Warpaint returned to Philadelphia and delivered a stellar performance at Union Transfer for the second time this year. Picking up their fall tour, the Los Angeles female quartet performed for a packed venue on Spring Garden street. It was only fitting they returned to Union Transfer, the site of their previous show. Not only did it give the fans that missed the previous show another chance to see the talented women up close, but the former Spaghetti Warehouse gives the intimacy that a band like Warpaint craves.
Guy Blakeslee opened the show with a soundtrack of rain falling outside, emitting a gothic ambience over the room. He began by looping his stratocaster-driven rhythms over percussion from the small bells dangling on his wrist. He then layered some animated vocals over the rhythms while playing lead guitar. This was Guy’s shtick and there was a “love it or hate it” vibe throughout the crowd during his performance. If you were in the back of the venue, you may have wondered what this man was yelling up on stage over forest sounds while looking like a Lou Reed that forgot his weed. However, near the stage Guy appeared more like a performance actor connecting deeply with the lyrics and twisting his body in unison with the words . He finished by playing a loop on his laptop and performing a song from on top of his small amplifier while shaking the bracelet of bells he wore into the microphone.
Warpaint upped the ante with a tight and sensitive performance filling up the stage. They opened with “Keep it Healthy” and “Feeling Alright”, off of their latest self-titled album. Theresa Wayland and Emily Kokol, the lead singers and guitarists, bring a tenderness to their vocals and guitar play. They really dive head first into the lyrics and connect with the songs. At one point in the night, Theresa apologized after a song for having to deal with her “emotional intensity” while performing one of their more depressing numbers . The crowd shouted back “We love you!” and “You’re hot!” receiving a few laughs that lightened the mood. Clearly, this band isn’t about big guitar solos and spitting into a microphone. The crashing rhythms and dreamy synths really correlate well with the vocals of the four ladies. They transitioned into a few introspective ballads and then brought up the energy again with “Disco//Very” and two slow-build pieces “Burgundy” and “Krimson”. For the encore that night, the quartet then emerged to play “Biggy” and “Elephants” to an appreciative crowd, while thanking the fans again for dealing with their “emotional intensity”.
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