Warpaint – Deaf Institute, Manchester – 24th May 2010

Posted on October 25, 2010

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Formed in Los Angeles back in 2004, Warpaint are an ambient rock group that combine experimental tendencies with post punk rhythms. Having undergone various changes in personnel, the band’s progress had been somewhat stifled in the past but anyone inside last night’s sold-out Deaf Institute gig would agree that they are now set to become one of the most well-respected bands around. With a mixture of modern and retro sounds, Warpaint have the tools necessary to make a real impact on music.

It is one thing trying to write powerful and intricate songs full of rich textures and sounds, and it’s another thing to pull it off adeptly; but that is exactly what these girls are capable of. Vocally serene, they create layered harmonies reminiscent of 1960’s girl groups; whilst musically they offer great power and energy. Drummer Stella Mozgawa is responsible for much of this power, with her beats providing a huge sound and a solid platform on which the other band members can sit. Mozgawa is full of ideas and her beats change so quickly and so often that the songs are very exciting. Jenny Lee Lindberg’s bass playing is often simple yet driving, and during the band’s many jam sections she really gets stuck in, adding great depth to the bands already vast sound. Reverb drenched arpeggios are another of Warpaint’s trademark sounds, with the rolling riff in ‘Elephants’ particularly pleasurable and catchy. The enjoyment that the four of them get out of playing their own tracks is a joy to behold. There are few things worse in music than the sight of musicians going through the motions when playing live but Warpaint’s vigorous stage presence is a wonderful facet of their overall performance. When a gig leaves you feeling stunned and excited in equal measure you know it must have been pretty special.

Having signed Warpaint at the back-end of last year, it seems as though Rough Trade may have made their finest acquisition for many a year. Media hype often turns out to be nothing more than useless bile spewed from the mouths of tasteless music journalists and radio Disc Jockeys; but Warpaint are fully deserving of the superlatives thrown their way in recent times. Having cut their teeth by playing high-profile support slots for the likes of The XX, Yeasayer and Vampire Weekend; they are undoubtedly ready for more headline gigs like this one. 2011 may just be their year.

Set List

Warpaint

Stars

Composure

Undertoe

Beetles

Set Your Arms Down

Bees

Burgundy

Elephants

Words by Robert Pollard

Photography by Sam Ellis

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Posted in: Music