At the Observatory North Park, we caught the surrealistic indie-rock stylings of Warpaint on tour for the release of their new album, Heads Up.
Over the course of their career, Warpaint have seen their sound evolve from the visceral rock instrumentation of their early releases to the lush, spacious, landscapes being cultivated on their most recent release. The nuances of their increasingly ambient songwriting translates well to a live setting. The women of Warpaint are subdued performers, but not to a fault.
Where they displayed restraint, they also showed deliberance. Their performance, for all its spacial liberties, felt remarkably tight and at ease. Vocalist Emily Kokal was often dancing along near the edge of the stage in what felt like an understated evocation of the vulnerability so markedly present within their music.
Fan-favorite Jenny Lee Lindberg remained a fixture looming in the seemingly cosmic pastiche germinating onstage. She would occasionally step down from her platform to co-mingle with her bandmates, her bass lines a sartorial gown tying the songs together.
Warpaint’s ability to seamlessly segue from the upbeat theatrics of songs like “Disco//very” to the intimate soul-searching of songs like “Hi” created an immersive experience. In the pale fog of their atmospheric performance, their silhouettes could be seen gyrating with the subtleties of their rhythmic time changes. Shifting from rhythmic syncopation to pulsing, dance oriented grooves, the crowd nodded along, enthralled and entranced, fixated on the spectral performance.
Where many artists struggle to find the balance between performative interpretation and outright over-indulgence, Warpaint reaches out to their audience, extending a hand , daring them to look inward.