WARPAINT: Albert Hall, Manchester 12/05/2022

If you’ve ever seen Warpaint live, then what I’m about to write will probably be old news to you. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written about Warpaint, that too will also be old news. But it doesn’t matter. My point with this is to just tell anyone who reads this how amazing the band are. On record it is obvious they are brilliant, but live? Well, that’s a different level altogether.

My love for Warpaint started when I first heard the Exquisite Corpse many many moons ago. I felt like I had found the band that I needed my whole life. Warpaint just make eveyrything better. They fill you with joy, love and hope. Their laid-back sound is utterly transformed in a live setting and it’s pretty much life-changing.

They open with Stars; which is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. The song soothes the soul. It calms you and makes you feel like all is okay. I can’t describe how euphoric this song is live, but to be honest with you- the whole set is sheer euphoria. The way Stars goes gently into Champion is too much! It should be a crime to be this good. There are so many moments during the set that just leave you in awe. I had to stop myself from crying many times. I felt complete happiness at this show, and I’ve not felt that way in a hell of a long time. But let’s not get too personal now. I think part of the joy I felt was down to how long I’ve waited to see them live again. The set was divine. I mean of course I’d be happy if they sang the alphabet for 5 hours straight but this set was just all I wanted and more. There was a strong mix of old and new songs.

My absolute favourite moment of the show was New Song going into Disco//Very. Those two songs makes me SO stupidly happy and to get them back to back in this way was like winning the lottery but way better. I was sat at the top (it was the VIP section and I felt so awkward sitting there but being able to watch the crowd move and sing their hearts out was so beautiful. The most beautiful crowd I’d ever seen!) Those two songs are wat heaven must sound like. You cannot help but watch the stage with such love and admiration. I adore how much they love each other, and this comes across every single time. The moment that really shows this is when all four of them stand at the front of the stage and sing Melting together. I’m pretty sure that’s how angels sing you know. As much as I love rowdy Punk shows, the balance I get from bands like Warpaint ease the mind. They are such a gentle band and without sounding like a cliched fool- they have never sounded better! The confidence is stunning. Emily’s vocals sound stronger than ever- this is evident on Hard To Tell You. She hits the high notes (I’m getting goose bumps writing about it!) and my god it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Pretty apt that they played an old church, right? This band have serious healing powers. Hard To Tell You is probably my favourite off the new record, and seeing it live was something else. I thought this would have been the one that made me proper bawl, but all I could do was soak up the moment and be in awe of Emily’s vocals.

At various parts of the show, you find yourself focusing on certain band members. Love Is To Die- you find yourself being in awe of Theresa’s vocals and presence. Like I mentioned already, Hard To Tell You leaves you fully engrossed with Emily’s voice. Jenny during Elephants and Beetles just blows your mind. Stella’s drumming on Disco//Very is just mind-blowing. These are just a couple of examples, but to be honest- the whole show just blew my mind. If I could live in a moment where I am constantly at a Warpaint show- I’d take it. I’m not sure how I’ve focused at work today because in my mind, body and soul- I’m at the show.

Something I’ve always admired about the band is how close they are. There’s this unity they have that makes you wish you were part of the band. I can’t really put into words what it’s like, but if you’ve seen them live- you’ll know exactly what I mean. Melting really summed this up. The way they stood round Emily as she played her iconic guitar, and they all created a different side to this song. I loved watching Jenny sway during every song. Her eyes closed as she sways to the music. There’s something about the sound like her bass makes that makes you instantly move just like her. Close your eyes and sway. The unbreakable bond they have is so beautiful to watch and you cannot help but smile like a total idiot whilst watching them.

Until next time, I’ll be keeping this show very close to my heart.

EZRA FURMAN: Albert Hall, Manchester. 12th November 2019.

 

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Yesterday was my birthday; it was the first without my Grandma. It was a weird and painful day. Thank god I had my girlfriend and an Ezra Furman show to distract me.

I’ve been a fan of Ezra for so long, and various things I’ve always got in the way of me ever catching a show of his. The main being me having panic attacks. He once played a tiny venue right by my old house on Chatsworth Road in London, of course I couldn’t go because I had a panic attack and was broke. Living just to pay rent and have no life is now a thing of the past, but back then it was pretty much all I did. Last night was special for so many reasons.

 

 

The crowd was full of people who just made the show feel like home. To see the front row absolutely scream the words back to Ezra gave off a sense of hope. They are our future, and maybe they’ll be the ones to fix all the fuck ups that past and present leaders have caused. The crowd was made up of beautiful people from our LGBTQ+ community. People were free to be whoever they wanted, dress however they wanted and to just be free. To truly be free. I sincerely hope Ezra is aware of the power and influence he has, and how he is probably spurring on a younger generation to speak up and fight back.

There were so many moments in the set where you could truly feel and hear the words being screamed by Ezra and being screamed back at Ezra louder than most. I did my very best to hold back tears for many reasons, and to hear certain lines being sung just caused some tears to fall. There’s one line that I have in the back of my mind constantly from his brilliant song (and one of my favourites from Twelve Nudes) My Teeth Hurt. I love the line, “I don’t know how I’m doing lately. Fuck you if you ask.” I didn’t have it in me to scream that line last night, but I have it constantly screaming in my head. If I could personally thank Ezra for writing that line, and that song I truly would. I really cannot put into words just how much that line means to be. It’s a crutch for me.

We all know that Twelve Nudes is probably the best record of the year, and it’s been my safety net since it came out. I love how on the record you can truly hear the fury in Ezra’s voice. The cracks in his voice on the songs occur just as beautifully on stage. You can really feel every single emotion when Ezra does songs like Calm Down, Evening Prayer and Trauma. He played about 22 songs last night, and I’m pretty sure we want Ezra and his band to just stay on stage forever. He’s our hero, he’s our voice. Thank fuck we have people like him. He’s 2 months older than me, but I still idolise him in the same way I idolise Patti Smith and Nick Cave. He’s everything to me, and he is everything to everyone who was at the show last night.

Hearing the new songs live was such a beautiful experience but it is older songs like My Zero (who he dedicated to our Mancunian treasure, Marc Riley), Haunted Head and Love You So Bad were such an honour to see and hear. He created moments on stage that you just wanted to stay in for the rest of time. I have never felt so safe at a show; it felt like home. It felt like we were all witnessing something truly powerful yet utterly sacred. Of course, I wish I had seen him live before, but to see him in a venue that I adore, with my favourite person was most certainly worth waiting for.

Suck The Blood From My Wound opened the show, and it was played with this urgency that made you instantly realise just how vital this show was going to be. It is one of those shows that you know you and all those who were there will be talking about in many years to come. I hope the younger kids there start their own band and get their voices heard. I hope anyone who felt out of place, felt at home at this show. The way which Ezra and everyone screams, “To them we’ll always be freaks” is so powerful. Everyone felt it, as did I. You could tell that from the first song that this was going to be a truly remarkable show, and you could see on Ezra’s face that he knew immediately too. This beautiful city means a lot to Ezra, and the love and respect is hugely reciprocated.

I could write thousands and thousands on my love for Ezra and about the show last night. If you’ve ever seen his show, you’ll know exactly what I mean and how safe it all feels. Ezra is someone who plays shows with everything he has. He leaves it all on stage. He pours his heart out into these songs; sure, you can hear it on record, but to truly witness this live is something else. Twelve Nudes is the Punk record he always wanted and needed to make. It’s the Punk record I always needed. His cover of The Clash’s Police On My Back (which is also a cover) was beautifully done, and I saw one person on the opposite side of my totally lose his shit to it. It was beautiful. The setlist was perfect. Every single song was played with such passion and fury. Every song made you feel like you belonged and that they were for you.

 

 

The show last night was made up of all ages, races, genders and sexuality. It was a freeing and welcoming atmosphere. Also, the person selling the merch was just the sweetest. I just needed to add that.

Given my own personal circumstances, I can say that this is one of the best shows I have ever EVER been to. If you have the chance to see Ezra, go. Go and sing your heart out with him.

“And if it’s not enough to keep the lights on
Let ’em turn the lights off
Broken spirit and a bad cough
Turn ’em off, turn ’em off
And when you’re really at the end of your rope
No, you don’t take the night off
Too many demons to fight off
Cut me off, cut me off.”

Thank you, Ezra. Thank you.