Hailing from Prince Edward Island, the home of plump and delicious mussels and Anne of Green Gables, indie rock band, Paper Lions, played a show at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City this past Thursday night. For those of you not familiar with Rockwood Music Hall, it is a small venue that brings in up and coming bands. Most shows are free although they sometimes charge a cover for more popular artists.
Upon waiting for entrance to the show, I watched Eric Hutchinson performing inside from the line. Not able to hear a thing, I could tell the large crowd was surely enjoying themselves, and I imagined them singing along to his lyrics "If he wanna rock, he rocks. If he wanna roll, he rolls". I was instantly reminded of his performance at my alma maters "Spring Fest", my freshmen year of college. Looking at the crowd he drew I figured at least half of them would stick around for Paper Lions. To my dismay, the crowd quickly emptied out to the local bars to watch the much anticipated Heat-Spurs game. Their loss!
The Canadian band, touring in support of their upcoming sophomore LP My Friends, hit the small stage, rocking Vans and Converse, at 10:30. Paper Lions opened with their harmonic song "Philadelphia". The slow a cappella start quickly built up to heavy chords and percussion, and I knew I was in for a treat.
Lead singer John MacPhee did not let the lack of audience get him down. The whole band maintained their enthusiasm throughout, bringing a huge burst of energy to the intimate venue. I even noted a cute couple up on the balcony dancing.
Before they played "Travelling", MacPhee took the time to introduce it to the audience. The music video for the song came out in the year 2007 and had only a few views but in the last few years the video became increasingly popular and has almost hit 4 million views! The acoustic performance started off a cappella, showcasing the bands Beach Boy-esque harmonies. Soon the band had everyone clapping and singing along to the words, "Please don't beat a stranger in my place".
Paper Lions closed with their bass filled song "My Friend", which I have to say was my favorite of the set. When I heard the first few bass notes, I was reminded of the Beastie Boys "Intergalactic". That bass was so funky, you have to hear it live to appreciate it.
These are the type of shows I love: intimate, ambient, and personal. I always feel one with the band. Especially when they are as humble and down to earth as can be. Paper Lions are on their way up and are definitely worth giving a listen to. Their sound is authentic, catchy, and so clean it may melt your ears, in a good way of course.
My Friends is out August 20 via Fountain Records