For the past few years I had been waiting to write this. It’s pretty obvious how much Warpaint mean to me. I wouldn’t just have any band’s logo tattooed on me!
The bands/singer supporting Warpaint last night were incredible. Martina Topley-Bird set the tone for what was a night that felt like one massive escapism of the mind. Her vocal skills (with questionable sounding from the soundmen) are excellent. Her songs are short, but feel like you are wavering in and out of a fairytale; like you’ve reached the dark side. She’s brilliant, of course she is though. She was on Tricky’s debut record.
Secondly, Manchester’s finest, PINS are on (I’m ignoring the DJs because I don’t think you can really review a DJ set and I wasn’t really paying attention.) PINS are fucking AMAZING. Girls Like Us is a ritualistic listen for me. I play it most days as I make the delightful Met Line journey into work. Faith is one of the best front-women around, she stalks the stage and glares like a panther, and sings with real purpose. I’d been waiting for some time to see PINS live, and to see them supporting Warpaint was an honour. I was pretty happy to have seen LUVU4LYF live. I bloody adore that song. It fueled my love for them last year. They played as if they were headlining Brixton Academy. I’m pretty sure by the Summer of next year they will be. Anna, Lois, Sophie and Faith all play with this intensity that is missing in a lot of bands. On record you can hear hints of certain eras in music, but when you see them live all of these lame comparisons that (lazy) music journalists lob about just fade away immediately.
You cannot compare PINS to anyone else. When you see them live it is like they are the soundtrack to a reoccuring nightmare that you really don’t mind having; there’s some form of security in Faith’s delicate voice. As I was watching PINS, I started to hate the fact that I have NO musical talent. Oh and let it be known that the best drummers’ names begin with an S; Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) Sandy Vu (Dum Dum Girls) and Sophie from PINS. There are some bands you could quite happily watch live over and over, PINS are easily one of them. I cannot wait to see them with Dum Dum Girls in December.
I must add that before Martina Topley-Bird came on stage, over the PA they were playing Velvet Underground’s debut record. Without that record, a lot of bands that we love never would have formed. Martina dedicated a song to Lou. He lives on in those that love, respect and admire him. Music can never die.
Warpaint walk on to the stage. I feel as if I’m going to throw up. I’ve waited years for this moment. I’m right at the front. It’s happening.
They open with new song, Keep It Healthy. They play some new songs from their second record, which is self-titled. Love Is To Die sounds divine live. Theresa’s vocals live sound stronger than they do on record, and the way she and Emily merge their vocals is just stunning. There is a bond between all of them that makes you want to start your own band. They make you want to ignore the world you are forced to live in, and to go create something else. They create this magical and mysterious world with their music. Of course it is Undertow which sees the crowd make a loud and questionable sound. The jam at the end just reinforces your love for them and your desire to go start your own band.
On record, Warpaint have been the band I’ve used when I cannot sleep or when I’m on the train and all I can see outside is streetlights. They are comfort and they are hope. Witnessing it all live was just as perfect as I hoped it would be. I closed my eyes, I swayed, I sang, I felt like a human being again. I felt as if no one else was in the room. My love for Warpaint has grown, and I’m really not sure how it could. It’s not just their music that makes you love them, it’s the way they are on stage with each other. Jenny and Stella are at the back like two disruptive kids in school. One look from either can make the other erupt into a fit of giggles. This is chemistry at its best. This is how a band should be. Warpaint make you wish you were in their band.
Warpaint aren’t a band that you just listen to in the background or go see live once. They become everything because their music just frees you in the most gentle way possible. They guide you delicately into a world where nothing matters apart from the moments their music creates. Certain parts in songs just set you off, and everything you feel is heightened. Watching them play Majesty live was beautiful. I remember interviewing Theresa three years ago, and I spoke to her about that song. There was something about that song, at that point that just meant a lot. Seeing it live fortunately brought nothing back. If anything, I just appreciated the song even more. Elephants was a riot in the mind. It felt like a catharsis in the purest form seeing it live. But for me, my highlight was Emily coming back on stage on her own to sing Baby. For the most part, their songs feel as if you are floating on water in a dream, a daze. But there is something about Baby that doesn’t distant you from real life. It feels like it is really happening, and the connection is different. It’s a very open and vulnerable song, and that’s probably why I love it. She also sang a bit of Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen’s Because The Night during it.
As the evening came to a close, I started to think about everything Warpaint mean to me. I had finally seen the band live, after waiting for so long. The wait was made up of frustration and the need to just see them live because live music can give you something that just sitting and listening through headphones can’t.
This was a massive struggle to write because I feel as if I should have written more, or gone into more detail. All I know is that this was one of the best shows I’ve been to. There’s a private feeling that cannot be put into words when describing what seeing Warpaint live is like. I think those who have seen them live and TRULY feel their music will know exactly what I mean.