The Paperboys Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON - September 29, 2003

The Paperboys Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON - September 29, 2003
It's a familiar story: Canadian band finds exuberant acclaim in Europe before anyone realises at home. Recently signed to True North Records, the Paperboys were showcasing their new double-release, Dilapidated Beauty. Known as a driving, Celtic-flavoured force, they're attempting a transition into a more Americana roots direction, as evidenced by the gentler, heartland-based sounds from their new disc, but their chemistry is best demonstrated on the more Celtic-sounding material. Mexican-born Tom Landa — the sole continuity from one Paperboys line-up to the next — shone brightly with many newer compositions, including "Dilapidated Beauty" and "White Noise Lullaby," showcasing his elastic, familiar-sounding voice, which makes it all work so splendidly. A crack three-piece horn section of locals, Phil Dwyer, Gord Myers and Kevin Turcotte, added lush dimensions to some of the more Spanish-sounding material. Yet it is the distinctive fiddle and pipes contributions of Shannon Saunders and Geoffrey Kelly that lend an undeniable Celtic hue to their overall sound, despite detours into bluegrass, gospel, folk, country and Latin territories. Multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Steve Mitchell is making his presence known on their trademarked sound, while new drummer Adam Mark provides a solid bedrock, whether the required pace be passive or punk-like in intensity. The second half of the evening may have deteriorated into a somewhat flaccid, friend-fest of guest appearances, but the Paperboys had already shown their true colours and hammered home their point by then.