REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

American alt rock girl group Warpaint play sell out Show.

Following the critical acclaim of their second album Warpaint headline a sell out night at London’s Koko.


Originally forming in Los Angeles on Valentine's Day in 2004 Warpaint’s line-up included Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal alongside actress Shannyn Sossamon and Jenny Lee Lindberg, they released their debut Exquisite Corpse EP in 2009, their first album The Fool in 2010 and their second self-titled this year. The current line up is Kokal, Wayman, Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa on drums. The concert, one of the many NME Award Shows has been a sold out event for months and it's already full for the support act All We Are. Opening with an instrumental track, hidden half in darkness due to the minimal and moody lighting they sway and rock gently in and out of the lighting. Alternating vocals between Kokal and Wayman they play tightly and musically recreate their albums live impeccably. The set list is an even balance of new tracks; they open (exactly as Warpaint does) with the instrumental track Intro and follow it with Keep It Healthy and mix it up with songs from The Fool (Bees) and Exquisite Corpse (Elephants).


Much like their critically acclaimed and universally adored album Warpaint, live they are dark, moody and muddied. Despite the atmospherics and commitment to being uber cool there felt like there was something missing the slow paced, psych rock rhythms left little room for finding a groove and left the audience merely nodding their heads in appreciation rather than in an excited frenzy. Highlights were the rockier and layered Undertow, a track that started life as a cover of Nirvana's Polly and still retains the "hurt yourself" lyric and Billie Holliday, which contains lyrics from the Mary Wells/Smokey Robinson Motown classic My Guy. By using elements of other well known songs a crack in their aloofness appears and through this you start to feel like you can get under the sheen and get inside the songs. Interaction with the sold out crowd was minimal, only speaking to say Koko was “such a nice place” and introducing Billie Holiday as a “sweet little song”. Cool, precise, beautiful but emotionally detached and cold, Warpaint live is accomplished and sounds amazing but at times feels like there is little to connect with.