For the last 4 years, there’s been one band that I’ve wanted to see more than any other. I cannot describe how ecstatic I was when I finally got the chance to see The Paper Kites live on February 9th in The Lexington in London.
Stepping inside the venue, I felt transported to a hunting jaunt in The States, with rifles and big game skulls lining the walls. Once inside I couldn’t stop myself from taking a place right in front of the stage, close enough to reach out and touch the band as they played without a barrier.
Tonight was not only their first UK gig, it was also the closing show of 4 months on the road promoting their latest album, Twelvefour. Tonight was going to be special.
Lùisa, a talented singer and guitarist from Hamburg opened for The Paper Kites as she has throughout their European tour. The German singer shifted effortlessly between English and French lyrics, captivating the audience with a varied range of guitar or synth-backed songs, such as Belong and Vision, performed with enthusiasm and emotion.
The Paper Kites had made it about 3 notes into their first song, Electric Indigo, when I knew I never wanted this evening to end. They filled the stage with their own unmistakable folksy style as beautifully-pitched, ethereal lyrics reverberated over soothing guitar melodies. The set had a healthy mix of new album tracks such as Bleed Confusion and Silent Cause and crowd-pleasing classics such as Bloom from the Woodland EP.
Front man, Sam Bentley made sure the audience felt like they were really part of the show, splitting us into “3 halves” and getting us harmonising to Bloom, checking one overexcited gigger who fainted on the floor was okay (no, it wasn’t me) and telling the quirky, personal stories behind the songs he writes.
The middle of the set featured a quieter section where Dave Powys’ banjo made an appearance for St Clarity, Josh Bentley and Sam Rasmussen left the stage for Silent Cause, reducing further to a duet of Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy for Paint.
The full line up returned to the stage, and the set built up to climax on Revelator Eyes, filling the room with musical strangeness. Taking things down a notch for their last song, The Paper Kites got the crowd swaying out a final goodbye to Too Late.
The fans wooped and cheered, even the 80-minute set had not been enough for us, we wanted more. And more is exactly what we got as The Paper Kites returned to the stage and awed everyone with a final rendition of Featherstone. The room was hanging onto every note, the privilege of hearing the dying notes of a massive all winter-long tour definitely not lost on this crowd.