The torrential rain didn’t stop crowds of people from pouring in to witness a spectacle at Art Bar. Among the sculptures and staircases, immense talent performed and brought echoed ambience. Airling opened the night with an impressive array of musical flare and stage presence, a truly electric performance. Phebe Starr also showcased some impressive reverb in her vocals and a captivating stance, proving that it only takes one bold act to fill an entire stage.
Down-to-earth headliners, The Paper Kites were warm and consistent, holding admirable composure, having just returned from a U.S tour to promote their 2013 album, States. Enchanting female vocals from Christina Lacy opened their set with the harmonic ballad; I’ve Done You So Wrong. With a breath, golden lights filled the stage and Young began with lead vocalist Sam Bentley. “It’s great to be back in Perth playing for you fine people… in an art gallery,” said Bentley, “I feel like we should be playing Beethoven.” Instead, they began a psychedelically inspired tune, In Reverie, rich in reverb and drastically different to any of their earlier material. The use of whammy from lead guitarist, Dave Powys, was both surprising and appropriate.
Throughout the set, the band gave room for instrumentals and had made a conscious effort to tweak each song so it didn’t sound exactly like the album recording. No sound is better showcased than through the instruments of genuine composers and true music-lovers. “There’s a lot of large statues in this room,” continued an especially witty Bentley, “Anything goes. It’s art.” After a gentle shushing, he stood alone on the stage, playing a sweet and acoustic, Tenenbaum – a song about planting seeds of pursuit, that Bentley noted he was especially glad made the final cut, with lyrics such as: “Sour is my mind for what you sow.” About an hour into their set, there felt a need for earlier material; and so began the triple threat of Featherstone, Woodland and the ever-flourishing, Bloom. Throwing in a few tracks from their initial EP was a great way to bring morale to the crowd; to not only elicit the use of smart phone cameras, but also showcase the band’s versatility and ability to draw in from past compositions in order to become more well-rounded and mature. They concluded with a promise to return to Perth with a new record and then closed the night with A Lesson From Mr. Gray, no doubt a tribute to the psychedelic ‘60s. It was a strong and feel-good finish. Always playful are The Paper Kites, assuring their loyal following that anything goes. It’s art.