It’s official, the calendar tells no lies, summer has left us and won’t be back for some time, leaving us with the parting gift of a finite number of days where shorts and a t-shirt can be justified attire to venture outdoors in. Tonight [Saturday, March 2] I am that little bit extra grateful for the still warmness that carries the ghost of summer in its embrace as I nestle up next to the hundreds of others who have flocked to Taronga Zoo to catch the sounds of The Paper Kites for their Twilight at Taronga debut.
As usual, my inability to read bus timetables means that I’m late to the venue and miss the opportunity to see Eliott who exits the stage upon my arrival. Cracking open my basil and pesto dip, I sit ready for the next support, Timberwolf to begin. The crowd is comprised almost entirely of couples spooning on picnic rugs staying well lubricated with a bottle of red, the perfect audience for the mellow folk-rock that I anticipate The Paper Kites to deliver.
My people-watching exercise is cut short by Timberwolf who assemble on stage much to the crowd’s delight. The Cheshire-like grins painted across all of their faces are noticed immediately, they are clearly stoked to be here. Their sound is stripped back and carries a resounding suaveness that soaks each note in a warmness that can only be felt. I can’t say I’m too well-versed in Timberwolf’s musical catalogue but their set varies from mellow pop to upbeat jazz riddled with sax.
One thing is for sure, the combination of the compounding, crisp drums and moments that teeter on an almost psychedelic sound is a real winner. The tinkering of wine glasses and cheering of the loved up audience tells me that they agree.
A small window of time elapses between sets, the perfect chance to walk to some higher ground and catch a glimpse at the view that the early-bird pundits were smart enough to snag. Our harbour city in all its glory is cast under the mango haze of the setting sun, lighting up the harbour bridge and opera house in its own natural Vivid light show.
God damn beautiful.
The Paper Kites hustle onto a smoke-filled stage to an ecstatic crowd as the soft-spoken frontman, Sam Bentley, greets the crowd with his boyish charm. The music begins and their signature chamber-folk rock sound can be heard instantly. The soft, restrained guitarwork and melancholic delivery of Bentley’s vocals are received with open hearts from the crowd.
Spruiking old songs and new alike, the gentle soundscapes that they manufacture so well are weaved comfortably throughout their set. The sound is very obviously on the quieter side of things and there is a little sense that there is some restlessness in the crowd which I assume is from not being able to hear them so well. Dipping into the slow acoustics of their most well-known song, Bloom, the heartfelt channels being amplified are enough to get everyone back on side.
Bringing out the slow and sexy saxophone, they slip into a groovier and more upbeat area of sound that showcases the more atmospheric and cascading spaces of music that are welcomed by all the picnicking pundits.
The set draws to a close and a very satisfied crowd roll up their rugs and head towards their next destination. A wholesome way to welcome a change of the season and savor the summer that through yet another showcase of Australian talent.