October 6th, 2016 at Paradise Rock Club
By: Caroline Smith
Having gone to shows the past three nights, I was exhausted when I arrived at the Paradise Rock Club to see Warpaint on October 6th. I normally want to be there right when the doors open to settle in and find a good spot, but I showed up only a few minutes before Facial started.
Despite my exhaustion, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Facial, an LA-based trio whose sound is a mix between punk and metal. Their website is www.fuckfacial.org, and they made sure to stress that if you go to their website, you have to make sure you remember it’s a “.org” site, otherwise you’re going to find “very different content”
Facial was a little more aggressive than what I usually listen to, but I appreciated it, especially the head-banging of the musicians, the sludge metal guitar, and the amount of reverb. At some parts, I found that the sound reminded me a little bit of the slowed-down Chipmunks from that one AV Club article (I mean that in the best way possible– when that article came out I actually, not ironically, listened to the slowed-down “Call Me” for a few days). The other highlight of Facial’s performance for me was their weird post-punk cover of “Mad World”. I never thought I would hear Tears for Fears lyrics being aggressively shouted, but it was a thoroughly good time. They were overall charming guys with good tunes and I enjoyed their set a lot.
Around 10:15 pm, Warpaint came on. Their stage setup was low-key; there were a lot of rugs on stage, which I enjoyed because it gave the performance an almost cozy feel, like a basement show. They opened with “Bees” from their 2010 album, and from the very start I could feel their energy and chemistry blend on stage. There were moments throughout the show where they would fade out the instrumentals, leaving just their voices harmonizing in the darkness. All four members are talented vocalists and musicians, and I enjoyed it even more given that I’ve been a fan since the release of their 2010 album, The Fool. I have a soft spot, an itch even, for bass-heavy music, and Warpaint’s sound matches that perfectly. Each one of the members had a very specific stage presence, but I especially enjoyed watching Theresa Wayman. Occasionally she would take the mic and dance around, singing and interacting with her other members on stage. Emily Kokal, the other main singer, would squat down near the floor and hold the mic, hiding her face in her hair. She also wore one of Facial’s T-shirts, a cute nod that showed friendship between the members of both bands. Song highlights from the set were “Undertow”, especially given the enthusiastic crowd response, “CC”, “Beetles”, and “New Song”. They came out for an encore as well, playing “Intro”, “Keep It Healthy”, and “So Good”. My one complaint was that the encore wasn’t quite as exciting as the final few songs of the actual set. It felt like Warpaint reached their climax too early in the show.
Overall, this was an engrossing and exciting show, and I would definitely see both bands again. Warpaint’s musical talent and stage presence made them absolutely mesmerizing to watch– while I tried to take notes for the first half of the show, I let the music envelope me for the second. Warpaint’s bass-heavy sound and on-stage presence drew me in throughout their performance and kept me there, wrapped in light and sound.