Live Review

Warpaint, Hammersmith Apollo, London

26th March 2015

Not forgotten any time soon.

Warpaint have been oddly quiet since the release of that impressive self-titled second album last year, with just a smattering of one-off singles and no promise of a follow-up in sight. So it’s all the more impressive that Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo is brimming with anticipation and adoration.

As the stage fills with smoke, the LA four piece waft out along with it, launching straight into the still fresh-sounding opener ‘Warpaint’ from debut ‘The Fool’ back in 2010 with aloof confidence. Even their older material is gargantuan live; crisper, clearer and more powerful. They may not have much new material to offer, but they’ve honed their existing work to an effortlessly perfect construct of complex vocal harmonies, gutsy riffs and floaty, hypnotic beats.

The ambient, ethereal nature of Warpaint’s music may make it easy to drift away into a slowly swaying stupor if it wasn’t for the way with which each member brings their own uniquely captivating personality to the live show. Whether it’s bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg’s delightfully uncool moves, Theresa Wayman’s uncompromising swagger, Emily Kokal’s tentative owning of solo vocal parts or the fact that drummer Stella Mozgawa is just simply a total badass; each member brings something of their own to the table and it’s these individual quirks combined with an on-stage chemistry formed through the refining of this live show that makes Warpaint so interesting and entertaining to watch.

“I thought I was cool there for a sec,” laughs Theresa, after tripping at approximately the same moment one of Emily’s pedals break. It’s left to Stella and Jenny to improvise a drum ’n bass interlude before launching into ‘Intro’ which, ironically, features a fuck-up on record.

The encore also brings a few treats. After the final muscular synth lines of set closer ‘Biggy’ fade, there’s the requisite pause for a roadie to dash around the stage, rearranging and re-tuning, before the band re-emerge. But not as you know them. Stella moves from drums to guitar, while Emily and Jenny kneel on the floor, without instruments. “I guess there’s a first time for everything,” declares Theresa nervously as they twinkle delicately in to the live debut of new track, ‘Son’, a more tender, stripped-back affair.

Then, back on their feet and at their regular stations, they throw every last ounce of their energy into a further three encore tracks both old and new, proving that although they may not have any plans to record a third album as of yet, they’re not to be forgotten anytime soon.

Photos: Nathan Barnes

Tags: Warpaint, Reviews, Live Reviews

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