Setlist: Stars / Composure / Undertow / Beetles / Set Your Arms Down / Bees / Burgundy / Elephants
WARPAINT saunter onstage in their trackies with a mug of tea, like the waiting crowd is their front room.
Concert casual in style and dress, the LA quartet has been together six years, racking up stage time, an EP and a long-awaited album in the form of The Fool, the latter of which causing no end of palpitations in Guardian-reading hipsters everywhere.
The fuss is with good reason. Warpaint are like the XX soaked in syrup and laced with crack.
Armed with an arsenal of monosyllabically titled numbers, the foursome open with their namesake, an urgent prog-rock tribute that sets the evening’s standard.
Taking a detour through ethereality, the band slinks between hypnotic soundscapes and sugar-coated psychedelia.
The set bleeds between gems from 2009’s Exquisite Corpse and stand out LP tracks: aching renditions of ‘Stars’ and ‘Beetles’ punctuate a performance littered with moments of lazy reflection in the form of ‘Set Your Arms Down.’
But for all the whimsical subject matter and languid facade, there is a pulse to the band that strains to break out with every building riff.
Painful bass vibrations from Jenny Lindberg suffer the vocal wrath of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, whose crystal clear cries slice through any hint of warmth. Slotting in the oblique ‘Bees,’ the guitar judders between angular melodies that mimic the pattern of a horror film soundtrack.
Returning for an encore prefaced with unapologetic acapella groans, the band rounds off with ‘Burgundy’ and ‘Elephants,’ the only crime of an otherwise flawless show being the absence of aching EP track, ‘Billie Holliday.’
Wallowing in reverb, each song succeeds in sending the sweaty sold out crowd into a trance-like state. The femmes du jour, Warpaint delivers a strangely beautiful performance of dark and disturbing proportions.