Review: The Paperboys at Horizon Stage

Last night The Paperboys completed a set of three Alberta performance dates at the Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove. The Paperboys’ performance was as polished as one of their many albums, but make no mistake polished doesn’t mean disconnected. Although the set-up for the Horizon Stage doesn’t readily allow for patrons to stand up and dance (without blocking their neighbours) from the first chord that The Paperboys struck serious seat-dancing, foot stomping and hand clapping occurred. With the final song of the night  the audience’s enthusiasm could no longer be contained and suddenly we were on our feet partaking in an audience wide dance party.

The Paperboys have been playing together (in various incarnations) for 20+ years and drew from that wealth of repertoire when compiling their set list, mixing older tunes such as “She Said” with newer ones off the album At Peace With One’s Ghosts like “City of Chains“. On “She Said” the individual members of the band showcased their musical talents with a series of solos, and with “California” had the sold out audience of the Horizon Stage singing along.

Twenty odd years is a longtime to remain a band—people move and become involved in other projects— so in the course of The Paperboys existence they have had to come up with creative ways of working. Geoff Kelly explained that due to the geographical separation of some of the band members homes  (Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver etc.) that much of their songwriting is accomplished on the road, and offered “The Baron’s Jig” as an example of one such tune written in on the road in the south of Germany. Another was the album Road to Ellenside which was recorded by The Paperboys while they stayed in a house, named Ellenside, in the north of England. The Paperboys’ sound is irresistibly infectious blending many genres into something new, and I for one am grateful that they manage the time to squeeze in the writing of new songs while on the road.

The Horizon Stage has more folk acts in the upcoming months including: Séan McCann on November 19th.

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