Warpaint @ 02 Academy Bristol 21/02/2014
If a questionnaire was conducted, handed to the world’s population, and one of the questions was, ‘If the opportunity arose, would you like to be exhilarated, or in fact enraptured by at least one member of the band Warpaint, would you?’ The answer would most likely be ‘most indefinitely’.
However, if you have been blessed with the opportunity to see Warpaint live already, this question would have unravelled itself and taken place.
Elegant, beautiful, and composed are the words best suited to describe the four ladies from California, Los Angeles. School friends Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, and Jenny Lindberg formed the band in 2004, and first got recognition from their debut EP, Exquisite Corpse, which was mixed by former Red Hot Chili Peppers member John Frusciante, and featured current Chili member Josh Klinghoffer on drums. Australian drummer Stella Mozgawa joined the band in 2009.
Following on from their EP, in 2010 they released their alternative, and psychedelic debut LP, The Fool, which reached 41 on the official UK album charts.
But more recently, the band have received more recognition due to the release of their hallucinatory-rock, self-titled second album, Warpaint, which reached number 9 in the UK official charts.
Besides the recent success with album ‘Warpaint’, no track is more compelling, and more dynamical than that same track being performed in front of an audience. The girls have recently been on fire with touring. They’ve blessed Europe, Australia, soon to be impressing America, and festivals in the summer.
They walk onto the Bristol, 02 Academy stage and are greeted with a non-rowdy applaud, and cheer. Dimmed purple, light, and dark blue lights shine on the backs of the band, and onto the audience, setting a dark hallucinogenic mood. This light setting sometimes makes it difficult to see anything but the outlines of the band, but that doesn’t matter. That is what creates the psychedelic aura that I’m sure the conscious states of some minds in the audience can enjoy, and appreciate.
They choose to follow the structure of the new album for the first two songs, they open with ‘Intro’, followed by ‘Keep It Healthy’. By this point Stella has already proved that she can conduct mighty, dominant, and technical drum beats on the drum kit, or the electrical drum pads. This magically continues throughout the performance, especially for the next song on the setlist ‘Hi’.
“Theresa is Ill at the moment, that’s why she sounds bad”, states Emily. The faces of many look confused as the vocals sound flawless, the atmosphere must have everyone hypnotised.
The setlist takes a sudden turn to debut album The Fool. Songs ‘Bees’, ‘Undertow’ and ‘Composure’ set the bar high when it comes to vocal chemistry, Emily, Theresa, and Stella. Jenny who has done vocals in the past, doesn’t this time round, she placed herself on top of a speaker for most of the set, pink hair, eyes shut, content and composed.
“This is our attempt at a happy song”, this statement then leads to the song ‘Disco//Very’.
Perhaps the most impressive vocals/performance of them all was during the encore. Emily floated back onto the stage, “I’m going to try this one on my own, and it’s called Baby”. Although hypnotising, a few members of the crowd were being intrusive, talking during this perfect performance.
The talking continued during the next song ‘Billie Holiday’, which was by requested. Theresa, being level-headed said “Anyone who’s talking needs to sing along”.. That made the ill-mannered members of the crowd shut up.
After an incredible setlist, they ended with an explosive, extended version of the song that first got them recognition, Elephants.