Longform

Paper Bird and Esme Patterson Had to Split Up Before Both Could Take Off

Early on a Tuesday night at Syntax Physic Opera, Paper Bird is taking advantage of its sound check to play a bit of a new song, "Parade." It is one of several things the band will debut tonight; another is the writer of the song, Carleigh Aikins, on lead vocals. Normally, this portion of the process lasts only a few seconds, but the six musicians feel good, better than they had in practice earlier in the day, and there are no real time restraints on this open-mic night. So they just keep going, past the delicate intro to the irresistible chorus. A gentle melody becomes an elaborate harmony, and the drums build like a stampede. Aikins takes a small step forward into her microphone and leans slightly back -- then absolutely tears into the third verse.

The few people in the audience ignore their dinners as they stare at the stage with a mixture of awe and confusion. The song ends, and after a pause, one of them yells out, "Best sound check ever!"

See also: -Esme Patterson's Woman to Woman Tells the Other Side of the Story -Photos: Meet the New Paper Bird

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky