Warpaint played Dublin’s National Concert Hall on August 23rd. Forming in 2004, Warpaint is an experimental indie rock band based in Los Angeles. The band comprises of Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa, who joined the band in 2009.
Warpaint arrived on stage at nine o’clock and kicked off the show with ‘Elephant’, a song that moves toward an increasingly chaotic climax. The National Concert Hall being a rather unusual venue to hold a rock show, proved to be an effective venue for the band. After the first two songs, Emily commented on how strange it is to play such an intimate show where the entire audience is sitting. She then encouraged someone from the audience to stand up so that the rest would follow and we most certainly did. This inspired the audience to engage with the band and move to the music thus transforming The National Concert hall into a floating psychedelic bubble.
There’s something so endearing about their sound which has a hazy and low-key vibe. Warpaint create a vibrant collision of sounds, some filled with cosmic rhythm and flow while others contain propulsive grooves such as ‘Disco//Very’. The result is an inescapable sound and a moody and spaced-out atmosphere.
The band played a variety of songs from their repertoire including ‘Undertow’, ‘Warpaint’, ‘Keep It Healthy’, ‘Bees’ and ‘Love Is To Die’. Unfortunately the band left out some favoured songs including ‘Billie Holiday’, ‘Shadows’ and their transfixing cover of David Bowie’s ‘Ashes To Ashes’. But hey, they can’t play them all. The band played their new dance orientated single ‘New Song’ which was released earlier this month. Warpaint’s new album “Heads Up” is out September 23rd on Rough Trade Records. Shortly after the band said goodbye, Emily reappeared solo on stage to sing and play the deeply sentimental ‘Baby’. There’s no mistaking the feeling of melancholy in this song and Emily sang it with such a delicate and calming vocal style. After that, the rest of the band reunited to perform ‘Krimson’ a hugely inventive song that’s tumultuous and abrasive in all the right places.
Warpaint’s delivery was acutely expressive, evocative, and at times even subdued. Bassist Jenny Lee manages to play and dance along to the music in the funkiest manner possible, while Stella’s percussive punch is always brilliant and Theresa and Emily’s vocals intertwine so magnificently. There’s nothing the audience can do except drift along the hypnotic flow. Succumbing is easy.
Images by: Emily Belton