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Review: PaperPlane @ The Old Blue Last, London [Live]

Review: PaperPlane @ The Old Blue Last, London [Live]

23rd September 2013 | “...I’m so pleased that PaperPlane proved me right ; Their potential is endless..."

Review   1901 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire October 7th, 2013.

So last month I made a very bold declaration. Something that a music journo should be very careful of doing in fear of looking like a right wally later down the line. I said that I had found my new favourite UK band and spilled out praise for said band as quickly as it was running water. The band in question? West Yorkshire's PaperPlane. The release to which I pledged my allegiance? Their newest EP, Rebuild. This trio and their latest work, despite being a brief collection, made a big impact on me (check out my review) having married together pretty much all of my favourite musical tastes from the alternative, punk and post-hardcore world to name a few. But to label PaperPlane as anything would be like calling love an emotion – a miniscule part of the big picture. Hence my excitement at hearing the announcement of a tour including a date in the Capital. To quote myself "...from what I've heard of their live shows, their energy and charisma in person is even more of a treat to the senses." So it was time for them to hold up their end of the bargain!

As it happens, an unfortunate turn of events meant the band’s tour had to be completely re-scheduled, but they thankfully managed to keep hold of London by jumping last-minute onto the bill of another. And so PaperPlane made the tiring six hour trek on a Monday to play a half-hour set to a room comprised mainly of people who didn't know them. That's commitment ladies and gents. And those that were there to see them expressed their gratitude that they had made it, myself included. And so in the upstairs of London’s famous Old Blue Last pub, the guy’s took to the venue’s compact stage and not one's for being conventional, played a set that included two brand new songs never heard before and opened with an outro. Of course.

'And In The End, I'll Build A Time Machine' is taken from their 2011 debut LP, Draw Your Own Holes, of which I am now familiar. And as odd as it sounds, the album’s closing track and highlight made for a really great start with its haunting repetitive vocal melody, pensive guitar strums and sampled strings building tension for the big wallop of squealing riffs, crashing cymbals and maniacal yelps that followed. It surprisingly sounded impressive in the small space and with vocalist/guitarist Jack Bennett pacing on the spot like a boxer waiting to go in the ring, it was clear that the trio were dying to prove their worth to the curious crowd. Sticksman Callum Connell assertively took them into Rebuild’s more subtle and moodier 'Live Her', and although it initially seemed too loud for Bennett’s tortured vocals to shine through, they brought it home by the end engulfing everyone in a hazy cloud of distortion and melody.

With the new EP being a mere teaser for what PaperPlane have up their sleeves for album number two, it was a good insight as to where this forward-thinking and original band see themselves with the introduction of new song’s ‘Soft Filter Black & White Picture’ and ‘Hi, Cue A Diamond Crime’. Although hard to recall the tracks’ exact style and structure, it’s safe to say they’re indeed honing their unique and frantic sound with hints of Circa Survive and even Coheed and Cambria to be heard; a hint of contrasting ferocity and beauty. And the trio although individually appearing to be very different characters, fed off each other’s energy like leeches - Bassist Kristian Arak remaining fairly cool and poised in his ‘spot’ for the set whilst Bennett’s tiger-in-a-cage-like presence intriguingly awkward and mesmerising. The more familiar sound of single ‘Chariot’ and its alternating soft and heavy arrangement was just as great live as I had imagined, with Bennett’s passionate yet tongue-tied vocals doing battle against the unusual time signature.

WATCH // PaperPlane - 'Rose' (Live at X-Church):

And finally after many thanks were given, the delicate but increasingly expressive ‘Rose’ brought their set to a climactic end; its angelic yet sad melody taking flight as the huge drum rolls overwhelmed the stage and the singer squirmed and thrashed until the final note. I’m so pleased that PaperPlane proved me right. Ok some would argue that half an hour isn’t really long enough to judge a band’s true potential as a live act, but then just because a band play for two hours at Shepherd’s Bush Empire doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be better, does it? You utilize and make the most of what you’ve got and given the circumstances and restrictions, the Yorkshire lads did a fantastic job and left the place in a bit of a buzz with chatter and interest about their eccentric and raw energy spreading through the then bustling room. Their time in the city, although brief, proved that their potential is endless and as I said in my EP review, the next album can’t come soon enough. 'Hot Right Now!', 'Ones To Watch!' Whatever. PaperPlane are an astounding band.

Photo credit to Greig Clifford.

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