Live: Warpaint in Hamburg (DE), 26.02.2014

‘You should definitely see Warpaint if you ever get a chance to. They are spreading such an unique mood during their performances.’ Things like these I was told many times by variuos people. But well, not just acquaintances of mine were so charmed by them, also they were pretty much hyped by the press from the beginning on since their first EP, Exquisite Corpse, was mixed by John Frusciante, the ex-boyfriend of one of the girls. AND the original drummer of them was the quite famous actress Shannyn Sossamon, the sister of the still current bass player in Warpaint, Jenny Lee Lindberg. So not just their music, also their personal lives and the band history were quite in focus of everyone’s attention since the day they were founded.

So there I was on a Wendsday evening on my way to Grünspan in Hamburg to see them, the glorious Warpaint. Arriving at the venue I was just right on time to see one lucky guy buying a ticket on the street to their sold-out show. His excitment about this was so huge that he just couldn’t stop thanking the girl who sold it to him. Considering the specific type of cigarette he was holding in his hand, his way of acting became more comprehensible but surely it was mostly because of Warpaint. I strongly believe so.

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The threepiece from Liverpool were a quite good starter for the evening.

The support act of the evening was ‘All We Are’, a folk-indie band from Liverpool. I hadn’t checked them out before because I expected to see and to hear just one of these stereotypical indie bands who dress and sound all the same but well I was surprisingly proven wrong afterwards. Their sound was quite groovy, 80s type of groovyness. The voice of the drummer, who was also the second singer next to the bass player in the band, totally reminded me of Prince. Most of their songs were quite danceble, the quiet ones were pretty enjoyable too. Also they seemed to be a quite down to earth band with no stupid attitudes in the way they looked like or performed. Warpaint seemed also to be pretty fond of them and appeared on the balcony to watch them play.
The moment before Warpaint then finally appeared on stage everyone around me got quite excited. The guy next to me had come from Denmark just to see them play that night. Also I heard at least three people talking Russian around me, so who knows how many people traveled many kilometers just to see them perform. (Oh me, the spoiled new-Hamburger, who needed just 15 minutes by subway.) And then it happened: they appeared on stage. Just as charming as imagined and babe-ish as hell.

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In the background: the projection of the cover of their latest record ‘Warpaint’.

Their set was a quite good mixture between new and old songs. I have to admit that I like their recent record a lot but still ‘The Fool’ remains my personally prefered LP of theirs. Though I was really looking forward to hearing ‘Hi’ and ‘Disco/Very’, which are my favourites from their recent self-titled work ‘Warpaint’. ‘Disco/Very’ was also the most danceable song of the night and the last one they played before the encore. My personal highlight of the evening was when the singer, Emily Kokal, appeared alone on the stage to play ‘Baby’. One of the most beautiful songs ever written and one of my personal favorites from their first LP.

Warpaint are not just great performers but also a looker on stage.
Warpaint are not just great performers but also a looker on stage.

After seeing them play for the first three to four minutes I could totally comprehend why everyone is so in love with their performing art. They are quite unique in the way they act on stage. They have their own personal attitude, no gestures that seem to be well-studied just for the show. Everything they do seems to come spontaneously as a reaction to the sound of their music, which is full of dreamy features and strong basslines that are, I guess, one of the keys to their success. They seemed to get lost in their own music, grooving to their own sounds and voices. Damn, the bass player has put the cutest dance moves on stage I have seen in a long time. Watching them I was thinking of forest fairies the whole time. The stage light and fog, the way they moved feeling every beat, the angel-like voice of Emily and the fact that they didn’t actually talk so much during the show made the whole atmosphere quite fairy-like. Just the wind machines that would make their hair fly around like in their video to ‘Elephants’ were missing. Surely the girls would have appreciated it a lot if it had been this way since it was hot like a sauna during the whole concert.

The bass player Jenny Lee Lindberg. A great dancer & a ful-time babe.
The bass player Jenny Lee Lindberg. A great dancer & a full-time babe.

One of the rare comments they made towards the audience was ‘Damn you are so good-looking’ and one of the other girls added ‘Aww’. Quite lame, yes, so no wonder no one responded to their statement. When they left the stage for the first time it was clear that they would come back – how could they be gone without playing their mega tune ‘Elephants’, which was also the last one of their set. They played it longer, jamming to make a good ending of an even better set but then they left the stage. Now for the last time.

I definitely don’t regret seeing them though they are not one of my favourite bands and also not quite cheap but well, it was worth it after all because of the great atmosphere they created during their performance. Yes, everything I was told proved to be true.

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