Warpaint, Scala, London
Wednesday 03 November 2010
Warpaint walk on stage to a room full of expectation: it has been a big year for the all-girl quartet from Los Angeles. Despite forming six years ago, the past 12 months have seen the online music community put the band on the metaphorical pedestal that comes with being just that pretty and just that good.
They're playing to support the release of their much-lauded debut album, The Fool, and as so often happens when a hyped band on the cusp of stardom plays a venue which they've probably outgrown, it is a crushing sweatbox inside.
Their music, a sort of gothic, woozy rock, is winding and layered and shifting. Among the murky bass and sometimes frazzled guitars come ethereal harmonies and dreamy melodies.
There are plenty of beautiful moments, such as "Undertow", the hypnotic "Shadows" and the song that made people really start to take notice of them, "Elephants". We also get a stunning performance of "Billie Holiday", a strange hybrid that consists of the refrain from the Motown hit "My Guy" and a spelling out of Holiday's name. It is what the Sirens' song might have sounded like.
Emily Kokal, the lead vocalist, has an angelic voice that hints at menace and Jenny Lee Lindberg is entrancing, playing the bass with her eyes closed in the centre of the stage. But at times it just gets a bit, well, boring, almost as if they're playing out a film score. It soon becomes apparent that they need a few more stand-out songs.
Listening to the album, which features mixes from Siouxsie Sioux and Primal Scream collaborator Andrew Weatherall, this slight sense of ennui never really sets in.
Still, to prove that they really don't care what anyone thinks anyway, by the end of the set the haunting sirens have fallen off their pedestal, and are doing stupid dances and falling down on stage laughing. Playing the fool.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show film
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'