Concert review: Warpaint at the 9:30 Club
The LA-based all-female band played a hypnotic, energetic set
The crowd at the 9:30 Club was bustling with energy Tuesday night when LA-based all-female band Warpaint brought its live show to D.C. The band consists of guitarist and vocalist Theresa Wayman, guitarist and vocalist Emily Kokal, bassist and backing vocalist Jenny Lee Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa. Warpaint’s mystical, yet groovy music kept its fans moving all night. The band is promoting its newly released album, “Heads Up.”
Facial, a local band from LA, performed a lively opening set. Though Facial’s noisy, indie grunge sound contrasts that of Warpaint’s, which is more mellow and electronic, Facial’s performance was overwhelmingly well-received by the audience. Every second of the band’s set was packed with wild energy, and the enthusiasm the members poured into each song carried over into the crowd. Members of the band mentioned that their sound is heavily influenced by Fugazi, which was evident in their songs. When the crowd wasn’t jumping to Facial’s music, they were laughing at the witty stage banter.
Warpaint entered the stage to a roaring audience eager to hear its music. The band kicked off the show with “Bees,” a guitar-heavy song from its first album, “The Fool.” The audience jolted with excitement when they recognized the opening notes. Warpaint continued the set with songs off its new album, “Heads Up” and “The Stall.”
While many other bands have one key defining feature that drives their music, Warpaint is unique in that each of the instruments fit intricately together to form a bold, unified sound. Warpaint’s complex bass lines, lively drumming, unconventional time signatures, sharp rhythm guitar, carefully constructed harmonies and haunting vocals are combined to create a vibrant texture; each component is crucial.
The band showed off its versatility, alternating between older, grungier songs and faster, cleaner ones. Some crowd favorites were “Undertow,” “Elephants,” “Love is to Die,” “New Song” and “Disco//very.” Throughout the entire set, fans were lost in the music, dancing recklessly and staring up in awe at the four talented women on stage.
Warpaint returned to the stage upon hearing overwhelmingly loud screams for an encore. The band played “Biggy,” a low-key, relaxed song, and followed it with the more upbeat “So Good.” After that tune came “Intro” and “Keep it Healthy,” two complementary tracks that feature Mozgawa’s unique drumming style and Kokal’s delicate, mesmerizing vocals. The band finished off the night with an older favorite off its debut EP “Exquisite Corpse,” “Krimson.”
Warpaint rose above fans’ already high expectations with their hypnotic sound and high energy performance. The live set brought life to the songs, new and old, and created an atmosphere that was simultaneously hazy and gripping.