The L.A. quartet visited our shores for the second time this year bringing with them their own brand of floaty, splendorous atmospheric rock. Following the great response they received at the inaugural Laneway Festival earlier in January, it was clear that Singapore was hungry for more. Punters crowded in eager anticipation at Powerhouse at St James Powerstation with a queue forming at the entrance.
The girls did not disappoint, producing a massive sound one would not expect from four seemingly harmless-looking, petite lasses. It felt like they had just stepped out of a jamming session in an underground basement, delivering exactly what one loves best about them – an honest, raw, unpretentious sound that packed pure power.
They began the set with “Jubilee”, a new single that channelled shoegaze goodness, and progressed to “Warpaint”, much to the pleasure of the crowd. By the time they got to “Undertow”, they had managed to transport everyone to an alternate universe with their castaway reverberation and riffage.
Towards the end of their set, several voices in the crowd chanted, “Billie Holiday!” and vocalist Emily Kokal responded with a “did someone say Billie Holiday?” The band launched into the song with an intro jam followed by the haunting vocal harmonies of Kokal, guitarist Theresa Wayman and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg.
The girls announced their last song, “Elephants” but cheekily added, “we might come out and play an encore if you asked for it!”, provoking more chants from the crowd. The band then emerged again to close with “Baby” and “Beetles”.
Throughout the set, I couldn’t help but notice the patch of duct tape on guitarist Theresa Wayman’s red Fender Mustang, something that’s been spotted on her guitar frequently. It seemed to symbolize why Warpaint constantly deliver head-turning live performances. The unpolished dirty sound of Wayman’s guitar, Kokal’s untrained vocals, Lindberg and Mozgawa’s overwhelming bass and complex drum rhythms make more of a statement than anything. It’s certain that the band is destined for great things.
One can only wait to see how they mature and grow in their sound, hopefully on a larger stage and venue in Singapore next time.
Photo Credits: Aloysius Lim c/o Chugg Entertainment
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