Paper Beat Scissors Rocket Room, St. John's NF, April 18

Paper Beat Scissors Rocket Room, St. John's NF, April 18
Photo: Vish Khanna
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Brit-expat Tim Crabtree calls Canada home these days but, despite appearances, he said he was quite scared to play in St. John's for Lawnya Vawnya. Perhaps it was being in Newfoundland with his boastful moniker that made him nervous; if Paper Beat Scissors somewhere along the way, then maybe, in this bizarro universe, "the Rock" could destroy everything. By the time he'd warmed up with some compelling originals, he declared he'd calmed down and played a Jeff Buckley song with just his rich acoustic guitar playing and earnest, folksinger's voice. Crabtree exhibits traits of fluttery figures like Bright Eyes, Andrew Bird, and Iron & Wine, employing emotive imagery in expert proportions. He expresses relatable experience with enough nuance that it's unarguable; "We've got it wrong," he crooned after a sudden, unexpected vocal barrage and, whether it was true or not, the room seemed to say to itself, "He's right, y'know." Crabtree, with his slight build and slouch, has charisma. His songs are all dynamic, quiet-loud affairs with looping pedals adding the odd, unexpected texture. It was a compelling set for the uninitiated and Paper Beat Scissors took his fear and created something inspiring.

To see Exclaim!'s Lawnya Vawnya photo gallery, head here.