It was a rainy night, and a bit of a drive from Boston, but a friend and I made the adventure to see Warpaint on this otherwise ordinary Monday. The Los Angeles quartet is now a year removed from their latest album, Heads Up, but I hadn’t seen them tour in support of it yet, not since an October 2014 gig at Boston’s Royale, really. But it was enough time that I’d expect the new(er) stuff to be well-rehearsed and as immersive as anything they trot out live.
The show was at the bigger room at Fête Music Hall in Providence, and given the circumstances of the night (Monday, awful weather, B market) I didn’t expect much of a draw, but the room looked respectably filled out. The stage here, by the way, is insanely high, but at least you have a decent view if you get stuck behind a few taller folks.
deafmute was up first. The project of j.franxis, a seeming friend of the band, it was somewhat moody, certainly dancey electronic stuff. It was a fair fit, though definitely leaning way less guitar-based. Warpaint frontperson Emily Kokal came out to join up on vocals during the last song for a little collab session.
Not long after, Warpaint took the stage with a bit of a different setup than I’ve seen them in prior, with their drummer facing stage left and the other three members positioned on the stage in something of a triangle. They launched into “Heads Up,” a bit of a deeper cut and title track from the aforementioned album. They gave a classically adept, playful, and flexible performance, shooting knowing inside joke winks at each other and laughing about without losing any focus on the playing. (They threw in a bit of the Golden Girls theme at one point, even.) They did have a missed cue here or there, laughing it off, but they sounded tight while constantly swaying about and maintaining a sultry presence on-stage.
Admittedly, the band has lost me a bit with each album following the fantastic, deeply evocative 2010 debut The Fool (falling into a bit more of a similarly moody but more ambient groove), but these moments are definitely contrasted well live with more melodic, dynamic moments like “Undertow” and (not so) “New Song.”
The crowd was approving throughout, cheering every song (louder for the singles, of course) and some dancing vigorously without pause. The demographics were definitely pretty mixed, which is less surprising when one considers the band’s recent fare getting some radio airplay. It was cool to see them bringing out some different people for sure, regardless.
Set list (9:40-10:53):
- Heads Up
- So Good
- The Stall
- Love Is to Die
- Keep It Healthy
- New Song