Is the buzz bigger than the band?
It’s a question that comes up from time to time, and the buzz surrounding the “experimental rock” band from L.A. called Warpaint has steadily and rapidly become ever so present. Some might attribute some of that to the band’s attractive looks and playful attitude. Thursday Feb 24ht was a chance to address that question. The band took the stage in Austin @ the Parish opening up for The Akron family, to a crowd eagerly awaiting the arrival of the female outfit in what would be their first performance in Austin since turning heads at CMJ 2009 and landing a recording deal shortly there after with the Rough Trade label.
With a 6 song EP the only recorded material released by the band at this point, the band had plenty of room to spread it’s wings and showcase material that the band might have marked for their full-length debut, reportedly due out sometime in the first half of 2010.
I was definitely curious as to what the band had planned for filling the drummer position, which has been the one spot that has remained fairly fluid with several taking turns on the beats for the constant trio fronting the band. Reports of experimenting with a drum machine, concerned me, but the appearance and performance of Stella Mozgawa served the lineup well. Starting out the set with an all instrumental jam, the band members worked into establishing their talents and instrumental roles on stage. Bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg bouncing up and down while laying down the thick infectious and at times a bit funky, bass lines driving the songs in the appropriate places along with the experience of Mozgawa on drums. Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman sharing the spotlight graciously taking turns adding effectively placing their guitar styles and talents adding to the dynamic of each track. The instrumental lead rolled into the single “Stars” which showcases the band’s talent for image evoking lyrics wrapped in lucid guitar sounds. While the band readily shares vocal responsibilities throughout the set, it becomes clear that guitarist and vocalist Emily Kokal is an undeniable force in the democratic unit. Comfortable with her guitar, which at times sounds influenced by the moody tense style of Disintegration era Cura ala Robert Smith, and vocally resembling another 80′s icon Siouxsie Sioux, Kokal blends sounds and textures within the alternating rhythms that warrant attention.
The band demonstrated it’s versatility with a 4 part vocal harmony on “Billie Holiday” while leading into a live version of “Beetles” that resounded more ominous and darker than it’s recorded version, showcasing Kokal’s influence on the band’s result. The set also featured a new track that hadn’t even be graced a title, along with a lengthy instrumental jam to close out their stage time, featuring members of Akron Family joining on stage for the “jam”. Warpaint spread their wings for sure, and showed the audience that there is more to the quartet than looks and a few catchy songs. They showed us that there is definitely more in store for both the band members and the rapidly growing fan base.
And the answer to the question is…No