[LP] PAULA & KAROL play music that even BIRDS & BEES could love

standing on the corner and facing the wall, or under the bottle and under control

♫ Paula & Karol – Birds & Bees

The past 7 days have been an interesting time in the Warsaw music scene. Allow me to take you back to last Saturday, as a room full of people eagerly awaited Kamp’s performance at KaminioÅ‚omy. The Polish indie-electro rockers have been the focus of much hype and buzz since we covered them last summer. There is a palpable feeling that they might be the saviors of the scene, finally bringing Polish-made music across the borders. Although I should say there was a feeling. It may have died that Saturday night. Hours late to the stage and not a memorable moment in the set, I no longer hold the hope for them I once did. Cut Copy’s new album is already a poor man’s version of Cut Copy, the world doesn’t need another.

Fast forward exactly 5 nights to an equally packed room at Cafe Kulturalna where Warsaw duo Paula i Karol (“i” = “and”) are set to take the stage with their rotating crew of merry music makers. I’ve been sitting on the album for a few weeks now, letting it’s tender and sincere pop-folk sift through my wintery bones. Their debut album, Overshare, came out a few months ago and has been getting steady local buzz. With the upbeat xylophone, bouncy strumming, and elastic synth wobble of songs like “Birds & Bees” it’s easy to understand why. Boy/girl vocals about love, nostalgia, and keeping your chin up are all wrapped in deceptively simple production that gets your head bobbing without you even knowing it. Needless to say, standing in Cafe Kulturalna, I’m more than curious to see what will unfold on stage. About one hour later it’s clear that I’ve just seen one of the most enjoyable concerts in my life, and perhaps the new torchbearers of the Polish music scene. (Watch the whole thing here) Paula’s infectious enthusiasm is like smile-fueled sunshine, basking the audience in it’s energy. Karol is equally enthused as he strums and sings along, clearly happy as a clam to be bringing their songs to life. Along with the about 6 other musicians who took turns on drums, guitar, synthesizers, etc, they rocked the house in proper form, getting everyone pumped and singing along. A full on alt-pop concert with every song pumped to it’s max. They are a true live band who bring an electricity to their music that is not fully captured on the album. Aside from the pleasure of seeing familiar songs get such a charge, their take on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” is pretty damn enjoyable.

Watch through the end for a bit of their ode to life in the capital, “Goodnight Warsaw.” And in a concert first for me, they threw down a live remix version of album opener “Love Someone” in their encore. Their production whiz Igor dropped the beat and we all got to rock along to the song again, only this time with an added synth funk and some more spicy instrumentation. That’s what I’m talking about!

Will Paula & Karol actually make waves beyond these humble borders? It’s too soon to tell. What I do know is that the worst case scenario still sees me getting to see a lot more of their shows and that’s really not too bad.

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7 replies
  1. Ton
    Ton says:

    Actually, Kamp was NOT that late to the stage. They were supposed to start at 00:30, and began their gig at 01:00. But yes, it is true – it wasn’t their best concert I have ever seen.

  2. Brandon @ TBE
    Brandon @ TBE says:

    Good to know, but still, there was no info anywhere that 00:30 was the start time. All announcements said 22:00. Anyway, that is clearly the club’s fault and not the band’s.

  3. Ton
    Ton says:

    This is the lineup from the club’s facebook profile, which appeared on the day of the gig…


    21:00 – 23:00 Double Trouble
    23:00 – 00:00 Boy Division
    00:00 – 00:30 Oskar 2000 Box & Hubert Dast (koncert)
    00:30 – 01:30 KAMP! (koncert)
    01:30 – 03:00 AM Radio
    03:00 – ……… back 2 back

    I think it is quite normal for the main act of the night (be it a guest DJ, or a band – if it is a club gig) to start, when the club is most packed – that is between 1 and 2. I am not trying to justify the club, but as far as the timing of the concert – I think it was quite obvious. Anyway, as I said earlier It was not Kamp’s best gig. Unfortunately.

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