Paperwhite and Handsome Ghost open for the synthpop group on Saturday night.
Katie Marshall’s voice can usher people in from the sidewalk.
I know this because I happened to be outside when Paperwhite started their set on Saturday. The line outside and the pedestrians who walked by all noticed: “This group sounds good.”
That group they were referring to was brother and sister duo Ben and Katie Marshall. And that interest that they showed continued, grew, and peaked during Paperwhite’s incredible set at the MHOW. At one point, the yell of the crowd after the song matched the volume of the speakers. I watched one person walk in, visually show she was interested, and full on lose herself to dancing during the first 45 seconds of “Get Away.” All over the venue, Paperwhite garnered fans left and right, jumping right into their music.
The word “Magic,” also a Paperwhite tune, could have been used to describe Katie’s dress; a sequined number that perfectly caught the lights. Or it could have been used to describe her innate ability to be ready for a picture at any moment, her arm outstretched, inviting the audience in. (And in fact she did invite the audience to sing along to the song “Magic,” including teaching us the vocals.).
But I would actually use “Magic” to describe the audience’s visual shift towards utter fandom over the course of Paperwhite’s set. “This has been incredible for us,” Katie said closing out the set. But what she doesn’t realize is that it’s been incredible for us to watch, too.
Paperwhite ended with “Unstoppable,” and with the energy they created tonight, that’s undoubtedly a metaphor for the band’s current trajectory.
Whereas the vocals and the melodies of Paperwhite drew people to the floor, for Handsome Ghost, it was the acoustic guitar. From the moment the first chord was played, people flocked to the floor and filled in the gaps.
The crew of Handsome Ghost operate at the intersection of pop and emo: Tim Noyes carries an acoustic guitar, but he’s moving and dancing; He wearing a beanie, but the music isn’t sad.
That pop/emo combination spurred the audience to conversation. Where we were dancing to Paperwhite, people mingled and had joyful conversations to Handsome Ghost. The soundtrack included songs off the “Steps” EP as well as a slowed down cover of “Roses” by The Chainsmokers.
Great Good Fine Ok
At first glance, the name Great Good Fine Ok could have referred to the likert-scale… not that you needed one in order to assess the show’s success on Saturday. It’s pretty clear that between the light up drumsticks, the balloons that fell from the upper balcony, Jon Sandler’s printed white coat, and the ton of glow sticks that were tossed to the crowd, it was bound to be a great night.
The show was not without a few surprises, including a duel between an electric guitar and a keytar, a slower more deliberate version of “I Belong In Your Arms” by fellow Brooklynites Chairlift, and a minor break in the action due to technical difficulties. Sandler used this brief respite to explain that he had found a cure to his recent sickness: the crowd. “ I feel better than I’ve felt in three days,” he exclaimed, perfectly timing his story to jump right back into the show as if no issues had ever happened.
The audience took the energy from Paperwhite’s show and increased it two fold. Amongst the neon of the lights, and the glow sticks, they completely lost themselves in the dream pop world. They mimicked Jon’s virtual jump roping and unique dancing style. They lost it when he tossed his jacket into the crowd. They danced wherever they could find room.
As evidenced by the massive cheers springing up between the 60’s groove and Daft Punk-like beats, it was a surely energetic way to conclude Great Good Fine Ok’s first headlining tour.