Warpaint at Republic

19:30 November 06, 2014

Warpaint made a rare visit to Nola at Republic on October 21, bringing their moody exuberance to a crowd of adoring fans.

Opener Liam Finn, son of Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House), won over the crowd with a space-age Theremin-like device he wielded with the possessed fervor of a tent-revivalist, and ending with a spirited cover of Devo’s Gut Feeling, with Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa on drums (a song she probably became familiar with as Devo’s touring drummer).

Starting the set with the off-kilter keyboards and ethereal vocal lines of “Biggy” from their latest release, simply titled Warpaint, these freakishly talented ladies played a set that bounced back and forth between their two full-length releases, and a few gems from their debut EP.

Somehow Warpaint manage to sound both melancholic and uplifting, and it’s hard to say how. Is it the deft interplay between lead vocalists and guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg’s intricate, driving basslines that meld in lockstep with Stella’s solid drumming, or is it the ensemble as a whole, whose individual parts remain distinctive as they wind and coil around each other, like four snakes with one head?

Highlights included the dream pop of “Undertow,” and one of the scariest disco songs  ever recorded (including one of the oddest usages of cowbell), aptly titled “Disco/Very.”

At one point in the set, Emily told the swooning crowd, as many who visit the Crescent City do, “I want to move here…Seriously.” The fawning fans cheered. We’ll see if she follows through on the threat (as members of the Arcade Fire are rumored to have).

Closing the encore with old favorite “Elephants,” the ladies cut loose with an epic jam that rattled the rafters of the ruggedly polished Republic.  As the women of Warpaint waved good-bye to the sweaty, happy crowd, I had to echo one fan’s screamed request: “Come back soon!”


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