Coming off of two new albums in 2018 The Paper Kites have been on their ‘Where You Live’ tour. This Friday night on tour was different for a sold out crowd at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge. But what made the November 30th show different? The two new records ‘On the Train Home’ and ‘On the Corner Where You Live’ were largely inspired by New York City, the city in which they were performing.
“Our hotel window in New York City looked straight into the apartment building across the street. You could see all these windows lighting up and people getting home from their nights out. We just sat there and watched them. It was fascinating. It was living art.” Sam Bentley front man for The Paper Kites said of the albums inspiration “It’s a collection of stories about these characters all living in an apartment building; I wanted to capture moments, feelings, it’s about people and their stories.”
Within the very streets that inspired the new album was a room filled to capacity of similar characters there to view and be inspired by this very music. On stage right hanging from the ceiling down to stage floor were venetian blinds in a role reversal the city of New York looking into the windows of the living art created by The Paper Kites. This scene certainly tied everything together to create a special night.
The Paper Kites came out strong and were electric from the first song. With echoing guitar riffs and crushing drum segments it was a show. The most noteworthy part of the show came midway through as the songs slowed down. Announcing that it was time for quieter songs Sam Bentley challenged the crowd. “They said we could never do this in New York City, we do this at some of our shows but people said we can’t here. We are going to try, we want to see how quiet this room can get.” The room did just that and the only sound the be heard came from Sam and David Powys alone on stage with soft and truly beautiful music.
But the highlight from this slower segment of the set came as the rest of the band joined back on stage. Instead of at their instruments the four gathered around a microphone with Sam remaining in front. A lone light shined through the venetian blinds like light from the sun. While the crowd stayed quiet they asked to turn out all the lights and the venue grew dark. “We do this because there is nothing to see, nothing to film, we just want you to feel.” Emotions flowed out as the band played three slow songs with the lights down low. Each person had time to reflect and feel, and it was beautiful.
Before you knew it the lights were back on and the guitars were back with a return of more fast paced music. The special feeling remained. The Paper Kites displayed how versatile they can be with dynamic rock songs, and slow burning accoustic songs that are quiet and pure. Each song having in common the ability to bring emotion from the audience.
Just as The Paper Kites drew inspiration from New York City (inspiration you can hear in their songs with ambient city sounds, and unique album art) this New York City crowd was able to draw inspiration and feeling from them. Feelings captured from a hotel window created real life experiences through touching music to all who entered Le Poisson Rouge on a busy Friday night.