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The Paper Kites play it two ways

Somerville Theatre, Somerville, Mass., October 7, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

For The Paper Kites, the concert was a tale of two widely different segments.

For the first roughly two-thirds of the night, the Australian indie folk group were content to go slow - and sometimes even slower - and dour when it came to the music and subject matter.

But then the concert turned very quickly with brighter, harder edged sounds.

Sam Bentley handled vocals quite well whatever the style. And he also deserved much credit for lightening the effect of the lyrics and sounds of the first half with some humorous stage patter such as when he realized the faux pas of when he talked about "my wife in Australia" and jokingly said talked of looking for a wife in the U.S. "It'll take me awhile to dig out of that hole," Bentley joked. Smart move by Bentley to keep things a tad lighter.

It wasn't as if The Paper Kites needed to rely on humor all night long. This is a band with plenty of worthy material.

The Paper Kites started it out nice and slow with "Tin Lover" with sad sounding pedal steel courtesy of David Powys. He would repeat those sounds at varying points during the evening, bringing a bit more texture and color. Most of the time, though, he squeezed out the requisite sonics from his guitar.

The group managed to go at even slower tempo on "Too Late." Fortunately, they picked up the pace, even on the slower portion.

Eventually, they turned it up starting with "Straight to You" with a bit faster pace and just louder.

During the encore, though, they provided their own take on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."

. From a concert standpoint, probably it would have made sense to intersperse the styles instead of dividing them. The Paper Kites did have something for all moods with the second part more engaging.

For opening act, Tall Heights, this marked a coming band for the duo of singer/guitarist Tim Harrington and singer/cellist Paul Wright, who were augmented by a drummer. With an unusual combo of cello and guitar, Tall Heights made the most of their time in a comfortable, even-keeled performance.

Wright sometimes augmented Harrington on vocals in what was good showing for the hometown boys.