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.

2:54: Manchester/London February 2015

 

 

Seeing a band you adore live is a great feeling. Sometimes, well for the most part, it seems to be a sort of release and a purely cathartic experience. That’s what music should be about and when you see it performed in front of you it becomes heightened and more important.

2:54 have just finished a 3 day tour in the UK. I did 2 out of 3 dates and I won’t lie, I wish I did all 3. If you’ve seen them live you will know how addictive it can be. You leave wishing to be in that moment solidly for the rest of time. You want to tell the words back to Sugar. You want to lose yourself during No Better Prize. You air drum along to Creeping. These moments become you. Don’t part from them.

Manchester was the first show. There is something really special about seeing bands in Manchester. The venue was idyllic and the crowd were a beautiful lot. Manchester crowds aren’t afraid to move. The last time I saw 2:54 was a month or so before when they did a secret show at the Shacklewell Arms to about 50 people. This show however, was dark and loud. Euphoric filled moments. Alex’s intense drumming. Rich’s brutal bass playing. Hannah’s inspiring guitar playing. Colette’s delicate but powerful voice. You will not find a better constructed band. With no need to talk in between songs, this band have gorgeous stage presence. In short, they make you want to start a band.

Last night they played historic Camden venue, Dingwalls. This show had a real Punk vibe about it. You can find this if you look hard enough. Colette said there was a strong Punk feel to the show last night, and she wasn’t wrong. Bodies were moving in time and some off beat. The music was rightfully being felt in all the right places.

I’ve loved them since I heard Creeping a few years ago. If I could find the word to describe how it made me feel and how it hit me, I would. It all comes to life when you see them live.
A strong sense of pride. The band I adore are nothing short of excellent and are making the kind of music that really moves you.

I interviewed Colette and Hannah in Manchester( I will type it up soon) and it felt like I was talking to two friends. Their bond is so pure and lovely to witness. You know how some people can communicate without saying a word? That’s them. I don’t think any other band has a bond as strong as that. Quite simply, the sisters are the most gracious and kind individuals I’ve met in a long time. Their music may be heavy and intense but personality wise they are just wonderful people. If you go see them, talk to them afterwards. Tell them I sent you!

And now it is all over. America is getting them next. Is it too late to have a Kickstarter page to find me to go out there? I’m too much of a wuss to get on a plane for 8 hours anyway!
Their on stage presence just makes you want to start a band. I think I spent most of the time staring at Alex and being in awe of how great a drummer he is. He makes you want to do exactly what he does. He truly is phenomenal and I hope if anyone ever made a list of the best drummers around he would be the top choice. But please know that during each song, all band members truly do shine but during some songs you take notice of a certain band member. No Better Prize sees you staring at awe at Hannah’s guitar skills. This song is a real intimate part of the show- it’s just Hannah and Colette on stage playing this. They perform it with such power, you don’t realise that there are other people in the room. Sure Hannah nails it during the end of Scarlet, but there is something extremely fragile and poignant about this song and how they do it live.Speaking of Scarlet, that’s the one where you really focus on Rich and how great a bass player he is. He moves furiously and plays with such purpose, making you wish you could play like that. Scarlet is the song that everyone goes nuts to, and I reckon it’s the bass that sets us all off. How could it not?! Blindfold is a personal song, whoever you are you will feel this song. You’ll see yourself in it and for this reason and how Colette sings it makes it her moment. Of course she’s got a brilliant voice, but there is really something about Blindfold that really makes you connect with the song. That’s the job of the singer, and she does it perfectly. Colette’s voice reminds me of singers I love such as Shirley Manson and Patti Smith. She can sound so delicate in one song but can flip to being dominant. Regardless, you pay attention and you listen. Alex Robins. Where do you begin on his drumming. After much thought I think I’ll go with Creeping. Inititally I was going with Crest because it’s so brutal and is one of the louder tracks on the record. But, I’ll stick with Creeping. He smacks the cymbal like a wave crashing crumbling and faded rocks. His drumming on Creeping sends the song swirling all around you and no part of you feels like you are where you are. Put all of these factors together from each of them, and you truly do have, hand on heart, the perfect/ideal band.

When I listen to 2:54, I just want to sit and write about what their music does and it all it stirrs inside of you. When I see them live I wish to cast real life aside and do something other than what I have to do every day. There is truly something special about them and I feel for anyone who has yet to see it, or who has yet to listen to them or has disregarded them. They’re easy to write about because they are just everything I love about music and why I probably won’t be satisfied until I’ve made some kind of career out of writing about music. 9-5 doesn’t sit well with me, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t adapt to routine.

Music should do something to you that a person can’t. It should take you to a place that no mode of transport can drag you too. It’s a wave of emotions and moments of realisation. If you’re feeling lost, go to a gig. Go to a record store. Go into the unknown and be transported towards something else. Something you have probably been looking for. I recommend you start with 2:54. Listen to them on the move, in your room. Go to their shows and allow yourself to feel something so gloriously sacred.
 

*Note: This was written at 9 this morning on the train to work in about 20 minutes, 2:54 make it so easy to write about music and all it means to a person.