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Sunday 15 May 2022

Warpaint At The Albert Hall, Manchester And A Half Hour Mix

The Albert Hall has become Manchester's best gig venue in recent years. Holding 1800 people in a second floor former Wesleyan Chapel (Grade 2 listed), hidden and forgotten about for forty years, it's now the perfect venue for bands- the stained glass windows above the balcony are stunning, especially at that ideal time in the spring and summer when the sun sets just as bands take the stage and the natural light and stage light play against each other. The stage is compact with the old organ pipes visible behind it. It's big on atmosphere and intimate feeling and can conjure up some real magic.

Warpaint played there on Thursday night, a band I've been meaning to see live for years and for some reason never managed until now. They're touring to promote a new album, Radiate Like This, a record I've not really heard in full yet but one which has a poppier, lighter tone than some of their previous albums. The four members arrive on stage just after 9pm and play a mixture of songs from the new album along with older ones- they kick off with Stars from 2009 mini- album debut Exquisite Corpse and follow it with new one Champion. The rhythm section of bassist Jenny Lee and drummer Stella are locked in, the sound is great, guitars clear and bright over the post- punk/ dubby rhythms. The bass is pleasingly loud, felt as well as heard. Jenny often moves to the centre of the stage when starting a song, face to face with guitarist/ singer Emily, eyes locked into each others. Seven songs in they play Love Is To Die, the moment when everything really takes off, slow burning and intense, the song's heavy churn and sweet harmonies really hitting the mark. A little later the four of them come to the front of stage and sing Melting a capella (except for some delicate finger picked guitar from Emily), a sweet moment of calm. Stevie from the new album and Bees follow and then New Song from 2016's Heads Up, a powerful, filled out version of the song, with Emily dancing at the mic, and then they finish with one of their best songs, Disco// Very, a tense, dark and menacing, going off like a slow firework. 'I make room for everyone', Emily sings, 'I make room for everyone/ I... need... to... take... a break!' 

The encore gives us Elephants, the song that was the stand out on their debut, thumping drums, squealing guitars, propulsive bassline and threats to 'break your heart'. Beetles, equally old, is next before the final song, a slighter and more delicate song from the new album, Send Nudes. The very mixed age crowd- everyone from sixteen year girls to sixty year old men with thirty- somethings well represented- are happy, everyone's had a good time and Warpaint seem genuinely excited by the reception they received. They're a powerful live band, the songs bursting to life on stage, the four women equally adept at atmospherics, dreamy, stoned Californian post- punk with Mamas and Papas vocals, and hypnotic 21st century dance- rock too. 

Today's half hour mix is a Warpaint compilation with a Jennylee solo song thrown in (Never from her 2015 album Right On!). There's a lovely cosmic Richard Norris remix of Disco// Very, the version of Undertow from the re- released version of The Fool (from last year's Record Store Day, the Weatherall mixes of the album that were shelved at the time of the album's original release), No Way Out- a standalone 7" single in 2016 and one of their best songs for me and three of their killer songs- Elephants, Keep It Healthy and Love Is To Die, all played at the Albert Hall on Thursday night. 

Thirty Minutes Of Warpaint

  • Disco// Very (Time And Space Machine Remix)
  • No Way Out (Redux)
  • Undertow (Andrew Weatherall Mix )
  • Elephants
  • Never
  • Love Is To Die
  • Keep It Healthy


Walter said...

Great review of a concert I wished I could be a part of. Warpaint is another band that was highly underrated and this was shown by your superb 30 minutes selection. Thank you for this, Adam

Anonymous said...

Excellent choices, thanks