Paper Aeroplanes at The Caves, Edinburgh 07:05:2015 presented by Fake Frown Acoustic Sessions.
On time Jane, Cat and I arrived pre-excited and ready to party, the last time we were at The Caves together was Torture Garden where the dress code was somewhat different than this evening. Lewis and Leigh provided top notch pre-flight entertainment we had a little time to shop and relax while en-route to a fantastic evening of music. After a short break Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes landed safely on stage with their dandy band on-board.
Although hot on the heels of their latest album release “Joy”, Paper Aeroplanes kicked off the evening with EP title track “Time To Be” from 2012. This was a pleasant surprise for a packed room, there’s a good positive energy with this song putting us directly onto our flight path. I think I had expected the set-list to be mainly from the ‘Joy’ album but the band subtly blended a mixture of new, recent and older material and as it was my first time seeing them live proved to give a fantastic insight into their back catalogue. The Joy album mentions a journey and reawakening after a period of darkness. It seems that Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn have progressed and evolved over time and they certainly have used this to influence their songwriting and musical direction.
The first track performed off the Joy album “Good Love Lives On” demonstates how truly beautiful Sarah’s voice is, that wonderful lilt comes through and thankfully never sounding affected. Engaging the fans with chat and telling tales from touring, the music industry and even a story about a sore eye which led on to vanity, at which point Sarah was heckled for being good looking(I kid you not). The chat between songs was endearing without cheese, playing us off against other venues, hook, line and sinker we fell for it(they probably heard us in Norwich as we cheered and roared competitively).
Sarah could close her eyes and fall backwards, Richard would be there to catch her. They have been making and performing music together for nine years and this clearly shows. He is smooth, appearing out of nowhere joining Sarah s vocals seamlessly.
What really comes across is the emotion in Sarah’s voice. I don’t find it fragile or vulnerable, I think she sings with life’s experiences behind her with a strong and optimistic approach without a fear of revisiting darker times. There is a certain edge to this female artist who was able to morph and adjust the atmosphere and mood through her stage presence. Its evident when witnessing them play live how much they get lost in the music and are by no means afraid to let go in what proved to be a smooth flight that demonstrated a remarkable band in the act of doing what they do best. Sarah has been composing songs since she was just 13 years old and no way could have foretold her future back then. Thankfully her musical gift allows her a vehicle and an outlet to beautifully relate the stories back to us.
“Red Rover” is their most performed live track and I can see why. From the same album ‘Little Letters’ we also had ‘Multiple Love’ which is a song I have always connected to, some songs just do that to you. The more raw and upbeat strumming in “My First Love” and “Days We Made” from ‘We Are Ghosts’ reminded how much I enjoy live music and that subtle celtic influence. “Books” is instantly recognisable and a strong contender to be a huge track this summer.
At some points of the evening it was most appropriate to dance some ‘guy moves’ which were busted out by us all, in particular to the album title track “Joy”. It was simply involuntary as the crowd locked eyes with the band who reciprocated in return. I would have loved to have heard “Sail” live as its a personal favourite of mine but thats me just being greedy. “Goldrush” is pure vocal perfection, both moody and leading to a soaring high by Sarah who is demure. It’s dramatic and not unimaginable as a “Bond Theme” or the likes.
When the show concluded, Richard and Sarah made their way through an endless line of fans, all chatting about the numerous times they had seen them, giving feedback from the new album. Right down to the protective sleeve it comes in, this album is presented impeccably and its quality shows. Some may call it Nu Folk, Alt Folk, Pop, Electro Folk or yet another new made up genre I haven’t learned yet. For me Paper Aeroplanes hits me in all the right places and tickles me in places I’d forgotten existed. I strongly recommend ‘Joy’ as an album, many flavours feature and avenues ventured on this one, and now having properly familiarised myself with their entire body of work I understand why this band have gained such a following and have matured along their musical path which is an ongoing process and will prove to be.
Get information on Tour Dates and tickets, the latest news, music, videos, social media and store, visit the Paper Aeroplanes website.