious contender on the Kiwi music scene.  I immensely enjoyed their short but punchy set of soothing pop sensibility and honest insights from singer Aaron Clark’s songbook.

However, it wasn’t long before The Paper Kites led by singer Sam Bentley were received with rapturous applause by the full house crowd in attendance.  Red Light & Deep Burn Blue from latest album On The Corner Where You Live (produced by Grammy winner Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) were churned out to sonic perfection, the band doing a great job of maintaining equilibrium on the small stage as the vocal audience of mainly millennial hipsters swayed in unison.  

Paper Kites are a band you either hate or like. Their well crafted tempered Folk Rock songs fashioned by Bentley’s wistfulvocals, gives a less Australian accent and more international flavour.  This never more apparent than on the modern sounding Revelator Eyes and Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain, both, a stark contrast in comparison to older Indie Folk tunesPaint or Woodland

Band stalwarts Dave Powys on guitar provided the band’s ethereal flange guitar sound, while bassist Sam Rasmussen,solid all night on bass, with drummer Josh Bentley adding a real edge to the rhythm department, their contributions to ElectricIndigo and When It Hurts You invaluable as Bentley’s vocals washed over the soundtrack with a soulful lull.

When it came to the song Arms, they turned off all the house lights, it was like a Melbourne Fringe Festival installation, there was even a cheer from the crowd as someone covered over the lit ‘Exit’ sign as Bentley pointed out two people in the front “making out”. His approval finding favour with the crowd as he further explained, “It’s better than being the opposite – single”.

The stories continued with Nothing More Than That, a song his wife encouraged him to “work on more”, and Paint from their excellent Young North e.p. experiencing a lyrical malfunction as they stopped halfway through the performance as he forgot the words to the last verse, much to the cheers of the audience.  

Bentley’s guitar picking is the very fabric of the band and not in a Country Calendar way either. Older tunes like Bloom orPaint are central to the band’s musical roots. It was a welcome return after a five year hiatus and well worth the wait. Hannah Cameron (standing in for Christina Lacy on maternal duties) was also sublime as Lacy’s proxy; in fact it wasn’t until Bentley introduced her that the audience actually twigged. Gracious in attitude they returned to close out the night with Paint & Don’t Keep Driving making sure there wasn’t a person left without a smile on their face. Too good.