The Paper Kites visit Utah for the first time

Reading Time: 2 minutes The folk band The Paper Kites came to visit Utah for their first time, taking their audience on a journey from first love to parting ways through several different genres of music.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Utah was thrilled to welcome the Australian band The Paper Kites for their first ever visit to Utah on Tuesday, March 27 at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The Paper Kites released their newest album mid-2023, titled “At the Roadhouse.” During their concert, they shared that this album developed as the band took a break and opened a casual roadside bar at their home in Australia. The bar went from empty to completely packed in two months’ time. They recorded the songs they created at that roadside bar for the world to hear. 

They invited Bella White, a country folk singer, to open for them. They also had their guest band, nicknamed the Roadhouse Band, accompany them for some of their bigger songs. Bella White released her second album a year ago and has a song in the most recent “Hunger Games” soundtrack. Her stage presence was incredibly open and casual; it felt like a conversation with the audience. She even forgot a song and joked about it as she was still strumming her guitar. Her music relied on nostalgia and ideas about the south, and subverting both of those topics. Her voice had a beautiful range, with a country sound closer to dialogue, while utilizing folk rhythms and chords. It was just her, the guitar, and the microphone as she sang. She perfectly prepared attendees for the mix of genres that The Paper Kites would present. 

Watching the Paper Kites was different than watching Bella White. Instead of a dialogue with the audience, the audience watched a beautiful and private dialogue between the band members. Given that there are so many members of The Paper Kites, the Roadhouse Band adding more, it was not an easy task to make the concert feel intimate; but they appeared unified and close. For most of the show they sat on stools and chairs with microphones, but for their two most popular songs, “Paint” and “Bloom,” the Roadhouse Band left the stage discreetly and The Paper Kites gathered around a single microphone, stepping in close. Both of those times they invited the audience to sing along, and fell silent for moments so the audience could pitch in.  

As The Paper Kites performed, they covered a wide genre of music. Their two most popular songs are folk songs to their core, with a strong reliance on vocals and simple guitar chords. Those and a couple of their other slower songs had couples in the audience swaying together or even crying. Other songs, like “June’s Stolen Car,” embraces a much heavier rock, with long guitar solos. That song also elicited the first crowd surfer The Paper Kites have ever had according to the main singer. As they closed the night, they went more country, with “Hurts so Good” and their cover of “Anything” by Adrianne Lenker. They ended with “Paint” as their encore, leaving people with a song about parting ways. 

Through the show, they took attendees on a journey, from joy to desperation, and then parting. They took the time to pause and talk about their visit and their tour and introduce their band members. As they ended the night, they reflected on how they had never been to Utah, and how they were thankful they had sold out their show here. Utah’s audience certainly welcomed them with open arms. Hopefully, they will remember the warm welcome Utah’s audience gave them as they continue to travel.