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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: The Paper Kites, ‘can I stay close to you?’

The folk-rock band The Paper Kites brought their unique sound to Brooklyn Bowl.
Sofia Healy
Sam Bentler plays the guitar as he sings, as photographed on Nov. 6, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia Healy)

Before coming to Nashville, I had sat in seats far from the stage to watch mainstream artists’ concerts. Attending a show at the Brooklyn Bowl was the perfect display of the intimacy one can gain from standing in earshot of the artist. This setting felt right at home for The Paper Kites whose newest album “At The Roadhouse” stemmed from their month-long stint as a house band in Campbells Creek, Australia. As the band played on Nov. 6, the audience listened intently, aware of how special the intimate proximity was for both them and the band. 

The Paper Kites started their show immediately upon walking on stage, playing “Between the Houses” and “Till the Flame Turns Blue” before pausing to interact with the audience. Sam Bentley explained the backstory of their new album, sharing that they weren’t sure how to share their music — Roadhouse became their outlet. Before transitioning into “Hurts so Good” Bentley hinted at a change of pace later on in their set.

“This is the seated part of the set,” Bentley said.

Bentley frequently shared these short remarks with the crowd, including his opinion that members of the audience are more than welcome to sing when in the crowd, but preferably not to him personally. This led to a burst of laughter from the audience. The Paper Kites then played their love song “Nothing More Than That” in which Nashville native Hadley Kennary sang vocals. Continuing with their theme of love, The Paper Kites followed with “Marietta.”

After “Marietta,” Bentley shared his recent hobby: reading the comments left on the band’s music videos. He said comments shifted from focusing on the music to becoming confessions of love from random strangers. The audience laughed along as Bentley went over some examples before bringing up how he also read a comment stating he often has his eyes closed while singing. Bentley said he had been trying to keep them open more during the show so he could see the audience. 

“You’re looking really good, Nashville,” Bentley said. 

The crowd  cheered as The Paper Kites transitioned into their next songs “Tenenbaum” and “I Don’t Want to Go That Way.” They beautifully moved into the first standing song “Bloom.” The crowd sang along softly so as to not overpower the band, which performed with only vocals and three acoustic string instruments, huddled in a group around one microphone. 

The band exited the stage after concluding the song for the crew to rearrange the stage setup. The show resumed with “June’s Stolen Car,” a major change in pace, highlighting the rock element of the folk-rock band. As soon as the first notes played and the red ambient lights lit the stage, the audience began to cheer, seemingly ready for the upcoming song. 

Bentley allowed time  to introduce his fellow band members on stage. Bentley took special time to introduce Chris Panousakis on the bongos, cowbell, vocals and guitar — highlighting his long guitar solo that would be coming up in an upcoming song, asking the audience to show him some love. 

Shifting back to a slower pace, The Paper Kites played a cover of “Anything” by Adrienne Lenker. They then played “Paint” with a singular acoustic guitar and once again huddled around a singular microphone. 

There were a few “no’s” shouted by the crowd when the song came to an end. Bentley took the chance to thank their opener, The Cactus Blossoms, their three-man crew and the audience. 

After concluding his thank yous and recognitions, the band headed into their final song. The Paper Kites closed their set with “Darkness at My Door” after introducing it as the same song that they would close with every night at the roadhouse during their month-long residency. 

The audience began to cheer before the band exited the stage. It was a steady uproar of yelling, whistling and applause despite some of the crowd beginning to head for the door. After a few minutes of persistent cheers, Bentley returned with Kennary. 

“I know it’s a Monday night, but we’re going to do two more songs,” Bentley said. 

Bentley and Kennary sang “For All You Give” before the rest of the band joined them. As The Paper Kites began to play the introduction to “Electric Indigo,” the crowd erupted in cheers. The stage lit up with blue and purple hues as the crowd danced to the groovy closing song. Although it was The Paper Kites’ last song of the night, I left with a heartfelt tune, even on a late Monday night.

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About the Contributor
Sofia Healy
Sofia Healy, Staff Photographer
Sofia Healy (‘27) is from Los Angeles and studies cinema and media arts in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, Sofia enjoys driving alongside the beach blasting folk music with her friends. You can reach her at [email protected].
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