Live Review: Warpaint – Liverpool O2 Academy – 20/3/14

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After releasing their sophomore self-titled album just over a month ago, Californian four-piece Warpaint have taken their melancholy indie rock to all four corners of the earth.

The girls are currently in the European stretch of their worldwide gallivanting after making stops off in Austrailia, Tokyo, New York and fractions of Europe. It’s clear when the band step out onto the stage on the first date of their European tour in Liverpool that not only is their rigorous schedule not affecting their stage show in the slightest but the maturity they’ve gained since their debut album, ‘The Fool’, released in 2010 is colossal.

Although walking on stage to triumphant cheers from the crowd, the band enter a dream-like state with soft red lights making their faces almost unrecognisable. Opening with a long instrumental into ‘Keep It Healthy’, the audience remained static until the instantly recognisable intro to ‘Bees’ making it clear that the crowd were here for the old songs, which is understandable with the new album being still such a fresh piece of work.

The girls themselves created such a unique environment onstage with the general feel more introverted than extroverted. Although the band did talk to the crowd, make a couple of jokes and thank them all for coming out to see the them tonight, most of the onstage talking was between themselves. Most of the time it felt like you were watching a jam session between friends with all the spontaneous improvisations, the inside jokes and giggles, which were mainly between Jenny Lee Lindburg (bass) and Stella Mozgawa (drums). Their set was almost a game of instrumental musical chairs with after almost every song a member or several members of the band swapping instruments. It just goes to the musical skill level of Warpaint and it’s easy to see why they write most of their songs at sound checks; out of all the concerts I’ve seen before they’re probably the band that appears to be most comfortable on the stage.

Judging by Emily Kokal’s frantic and continuous arm gestures to the side of the stage, the band were suffering with technical difficulties all night which was not apparent in their high quality set in the slightest. ‘Undertow’, arguable Warpaint’s most commercially penetrative track to date, was delivered cleanly and was a real peak to the set. The track led into a fast and rather intricate instrumental with Kokal cleaning up the stage, laughing and dancing whilst her band mates beat their instruments to within an inch of their lives.

The band’s encore did let them down slightly with a loud feedback ringing sound drowning out ‘Drive’ which they recovered from quickly. You find yourself falling under Warpaint’s spell with their perfectly crafted music lulling you into a trance. The highlight of the set, for me personally, was the girl’s on stage chemistry. Their sixth sense of what another is going to do and their camaraderie.

It’s a shame more bands don’t possess this exquisite gem of a trait.

 

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