Live Review: The Paper Kites + Phebe Starr - The Gov, Adelaide (21.06.14)

It’s hard to say exactly what genre The Paper Kites fit into, with diverse songs that include folk elements, soft-rock hints here and there and a dab of easy-listening melodies, but their shows are a worthwhile mix of indie bliss. As their Australian tour came to a close at the Gov in Adelaide on Saturday evening, they were joined by the fantastic Airling and Phebe Starr, ensuring the show was filled with unique talent.

With an audience of mainly young females, maybe a few couples here and there, the venue had a nice feel to it. It seemed as though everyone was being swept up by the music. A mostly seated crowd viewed Phebe Starr’s unique performance. She stood alone, accompanied by an iMac, keyboard, drum machine and loop machine, which made for an interesting routine. Although some the levels of harmonies she created on stage may have overpowered her live voice at points, you could still notice her amazing range, sense of rhythm and ability to make friends with the crowd.

The seated groups stood to form a swaying mosh as The Paper Kites opened with a harmonica-lead tune which flowed into their newest single "Young". The way most songs flowed from one to the other was well articulated with a synth, controlled by bassist Sam Rasmussen, or guitar riff filling the space as guitars were tuned. Interestingly, instruments were frequently swapped between members; front-man Sam Bentley and vocalist Christina Lacy held various electric and acoustic guitars and were occasionally found behind the keyboard.

Guitarist David Powy showed great versatility between guitars and made an appearance with a banjo in a few songs, such as the much loved "Bloom", in which the crowd sang (and whistled) along. Harmonies between these three were fantastic and full of emotion, Sam’s unique sound matched Christina’s airy voice perfectly, David adding a great male harmony into the mix.

Josh Bentley whilst keeping a steady beat on the drums played a shaker in the quieter, more laid back songs. The band stripped back to simply Sam Bentley and his guitar for "Tenenbaum", giving an explanation of where the song came out of. Unfortunately, this was the only back-story offered the whole night, though Sam did chat occasionally between songs that contrasted heavily and needed something in-between, acknowledging Christina and David but, surprisingly, never introducing himself.

The overall vibe of the night was dreamy and flowing, this mood assisted by the background imagery that added a dream-like feel and lights matching to the climaxing moments in songs. This dreamy feeling seemed to be the aim as you could find pillow cases being sold among the merch afterwards! Despite this vibe, the night ended with a bang on a rock-sounding song to leave the audience with a hype, yet no encore.

New songs were briefly mentioned and are being worked on, so that’s something good to look forward to. But all in all it was a fantastic night out and a great way to end The Paper Kites' last Australian show before they head overseas.