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Josh Pyke, Emma Louise & The Paper Kites, The Metro – 10/09/2011

Written by Shane Arnold on 14th September, 2011

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Josh Pyke returned to Sydney for a sold-out show at the Metro, and this time he was in full band mode, a mouth-watering prospect for those fans that prefer him in full flight as opposed to solo acoustic mode.

First up on the bill were The Paper Kites, hailing from lovely Melbourne. Their gentle folk/indie was a fine opener for the evening – a highlight being the dreamily uplifting Bloom. They were Sydney virgins and the already sizeable crowd were appropriately gentle with them, especially their amazing cover of Laura Marling’s Rambling Man – an outstanding effort, which hints at bigger things to come from The Paper Kites.

Queensland minx Emma Louise, unearthed by triple j, sauntered onto stage wearing an acoustic guitar that was almost as big as her – it was a wonder she managed to stay upright for her entire performance. Her debut EP Full Hearts & Empty Rooms is a little gem. Unfortunately her onstage banter showed some real nerves as she mumbled a few words and didn’t appear at all comfortable chatting to the crowd. This was all but forgotten as she treated the Metro to the exquisite Jungle, such an incredible song – let’s hope she returns soon, along with The Paper Kites, she is an up and coming talent with a bright future.

Kicking off with the opener from Only Sparrows, Clovis’ Son, Josh Pyke and band gently rocked out and the crowd lapped it up. The Summer continued the goodness, and the almost ballsy rock of Good Head Start had the dance floor grooving. Factory Fires, Tapping On A Secret, Follow Me Down, and Particles were all indelible indictments of a strong new album in Only Sparrows. Of course Josh served up some fan favourites with the likes of Memories & Dust, The Lighthouse Song and Make You Happy all receiving rapturous responses from the crowd. The new single No One Wants A Lover was a highlight, especially as Josh followed it up with Punch In The Heart, a duet with Emma Louise.

Josh closed the set with another new song, the thoroughly enjoyable The World Is A Picture, leaving a cheering crowd baying for more. Josh & band returned quickly enough and after a night heavily featuring new material, served up slightly reworked versions of Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast and Silver – magnificent. After that, there was nothing left to do but time to wrap it all up with the eye-popping solo closer Love Lies.

Josh Pyke gave us a fine performance, and although he seemed to be phoning it in on some of the older songs, perhaps that’s because it all just comes so effortlessly to him now. But he is certainly to be applauded for playing the bulk of the new album instead of a token few songs and playing a pile of ‘classics’ many of the lazier fans wanted to hear. And the rumour mill has Josh Pyke appearing on the Big Day Out tour next year; let’s hope it eventuates – he is an ideal main stage festival act, I’d recommend an early evening slot.

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