March 24, 2010 – Paper Airplane consists of Ryan Horns on vocals and guitar, Travis Kokas on bass, Teresa Kent on keyboard and Antonio Garza on drums.  It’s a Wednesday night at Rumba Café.  Paper Airplane is opening for Oblio which is a Nashville, Tennessee band on tour.  The club was empty as I entered except for the tones that filled the room by the sound checking band on stage.  It just so happens that it was the group I was there to review and I was immediately impressed with the camaraderie that they showed to the empty club and the sound guy setting them up.  They seemed to be having almost too much fun for such an empty club.

Paper Airplane flying at Rumba Cafe

They began their set with some excellent energy and a very cool guitar riff that sounded crystal clear.  I wouldn’t have been so impressed with this but I have been to Rumba previously to witness some very muffled sounding guitar based bands.  As Horns’ vocals began I found him a bit whiny in nature, but it seemed to work well. The very warm and melodic sounding tones coming from both the guitar he strummed and the keys with which Kent added was persuading me to the music.  Horns presented himself well with his heavy set guitar while jumping around as if his instrument was light as a feather.  Kent added some very beautiful tones with the keys that probably would leave this music without if it weren’t for the between notes she provided.  Kokas also had his additions that were definitely worth mentioning as his slides and thumps on the bass seemed to move seamlessly between Garza’s’ heavy, yet slick percussion hits that kept everyone together in a very sharp manner.

Horns has a very “every man” voice that makes you feel like you can put this band’s CD in and sing it with him every time feeling good about it.  A good description of their music in general within this aspect in mind is comfortable.  It would be an excellent selection for listening to while driving or doing something that takes time as the song construction and tones they produce are very interesting and thought provoking.  This band has some excellent song writing abilities and they seem to work very well together on stage.  Horns seemed to be the center of the live show.  The rest of the band seemed to feed off of his every move and change.  Kent played some very light keys for much of the show but she really shines when the rest of the band lowers the volume.  Kent very creatively and cleverly catered to the many quick and potent transitions which every song seemed to contain.  Most of Paper Airplane’s songs seemed very short and were all very catchy.  It was almost as if they live and die by a quality and quantity belief in song writing.  I’ve rarely seen a band with so many songs with as many changes in one performance.  Also impressive within this aspect of the show was the tight feel of the music.  The more jammy feeling songs had very clever, catchy endings that were performed with a very close, tight feeling between each instrument and the vocals.  Some of the time it was almost too clever for me as I wrote because the song would end suddenly and surprise me in mid note taking.

There was a moment when Kent hit a wrong note on the keys, smiled and mouthed “oops” as everyone smiled back and moved on seamlessly.  It was as if they practiced what to do in the event of a mistake as to add to the banter between them and show the crowd how well they really do work together.  There was also a moment nearly three quarters of the way through the show where a tuning problem seemed to occur.  Even throughout this one song they seemed to have fun with it and it didn’t really look like they were all that bothered by the problem.  After the song, Horns did state that they should have played the selection earlier as it tends to tire him out more than most songs, and before beginning the last song he stated that they may either butcher this one or it would be lots of fun.  I really enjoyed the band’s banter and communication throughout the show.

Paper Airplane at Rumba Cafe

Overall I would have to highly recommend catching this band live if you ever have the chance.  Their music will leave you feeling good and their stage presence will keep you entertained.  The only real problem I can state having with the show was the lack of audience.  The band had just come back from a winter hiatus of writing and recording music which may explain the lacking crowd attendance.  Apparently the time off will be worth it as they stated they have a new album nearly finished and should be out soon.  Hopefully, in the future they will have the opportunity to play for a larger group and I will be looking out for another chance to catch them in Columbus.  If you would like to check out Paper Airplane and find out where to see them play, check them out at: http://www.myspace.com/therealpaperairplane.