Warpaint at the Troubadour Last Night

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Mary Bell/OC Weekly
Warpaint
December 12, 2010
The Troubadour

Despite the few glitches in Warpaint's performance last night, one overriding truth emerged during their performance: These four artists are a musical match made in heaven.

Between bassist Jenny Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa's snakey, snappy, popping rhythms and vocalists Theresa Wayand and Emily Kokal's ghostly, sirenesque howls and post-punk guitars, this band blends a sound soup that's fresher than most of the psychedelic drivel oozing from the bowels of LA and OC these days.
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Mary Bell/OC Weekly
The show got off to a rocky start, with the group performing sluggishly. I thought this was perhaps because of the amophorous, super-spacey nature of many of the band's newer songs as compared to their 2009 ep Exquisite Corpse.

However even on the song "Stars" from the aforementioned EP, the band struggled to gel. It was during the set's early  songs That Wayman and Kokal exchanged a few uncertain glances, perhaps attributable to kinks in the sound that had to be ironed out early in the set. Though the song "Stars" is naturally slow, it lacked its normal snap, which  can be witnessed in the tune's video during the part where the girls shimmy in unison to the music and sand from the set flies from their boots.

Thankfully, the anticipated snap of the evening  reared its head on the song "Warpaint," off this year's The Fool. The control Mozgawa exhibited over her high hat (with it's sudden starts and stops) while simultaneously working her snare  demonstrated  remarkable ability without sounding mechanical. And  when Lindberg, Kokal and Wayman harmonized together, it elevated the song to a level which lent the room the vibe of a boat floating off the coast of Sirenum Scopuli. 

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Mary Bell/OC Weekly
Things only took off from there when the song "Composure" started in with its rapid fire, rolling bass line and morse code drumming. The tightly packed heard in front of the stage saw shoulders shifting and heads bobbing in unison. Kokal's voice, drenched in reverb, howled over the top as the song crescendoed. Other highlights included the ever popular "Elephants" off the 2009 EP.

 Where the set faltered the most was on songs like "Majesty," which demonstrated that this band, for all its talents, has the potential to sound tedious in their dedication to a sound that uses reverb and delay like a crutch. 

No matter. In the band's six-year life span, they've proven themselves capable of great things. It will be interesting to see after the inevitable touring ahead where they go from here.

The crowd: Unremarkable. A few young women with long flowery dresses was about as weird as it got. Everybody else looked like standard run-of-the mill alcoholics sucking back bottles of Budweiser.

Overheard: "Grand Canyon me on this one," singer Kokal said to the sound guy before one song. She was--of course!--requesting more reverb in her microphone.

The set list:
Bees
Stars
Warpaint
Composure
Undertow
Shadows
Set Yo
Majesty
Burgundy
Elephants
--
Baby
Beetles
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