The Paper Kites, Hollow Coves @ Norwood Concert Hall, Norwood SA 28/1/2022

Well, it’s been a minute between gigs. Not only for this reviewer but the bulk of the audience at the Norwood Concert Hall and the bands who played for us on Friday night. But not even Omicron or Stephen Marshall’s ridiculous restrictions could stop us from celebrating good Australian live music.

Seated and with masks on – there was no dancing, or singing under those masks, Mr Marshall – we welcomed Gold Coast duo Hollow Coves, who treated us to a chill eight-song set. Founded in 2013 by Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins, Hollow Coves, sans touring band, opened with Moments from their 2019 album of the same name. An apt choice given their reminder that “soon these days will pass/ so make these moments last”.

Henderson and Carins’ unassuming nature and temperate performance had the potential to meander toward the mundane. However, it did the opposite. Their stripped back versions of These Memories, Blessings, Home, The Woods, Purple, Adrift and Coastline highlighted their sheer talent, zeal, and vibrancy as artists. Powerful harmonies incorporated with folksy melodies, contemplative lyrics and quality banter resulted in an engaging and compelling show which won them many new fans and had existing ones radiating with delight.

After a recent return to live performing due to a two-year unwanted covid restriction related hiatus, headliners, and Melbourne five-piece, The Paper Kites wasted no time as they launched into a ninety-minute celebration of the senses. Sam Bentley, Christina Lacy, Dave Powys, Sam Rasmussen, and Josh Bentley were joined by special guests Hannah and Corey as they traversed through their twelve-year discography in spectacular fashion.

Their live performance featured rich, ethereal sounds that weaved between folk-rock, prog-rock, shoegaze and alt-pop. It was a mish-mash of genres and atmospheric sounds with guitar accents that transported you to a state of reflective introspection. Bentley even jested with the audience about Paper Kites’ gigs being a “descent into a pit of despair and self-reflection”. He was only half wrong. There was definitely no despair. In fact, there was an overwhelming sense of optimism and joy felt through the Concert Hall.

Songs including Too Late, Revelator Eyes, Climb on Your Tears, By My Side, and St Clarity emphasized the musical grandioseness of the band. While acoustic renditions of For All You Give, Bloom, and encore songs, Wild Mountain Thyme and On the Train Ride Home revealed a vulnerability and earnestness not often seen on stage.

Between the Houses served as a humorous interlude, with Don’t Keep Driving invoking a Prince Purple Rain type vibe. With the stage plus ruched white sheet backdrop bathed in purple hues and a smoky haze drifting through the Hall, I’m sure even The Purple One would have approved of the subtle homage.

However, the highlight of the night was the uncomplicated yet captivating Without Your Love and Electric Indigo. They captured the essence of unpretentious, great live music and generated feelings of bliss for simply being able to share in the experience. Unfortunately, an experience that’s become a rare commodity in this day and age.

The Paper Kites are quality personified. A mainstay of the Australian music industry, they know how to put on a holistic, delectable performance and did just that much to everyone’s pleasure.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

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