As I walked around the corner to Alhambra Lounge, I was greeted with a 200m line to get into the venue. This was both a good and a bad thing. Good, as it meant The Paper Kites and support acts would play to a packed out crowd in the small venue, but bad because it was quite chilly.
Up first was Brisbane duo The Phoncurves. Unfortunately because of the ridiculously slow line outside to get in, I missed most of their set. However what I did see was delightful. The girls sung beautifully together with the vocals blending so very well. Their final song, “Do Do Do” was quite different form the rest of the songs in their set, utilizing a sampler to create extra depth to the vocals. This song sounded quite reminiscent of a Doo-wop kind of song. Really cool.
Next up was Patrick James and band. These guys are the reason I love Indie-folk music. One, they use a banjo, a proper banjo. None of this ‘ganjo’ crap. And two, they sing with such conviction in three part harmony. It was so good to hear them singing together so well. Frontman, Patrick James, has an intriguing stage presence, and you can hear such emotion in the way he sings. One of the new songs “Stay” was really something. A lot mellower than those they had played previously. They then invited Christina from The Paper Kites, to sings a duo entitled “Shine” which was probably my favourite of the set: so very simple in its statement yet quite beautiful. They concluded their set with a self-proclaimed hoedown, which was good fun indeed.
So, before tonight, I’d only heard little snippets from The Paper Kites, but as a live experience, this band are breathtaking. They opened with “Featherstone” and that set the tone for the rest of the gig. Again, as will all the bands on the register for tonight, the vocals were gorgeous. The harmonies between the frontman, the guitarist, and Christina were stunning, and perfectly matched. So when the played songs that had a single acoustic guitar and three vocalists sensing in harmony, it was otherworldly. You hear this on their recordings, but to hear it live makes it something more special. By the time they got to “Bloom” they had the audience almost silent, which is no mean feat for a band to achieve. They encouraged everyone to join in the whistling in this song, and it’s got to be one of the most hilarious crowd participation activities I’ve been apart of. Whistling a tune is deceptively hard it would seem. The next songs they played, “Paint” the frontman asked for complete silence, and to my surprise, he got it. For the entirety of the song, there was not a sound in the venue. Only melodious vocals and guitars. The roar after the song concluded was more than well deserved. It was a wow moment.
This gig was certainly something special, and has restored my faith in indie-folk music. These three acts are amazing, especially The Paper Kites. I wouldn’t want to go on tour as that band though. The amount of gear they brought with them was insane. Two six-sting acoustics, a 12-string acoustic, and electric guitar, a bass, a mandolin, a slide guitar, a banjo, and whatever the drummer wanted to bring with him. Insane...