Most of us share a desire for calming things; bubbles baths, wine upon wine, upon wine, Sunday afternoons, gazing dreamily into the sunset. My, oh my, how the sunset does its THANG. It’s a good time, ogling at its enigmatic blur of colours. And, to cap it off, we turn on the tunes that will usher us right on into sonic nirvana. A particular band that has been oozing forth melodies and hooks to rival the effects of even the best Mary Jane, are The Paper Kites. They burst onto the scene with their EP Woodland in 2011 and they’ve been slaying our needy, needy hearts ever since.
There’s nothing more blissful than the edge of sleep. Ultra aware but ignorant of hardship, punters hit that level of euphoria at The Paper Kites’ show
The Paper Kites are certainly a go to for those having to wrangle professional apple cart upsetters or just plain haters. When a Monday morning has been particularly bleak, a Wednesday especially isolated from the weekend or a Friday impossibly stressful, The Paper Kites and all that they croon forth is enough to make you see colour and dream once again. After a tediously long Monday to Thursday, where did most of Sydney turn? To the Paper Kites, their Midnight Tour and their damn soulful, indie-folk-rock blend that is more nourishing than any kale-quinoa-goji berry smoothie could ever hope to be.
After front man Sam Bentley softly spoke on the commencement of the concert, that there wasn’t going to be much chat in the concert between songs, the audience’s attention was piqued. What a band; that could silence our souls with one rendition of Revelator Eyes, that with an unbroken string of songs across all of their musical outputs, coupled with neon lights that were softly glowing, made the Enmore a most ethereal, almost spiritual space.
Well, they undoubtedly killed it. The Paper Kites, made up of five tremendously talented musicians on their own, came together in a tight, soaring, musically and philosophically profound gig. Installed above their heads were four separate screen panels upon which played a meandering story of love, extraordinary pain at the hands of a partner, navigating new territory and redemption. All of these stories were filmed and viewed through windows.
The metaphor was strong and the emotional pull, even stronger. The Paper Kites had curated a set list covering their musical progression, highlighting poignant and immersive points in their growth as a band and their material. It was spellbinding and the audience transfixed even further as the night progressed. Applause occurred but it was controlled, people perhaps not wanting to break whatever had been woven through the interplay of guitar, drum, synth and transcendent harmony.
It was raw and vulnerable, all of The Paper Kites giving so much of themselves through their acutely human music. It felt as if a monologue was occurring, the gravity of which could rival Shakespeare at his most fervent. Yes, there may have been a stage but The Paper Kites did not remain on it, they came down with us, the common folk in the seats, and were hauntingly, beautifully real.
The stories on the screen installations lilted forth as Halcyon and Electric Indigo filled the space, calmed nerves, bought in peace and sent is all off to sleep. It was humorously charming to see a punter blissfully asleep on their comrade’s shoulder pain of the heart and all.
Inevitably, the collective mass of an audience would think as one. When the precious five piece meandered back on stage, asking for suggestions for the encore a resounding “BLOOOOM! BLOOOOOOM!” echoed forth. Bentley and crew shook their heads in mock disbelief. Ah, so it’s Bloom they want.
And it was Bloom we got. Albeit a folk song that rode the mainstream like a petal down a stream, Bloom resonated into every crevice and aching hipster heart gathered. Its fingerpicking glory, rolling hooks and the quirky whistling that reduced the Enmore to unanimous chortles (seriously though, it’s only us strayans that can’t deal with whistling, the Candians were fine) was the balm that sent us out. Fully nourished, souls purged of all frenetic, panicked inclinations, to dazedly shuffle back to our homes, peeling forth a cheeky whistle if skill and isolation provided.