The Paper Kites

Alexandra Skeer on 24 July 2012 in Gig Reviews


The Paper Kites

Performing on 13th July 2012 @ Jive Bar

Jive Bar was far from empty, as The Paper Kites’ lead man, Sam Bentley feared it was going to be.  In fact, for a local Melbourne band that is not often played on commercial radio, they had built up quite a following around Australia.  With three sold out shows (two in their hometown of Melbourne and one in Sydney) to their name, this quartet hasn’t done too badly for themselves.

First up were local Adelaide act Traveller & Fortune.  The band, which usually consists of five musicians, had been cut down to three members for this gig.  Though the usual layered texture of their songs suffered slightly due to this cut-back, the remaining lineup on stage still managed to easily charm the audience with their warm indie-folk songs.  With their casual, albeit awkward at times, stage presence, Traveller & Fortune introduced the calming earthy tone that would continue throughout each band’s performance that night.

Next on the stage were Sydneysiders Patrick James. Led by the singer/song-writer of the same name, this upbeat four-piece found the perfect median between acoustic and electric. James’ flowing vocals and slow-moving lyrics drew in the audience’s attention, and the band members’ constant grins were reflected in the crowd’s obvious enjoyment of this indie band.  With gentle songs that were constantly built on as the song continued, this captivating group ended their set with the quick-paced, momentarily-rodeo-influenced song “Steel Hearts”

The now eager audience began to crowd forward and fall into their place for the headline act, The Paper Kites.  Walking onto stage accompanied by a flushing red light, they began their set with a sweetly stunning rendition of their song “Featherstone”, Sam Bentley fell comfortably into his crooning, bittersweet vocalisations, while each musician expertly built up a warm, earthy atmosphere to surround Bentley’s voice.

As a follow up to each lingering song, the band members took turns to profusely thank the audience and express their relief that people actually did show up.  The layered texture of their recorded songs was not lost in their live performance, which was made possible by each member constantly swapping instruments throughout the show.  With a choice between 12 string-guitars, banjos, ukuleles, bass guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars and a drum kit, they were never at a loss for things to play.

Building on the softly soothing atmosphere that their songs effortlessly created, The Paper Kites eventually went on to introduce their brightly wistful tune, ‘Bloom’ (to the audience’s delight).  Shortly after, Bentley and band member Christina Lacy swapped positions, placing Lacy in lead vocals.  The venue aptly fell dead silent when she began singing, her breathtakingly beautiful voice thankfully not going to waste.

The Paper Kites ended the show with a cover of “Comfort Me” by Feist as an encore.  Though only a minor fault, this show didn’t have a distinctly polished feel.  Bentley’s anecdotes between songs were at times awkward and mainly met only with silence (except for one audience member, who seemed extraordinarily excited for each and every new song – good on him), but they were heartfelt and charming.  Back for tours in October, this band has real potential and definitely deserves some attention for their sweetly indie-folk tunes.

- Alexandra Skeer


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