Two days after releasing their eponymous follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed debut album, The Fool, Warpaint crammed onto a tiny stage for a very intimate (only 250 capacity!) album launch gig at London’s Electrowerkz. Confidently beginning their set with a trio of songs from the new album, Warpaint showed their new material certainly has the potential to live up to, if not surpass, the standard of The Fool.
The band kicked off with album opener, ‘Intro’, which was awash with hypnotic guitars and propelled forwards by grooving bass lines from Jenny Lee Lindberg, who swayed dreamily along with the music. ‘Love Is To Die’, the first single of the new album, saw Theresa Wayman take up lead vocals, which she did with even more haunting sultriness than on record, and drummer Stella Mozgawa offered powerful percussive drum beats, neatly balanced by Lindberg’s steadily bouncing bass lines.
Next up came one of the highlights from the new album, the subtly enchanting ‘Biggy’. Murky synths and beautifully smouldering vocals from Emily Kokal combined to make a spellbinding performance which allured and entranced the whole audience. Old favourite ‘Bees’ was met with cheers of enthusiasm from the crowd and was peppered with angular guitars and stomping drum beats.
Another new song, ‘Feeling Alright’, came next. Like, ‘Love Is To Die’, the song followed a more conventional structure than some of Warpaint’s other material. Again, the rhythm section stole this song; the lilting bass and muted drums added to the song’s dreamy quality, reinforced by Wayman, who sang “I’m going up to a starry state”. The band paused for a water-break, inviting the crowd to do so also and informing us that “it’s important to stay hydrated. Hy-drated. Hi! That’s the name of the next song!”. The song in question was drenched with reverb-heavy vocals, sung by Wayman with a strange mix of mournful triumph, and undercut by an ominous bass line, courtesy of Lindberg.
The highlight of the evening was the funk-infused anthem, ‘Disco//very’, where Lindberg, Wayman and Kokal each took turns to sing, snarl and shriek the verses, with lyrics as fierce as “don’t you battle/ we’ll kill you/ rip you up and tear you in two”. Warpaint’s confidence clearly rubbed off on the audience at this point and Wayman paused to dedicate the next song to “you guys dancing at the front”.
Returning for an encore, the band embarked upon an epic, (over 10 minutes long) extended version of ‘Elephants’. Beginning with eerie vocals and silvery guitars, the song gradually sprawled into a tumult of meandering guitar jams which oozed psychedelica. Complete with Mozgawa’s thrashing drums and Lindberg’s slinking bass lines, this one was quite as danceable as ‘Disco//very’.
Warpaint have proved that their new material certainly delivers on all levels live. The only criticism that can be said is that not enough songs from the new album were played. However, with still another year of touring ahead of them we can expect the band to not only bring in more new material to their sets but to develop and expand their new songs live and we can only eagerly anticipate their forthcoming shows until then.