- (photo courtesy Paper Bird)
Managing to draw audiences during CU’s anticipated blackout football game is a challenging feat for an band.
For indie folk band Paper Bird, scrounging up a crowd of dance-ready students proved to be no problem as they played at Old Main. Unfortunately, the Old Main venue was housing the wrong concert on Saturday. Opening band, The Poison Control Center had little room onstage for its entertaining, pop-punk energy, including frequent acrobatic displays of splits and somersaults.
The next Rogue Wave-esque opener, Brass Bed, however, performed their professional yet long-winded indie pop songs with no trouble, lulling the crowd into the venue’s plush seating.
But as soon as Paper Bird’s old-South bounce took the stage, all polite spectatorship couldn’t help but transform into dancing in the aisles, in front of the stage and anywhere with enough room to sway.
Paper Bird combines folk, bluegrass and indie styles to create accessible pop tunes. Three lovely vocalists provided the personality for the show, reminiscent of sirens beckoning the audience into their world of old-time cheerfulness. Together, their whispering voices and crisp harmonies intertwined onstage in soft songs like “The Doldrums,” while the energy-charged “Motown Man” gave singer Esme Patterson a chance to show off her jerky style and effortless range.
An instrumental section, comprised of four men, accompanied their impressively tuned harmonies with guitar, trombone, the upright bass, banjo and harmonica.
Modernized bluegrass styles, along with trumpet solos from singer Sarah Anderson, brought a sense of Americana to the performance. The male performers had a secondary status in the concert because of the bad organization of the stage, which placed them in a line directly behind the female singers.
Despite this, it was clear that all recklessly poured their hearts into their elative music during the show, dancing and grooving as if they were only practicing with each other present.
With the recent release of their second album “When The River Took Flight” (2010), the set list contained a strong mix of old and new material, showcasing only a few of their most energetic new songs such as “Boxcars and Thistles,” and “Spit Spot.” Old favorites played included the ebbing and powerful “Blue Sparks” as well as “Pennies,” which roused the audience into carefree snapping.
Most memorably, the audience took flight with the band during the song “Colorado,” singing along with catchy lyrics that could be the state’s national anthem. With shouts and hollers from the audience, Old Main had been transformed into a prairie dance hall.
Though Paper Bird’s albums have a flavor of dance to them, their energetic and joyful sound can’t truly be appreciated until experienced live. Even if it just begins with an involuntary foot-tapping, this band truly knows how to unearth the folksy roots in each member of its audience.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Stephanie Riesco at Stephanie.email@example.com.
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