Live Review: Paula and Karol at London 93 Feet East – 15th May 2012

By on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

There’s a great optimism to Paula and Karol‘s material. These days, we have enough problems in the world, with world economies tanking, more people going homeless and hungry…the list goes on. I remember Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires one time saying he wanted his band to provide escapist music to people, to take them out of the daily grind. In that respect, Paula and Karol excel, for their sunny pop/folk melodies will make you forget your cares and leave you with a huge smile on your face. I don’t think you own a heart if ‘Whole Again’, which I heard in its lower tones through the walls of a Pizza Express in Brighton, doesn’t make you insides melt. It’s not cloyingly sweet either, which I think is a big problem with pop/folk hybrids.

No, this duo – and their great support band of friends – is doing everything right. Some people may question, why aren’t they singing in Polish? I have to say, a major stumbling block to me understanding Sigur Ros is that I have no idea what Jonsi is singing about. By singing in English, this girl/boy duo has managed to bridge friendships across the world, including when I first discovered them at the Burning Ear showcase at this year’s SXSW.

I don’t speak a word of Polish, so I felt a little out of place on a Tuesday night this month at 93 Feet East. First though, I needed to find the front door; I got terribly lost from Old Street tube (never think someone’s who has been to London five times knows her way around a neighbourhood she’s ever been) and then when I finally found the 93 Feet East sign and was on the property, I became confused as to where the actual entrance of the venue was.

Luckily, a Polish girl happened to arrive at the same time as me led the way. Once inside, I found the design of 93 Feet East’s stage to be a bit warehouse-ish, but the headline band of the night, Warsaw’s ‘superheroes’ Paula and Karol, made it their own and warmed the hearts of what I’m guessing was the better portion of the Polish population of London. Most bands who haven’t ‘made it’ yet can only dream of having an encore in this town. Paula and Karol had two. The first was ‘House into a Home’, prefaced by Paula thanking everyone who has supported them along the way, and indeed, even their London friends who had put up the band in three separate locations to allow them to play 2 shows in the capital.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n_IVKwSWBs[/youtube]

This was just one of several dates of a special English mini-tour the band embarked on surrounding their appearances at ‘Don’t Panic, We’re from Poland’ showcases at both the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. But the big surprise was yet to come. Years ago it seems now, I saw Lykke Li break out A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Can I Kick It’ at Washington’s Black Cat. But this version by Paula and Karol, full of beatboxing and handclap glory, can be watched below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC39UsVgYxo[/youtube]

Was it worth getting lost in the middle of East London to see this band? You bet!

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2 Responses

11:02 am
5th June 2012

I Found Paula And Karol a few weeks ago, i listened the album Whole Again, ando now i’m writing about them at my blog. I think they amazing, and I enjoy their folk tunes.
Reading your words about this live act of them in London made me feel a little bit like i was there! 🙂

1:48 pm
6th June 2012

Thanks very much – and I’m glad you enjoyed reading it and you’re writing about them on your blog 🙂 Are you in Portugal?

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