Warpaint gave us a long wait between records, with over three years passing since 2010’s ‘The Fool’ established their grungy grandeur. They also gave a shorter wait to the Leeds crowd, rescheduling the evenings show from October last year to a grey February night instead. But a wait can come with good reason as both the release of their self-titled second studio album ‘Warpaint’ in January and this performance proved with confidence. It is a full bodied record that was recognised in a show that the patient could truly sink their teeth into.
‘Intro’ and ‘Keep it Healthy’ opened the set, as they do the album, with a fullness of force. Backdropped by the eponymous album’s artwork, the four female figures moved with the changing colours and contours as with the moods of each song. Their acute awareness of vision for their album gave a satisfying completeness to the set; starting with an elegant pair of songs that danced green and blue and building to the anthemic, sing-a-long crescendo of ‘Love is to Die’. Between these bookends, an excited audience encountered the soft lulls and electric highs of older tracks, including the contained volatility of ‘Undertow’ that blossomed into the group huddled around the drums, framed by strobes. Things turned yellow following this, as the show grew with an orange hue that accompanied the maraca led baseline of ‘Biggy’, which brought around the evening’s definite highlight. This was closely followed by the white light framed cover of ‘My Guy’ - a stripped back harmonic victory.
The neatness of the set was slightly compromised by three overlong encores that followed. The returning performances were still of a highly capable and synchronized standard, yet lacked the completeness of the rest of the set. The finality of the main shows closer ‘Love is to Die’, left the audience reeling with the lyrics “why don’t you dance and dance” which at this point we were still doing. With their growing notoriety, Warpaint are also playing larger venues now, which hampered slightly the growling intimacy of their show at times allowing the atmosphere to grow stale in such a large space. Yet despite indulgences, the evening, on reflection, was triumphant. Warpaint employ a palette when performing, meticulously balancing the shades of their stern musical sincerity with a fresh and engaging showmanship.
Words: Jenny Wright & Lily Dessau