The anticipation was brewing: even before the the ladies of Warpaint took the stage at the Independent, a guy standing at front and center passed out. His muscle failure could have been a product of over-intoxication, but I'm guessing it was an overdose of hard excitement. I admit, I too got the jimmy-legs during the show but I managed to keep them clenched until the encore came to a wow-worthy close. And then I hit the floor with a smirk.
The LA band of four was nothing short of stunning. The set was gorgeously long, stacked with songs from their debut, The Fool [Rough Trade, 2010] and an exceptional jam-session during the encore. The guitars were intense, the drums fierce and the bass lines sanded rough edges with impressive force. Warpaint rocks hard and yet continually taunts with such an eerie, feminine mystique.
It's the girly details I liked best: Theresa Wayman hugs her guitar while she sings, Emily Kokal's hips sway while she plucks a rift, the constant and very mischievous smirk on drummer Stella Mozgawa's lips and Jenny Lee Lindberg's relentless wild-child energy. They laughed, they kissed and hugged and flirted-- and all the while the music was still totally rad and introspective. Harmonies oozed like honey from the nest and the simultaneous head-banging kept emotions on the rail. They drew the crowd in with a taunting index finger and then pushed us flat down when we got too close. It was the perfect mix of sensual and edgy.
The Warpaint women are obviously best buds and their complimentary energies explode on stage. They're like an upgraded version of the Babysitters Club-- a hippie, feminist, grown-up version of the girl clan that could have been totally badass if they had traded all their boy-drama and horseback riding for band practice.
I already totally loved the recorded version of Warpaint but their live performance upgraded my feelings to overflowing admiration for their mad skills, sex appeal and sweetness. No doubt this group is going to blow up and it's totally deserved.