On a chilly December evening, a couple of hours at The Wardrobe with The Paper Kites was Kate Wassell’s perfect winter warmer.
The Australian five-piece have been on the folk-scene since 2011 with their beloved EP ‘Woodland’, and last year saw the band release two new albums.
Following charming Icelandic support act Axel Flovent, Paper Kites walked onstage to an enthusiastic reception, and proceeded to give the crowd a feel of their newer sound. They’ve kept intact their signature folk groundings, but the first few tracks gave an idea of the fresher indie-rock sound that the Kites have taken under their wing since 2015 release ‘Electric Indigo’. With an injection of edgy Electric solos and going a little heavier on the drums, they opened up the set with a revived energy.
After a few fresh songs, frontman Sam Bentley asked the attentive audience if they had any requests, which followed with a spattering of appeals. ‘Simple truth is we have a setlist’, Bentley joked, but the crowd-favourites weren’t far away. ‘Bloom’- the track which brought the Paper Kites onto the folk scene back in 2011- had the whole crowd gently humming along to its ethereal magic. One bloke yelled for them to “Play it again!” when the final chords resonated around the room.
” It felt like something out of the ‘One-to-one’ sessions, with no clear divide between audience and musicians “
The night ended on a high with the band taking advantage of the intimate venue. The five of them made their way down to the centre of the Wardrobe, beckoning the audience in home in around them. Their beautiful harmonies were laid bare as the band covered The High Kings ‘Will Ye Go, Lassie?’, showing off their vocals and returning to simple folk tradition with the song choice. I’ll put it up there with one of my all-time gig highlights; it felt like something out of the ‘One-to-one’ sessions, with no clear divide between audience and musicians.
Interactive gigs in small venues suit folk musicians like The Paper Kites best, giving ample opportunity for their soft acoustics to fill them up completely. Their mix of old and new sounds may have made the gig feel a little confused and separated, but the moments of harmony made amends. You left feeling both at peace, and with a buzz of elation.
[Header Image: Bands in Town]