Wednesday February 19
Sanctimonious music snobs like me will rage that good music has the power to evoke incandescent sensations. Warpaint’s sound, indebted to the astral majesty of shoegazers Slowdive, krautrock rhythm junkies Can, and crowned by hauntingly gothic vocals, does just that: conjuring deep, swirling lagoons underneath tumultuous purple skies. Tonight, the atmosphere in the O2 crackles with sultry, snakebite infused shenanigans. Elitist chin strokers have congregated to praise this remarkable band that, two albums in, have already woven an intense body of material that adorns the soul with liquid nitrogen chords, dextrous drumming and, the highlight of tonight’s triumphant performance, Jenny Lee Lindberg’s brawling bass lines.
The evening starts with support from All We Are, a piquant three piece whose Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac male-female vocal ballet fits perfectly with the art rock canvas they are developing. Most support bands today can be filed under ‘competent, yet unremarkable’, but All We Are have the potential to carve their own inimitable sound. Guitarist Luis Santos audaciously recalls Jimmy Page by taking to his guitar with a violin bow during their final song.
Then they melt away, giving way to their “heroes”, who create ominous plumes of Pollock like squall with every delicate breath. ‘Bees’ is successfully translated from record to stage with all its creeping menace intact; ‘Composure’ is beautifully fragile; ‘Undertow’, which earns the biggest cheer of the night, is mesmeric; and ‘Love is to Die’ is simply towering. An enraptured crowd sways reverentially throughout, to the sound of a band fully conversant with their instruments.