Friday, 29 October 2010

Warpaint, Fiction and 2:54 at Scala - 28 October 2010

Warpaint by Chromwaves

There’s a three line whip out.

I last saw Warpaint about six weeks ago at CAMP Basement and was totally blown away. So I’ve helped to dragoon a large posse of mates to witness the splendour.

First we negotiate the support acts. 2:54 stand in a line across the stage and look the business. Singer Colette Thurlow has cheek bones up here somewhere and sister Hannah looks cool and dangerous on her left. There are two guys in the band, but suffer the fate of all guys in all femme-fronted bands. Theirs is a lot of thankless anonymity.

What 2:54 serve up I really enjoy, even if I can’t say that they are anything other than a band that sounds like any number of others that are currently mining that seam marked ‘California Desert with a bit of spooky reverb’. Or chill wave or something.

So what we get is breathy, dispassionate pop that references the Phil Spector Wall of Sound in much the same way that the Jesus and Mary Chain do. While JAMC bought distortion and noise, 2:54 and their ilk strip everything down to a glacial ghost, devoid of feeling.

I sound like I’m damning them with faint praise, but I’m impressed with 2:54. I just wish I could engage with them at some emotional level beyond simply acknowledging a job well done.

They are followed by Fiction, a hotly tipped new band from London. And if they played any of their current repertoire before the world at large had embraced Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.

This is not to say that Fiction are not pretty damn impressive. They are accomplished, jolly and get the party started. It’s just that everything they play reminds you of something else, often quite specifically.

It’s urban afro-beats all the way, and falsetto vocals from singer James Howard. The band completely divides the group that I am with, half are very disgruntled and half are happy to go with the flow. I’m in the latter camp. I think Fiction are good and I’d be happy to see them again. Fact.

Warpaint can do no wrong at present. The live shows are getting great word of mouth and everyone seems to love new album ‘The Fool’ too.

You are not going to get a contrary view here.

Tonight, Warpaint are absolutely bang on the money and the only regret is that it is unlikely that I’ll get to see them in a venue of this relatively intimate size anytime soon. And that they play a good twenty minutes past curfew, which explains the number of people clumping me on the shoulder and yelling “They’re great, but I gotta go!”

The band are as tight as a drum and utterly focussed. Many tracks are structured to run into each other, which causes difficulty for the crowd, who want to whoop, holler and stomp their appreciation, but cannot find a suitable entry point.

It’s a pretty much flawless show, which encompasses not only material from the current album and previous EPs, but also new material.

The last time I saw this band, I thought that they might be the best thing that I’ve seen this year. Now I’m sure of it.

1 comment:

Godlike Genius said...

Yes, they were really really excellent. So good in fact that when I got home I ordered the CD off of Amazon (along with the EP!). And I did stay for the encore, which was tremendous too!