Concert Review: The Paper Kites at Théâtre Fairmount

The Paper Kites playing at Théâtre Fairmount. Captured by Saro Hartounian for The Concordian

The Australian folk group banded with the Hudson native to create an intimate night for their Montreal fans

Matt Holubowski opened the show with nothing but reverb and delay on his guitar. The Hudson native lulled the crowd with his Rufus Wainwright-esque voice over the flowing hammer-ons and pull-offs that echoed. It was his unique way of playing finger-style. 

After the first two songs “St. Clarity” and “Revelator Eyes”, he chatted with the crowd and engaged in banter with a few folks which is always appreciated by the fans. The last thing anyone wants is a Whitney Houston situation where the artist comes up on stage, sings their set without interacting with the crowd and leaves. 

Holubowski ended his setlist with “Exhale/Inhale,” which involved using the shimmer effect on his guitar which makes the reverb “shimmer.” It was a wonderful way to end the set, and it felt like the audience was underwater. 

The Paper Kites opened after a 20-minute intermission with their song “St Clarity.” Fifteen seconds into the song, a girl near me fainted and they took her to safety. The crowd was waiting with bated breath as they wondered what the next song would be: it was “Revelator Eyes.” Guitarist David Powys really liked using a David Gilmour tone, probably using a big muff pedal to boot. 

After three songs they thanked their fans for coming in to see them and went on to play “Climb On Your Tears” which prompted a lot of couples to slow dance; it was a nice atmosphere indeed. 

The singer Sam Bently recounted a story about playing in a pub called The Roadhouse in a small Australian town where no one knew who they were. They played an unreleased song out of the album that they wrote called “Green Valleys.”

Halfway through the set, the singers Bentley and Cristina Lacy sang a duo of “For All You Give.” My favourite song out of the setlist was “Bloom.” To be fair, it is their most popular song; unfortunately, the singer couldn’t sing it in the original key because it was an old release so they had to change the key. 

For the next song, “By My Side,” they asked the crowd to sing the chorus with them, and sing they did. Voices filled every crevice of the Fairmount Theatre, and probably all the way down to the marché PA downstairs. The eruption of clapping and whooping probably scared the employees. 

They ended their main set with “Electric Indigo” and the crowd immediately started to chant the encore song (Olé Olé). 

Their encore setlist, comprised of “Featherstone,” “A Gathering on 57th,” and finally “Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain.” The latter was easily the loudest song in the entire setlist with that intro guitar strum. Sure enough, the song also ended in a long-ending finale with a roar from the crowd. This concert made me feel different towards the end, because I’m usually riled up when I get out of a show, but The Paper Kites were too intimate and soft for that. If they are ever in town again I highly recommend you check them out.   

Photo by Saro Hartounian

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