Live Review: Passenger, The Paper Kites

7 February 2017 | 1:48 pm | Adrienne Downes

"This song, as he said, 'Took me from playing on the streets to playing to the world'."

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Under the starry night sky and in the grounds of the picturesque Fremantle Arts Centre, we beckoned the call of folk-song king, Passenger. With stellar support act The Paper Kites dealing indie-folk ditties and a surprising electronic mix to open, it was clear we were set for a grand evening of tunes.

What's not to love about Mike Rosenberg (aka Passenger): he's got a dreamy British accent, a guitar in hand, a voice from the heavens and a sense of humour to boot. Smooth, gorgeous tones of indie-pop and folk rock enthralled the enthusiastic audience and they loved a good singalong during a number of the songs.

Rosenberg was comical, charismatic, very entertaining and at times heartfelt. He liked to talk just as much as he loved to sing — telling the crowd that he doesn't understand why they are so happy and that misery is on its way, and teaching us that people need to stop searching for fame and riches because the only place they'll find happiness is in other people, the love of people. This brought him into pensive number Everything.

Travelling Alone was a story about two different people that Rosenberg met on a tour in Copenhagen, he enlightened, and his genuine nature in caring for these individuals as they both embarked on life alone was moving. The crowd was silent as they respected this acoustic song.

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One highlight was a number about everything Passenger hates (I Hate). Rosenberg encouraged the audience to sing along during the chorus and opened with a line about hating racists. His voice was like silk as it swooned its way into the hearts of punters. Just like the cool breeze in this outdoor setting, there was a peaceful feeling that overcame the Arts Centre on this evening.

From his seventh studio album came title track Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea, which had a grand beat, solid bass line and joyous overlay of synth as Passenger strummed his acoustic guitar. His hit Let Her Go was known by all in the audience. Rosenberg revealed he wrote the song in 45 minutes at a gig and still finds the effect that it has on people weird. This song, as he said, "Took me from playing on the streets to playing to the world". A proud busker by heart, you could hear how humbled Rosenberg feels by the success of this song. He then rolled into a cover of Ain't No Sunshine.

Being the last leg of his Australian/New Zealand tour, Rosenberg thanked his crew and band members before launching in a political rant about Donald Trump and how unsettling what's going on in our world is.

Passenger closed the night and the tour on Holes.