Warpaint radiated into DC in the form of a monumental presentation of psychedelic and art rock at the still fresh, and quite full, Capital Turnaround on July 22nd.
Warpaint is touring for their fourth studio album, 2022’s Radiate Like This (via Heirlooms and Virgin Records). If you didn’t witness their stellar live show yet on this tour, you have failed. Immeasurably. I highly recommend listening to Radiate as often as you can handle, but it’s the live versions that will give you the most joy. The sound of their show was phenomenal.
They kick started their 16-song set with “Stars”, that ripped off any inhibitions that the simmering crowd might have been harboring. The song is elegantly somber, and had a enough temerity to provide a long interlude of guitar jams. The crowd had been previously warmed up surprisingly nicely by the opening act, Belief, a very EDM-esque project by Warpaint’s drummer and keyboardist, Stella Mozgawa, along with producer Boom Bip (Bryan Charles Hollon).
Next Warpaint went with a catchy little foot-tapper called “Champion” from the new album. It speaks to striving for excellence for yourself and others, and the ending is another fuzzed out, epic jam. The Capital Turnaround music congregation was fully on board with what the band was dealing at this point, eager to get lost in wave after wave of musical manna.
From Los Angeles, Warpaint formed in 2004, and is Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (vocals, guitar), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals), and Stella Mozgawa (drums).
Later came “Hard to Tell You”, another new song (of the six they played from Radiate Like This), that’s a slow, graceful plea about admitting to mistakes that almost led to the break-up of the band, and wanting a way to come together again. Emily sang to the rafters on this one, breaking everyone’s heart within ear shot.
“Love Is to Die” saw Theresa take over on vocals, which she did for a few more songs later as well. “Love” was one of four songs they played from their 2014 self-titled album, and is probably their most popular song (on Spotify at least).
But it was the harmonious “Melting” that may have proved to be the best song of the night. Stella left her perch behind the drums, and the entire band joined together stage-left, to harmonize about going all in on a romantic relationship. The lyrics also give life to the name of the album, with ‘The only way out from this cold unknowing, is to radiate like this, ‘Cause you know my ways now, and you’re making fire in our house.’
The penultimate song in the main set was the upbeat “New Song”, about the rightness and joy of ‘dancing to a new song’ aka new love. There were two open squares at the back of Capital Turnaround, like mini dance floors, one on each side. A few people maximized these spaces through the joy of dance, becoming especially zealous during “New Song”. If faces could double as a concert review, then Warpaint’s set could be described as ecstatic.
They returned for a three song encore, starting with a cover of Fugazi’s “I’m So Tired”.. Then they went with a one-two combo of old and new, finishing with “Beetles” and “Send Nudes”. “Beetles” was among three songs they played from their first EP, 2010’s Exquisite Corpse. As the final chords of “Send Nudes” faded, a very satisfied coterie of people took their leave, all hoping (presumably) the wait isn’t going to be too long for another Warpaint show in DC .
- Keep It Healthy
- Hard to Tell You
- Love Is to Die
- New Song
- I Am So Tired (Fugazi cover)
- Send Nudes