Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
There is a moment in life and if you blink you very well may miss it. It’s that moment when a mother bird pushes her offspring from the nest and watches as the youngster fully spreads its wings and flies away. On the first full weekend of December 2010, Los Angeles watched local favorites Warpaint make the first leap of what appears to be a very long and successful flight with two sold out shows at the historic Troubadour.
My night started by catching most of the opening set with Aska. To be fair, I was more focused on the conversation of the two twats standing to my right then what some would call music coming from the stage. The conversation about late rent and crappy co-workers was the perfect distraction from Aska and her coffee shop rock. Strike that: This shit shouldn’t be permitted in coffee shops, it’s that fucking bad. Aska is not a strong vocalist, and her guitar playing is limited at best. There may be meaning in the lyrics, but the presentation was so dull I was certainly not motivated to focus. If there was a highlight of the singer/songwriter set it was the moment she ditched the cello player and brought out a ninja who dabbled in Lucha Libre wrestling. The dude knows how to rock a laptop, that’s for sure. Aska – just give it up already and go back to your day job.
Met with a hero’s welcome from the capacity crowd, Warpaint took the stage just past 10:15 pm. The foursome kicked off the set with the bouncy “Bees.” From the first notes, the band had the crowd hypnotized with their tight and melodic sound. Over the next 75 minutes, the local ladies grip on the audience’s collective consciousness tightened as the foursome performed the perfect mix of songs from their 2008 debut EP and the recently released full length album The Fool.
From the outside looking in, there is no evidence of ego which allows the musicians to form a tight and cohesive vehicle for the music. Warpaint has taken shoe-gaze rock and made it ethereal with a brilliant landscape of lo-fi guitar tones and lush vocal harmonies. The band pushed this sound to the max with well received numbers like “Stars”, “Undertow” and “Burgundy.” The unquestionable highlight of the night was the Emily Kokal lead “Baby.” The softest song in Warpaint’s small but powerful catalogue, all in attendance knew just how lucky they were to be seeing this band in this venue at this time. After all, it’s easy to imagine thousands of fans holding lighters and cell phone high above their heads during “Baby” when the band headlines your local Enormo-Dome in the near future.
An incredible live act with amazing records, Warpaint truly can do it all. The band proved just that with their encore – “Beetles.” Clocking in at just under ten minutes, “Beetles” is the perfect Bonnaroo meets Coachella end all be all jam. The minimalistic Smiths meet Bjork indie rocker winds up stealing a few moves from the Phish playbook in route to becoming an all-out late night dance attack. As the final notes rang through the PA and the house lights came up, the crowd released a collective sigh as we discovered the night was over. As we filed out onto the street we all knew how lucky we were to see Warpaint on this particular night. Warpaint has outgrown the cities club scene and are well on the way to being the latest local band to go national. You have no excuse to miss them in 2011.