Last Night: Warpaint at The Loft

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The Loft

April 11th, 2011

Better than: finally getting to punch the jerk that yells "Freebird!" at every concert.

Even an hour before Warpaint were slated to perform at The Loft last night, it was already clear: The show was either sold out, or very close to it. Inside and out, the venue was littered with people.

Great for the band, but terrible for those that suffer from claustrophobia.

It was a battle for space all night long: Those who had managed to stand at the front of the stage during the earlier performances staunchly maintained their territory in fear of losing their prime-viewing spot, as more and more people stacked up behind them.

Their excitement was easily understandable: Warpaint's 2010-released debut full-length, The Fool, is a brilliant work of dreamy psychedelic rock, part trance-inducing experiment, part jam-heavy rock fun.

And once they took the stage, seemingly without a fuss, the band made good on their fans' lofty expectations. Stella Mogzawa, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal each proved themselves individually very skilled players during last night's show. But the real key was the strength they showed as a collective force to be reckoned with.

The four women built off of each other the entire night, with vocals highlighted by the slowing drums, or the soft hum of the guitar. They found a nice balance between ethereal rapture-like tunes and more driving, rhythm-influenced pieces meant to keep the audience lively and animated.

"We really love Dallas" Kokal observed at one point. "You guys always take care of us".

And this crowd sure did: At the beginning of "Undertow," the crowd's reaction was phenomenal. Were there enough room, dancing would have surely ensued. Instead, the sardine-packed could barely wiggle. But their enjoyment remained palpable throughout. During songs such as "Beetles" and "Elephants," the floor was very visibly shaking as the crowd tried its best to bounce along.

The band's talents were on full display, too. "Billie Holiday" was the best song of the night, highlighting Warpaint's abilities quite well -- the shifting vocals of Wayman, Kokal, and Lindberg synced up perfectly, making for one very harmonious number.

Other songs off of Warpaint's 2009 EP, Exquisite Corpse, fared well too, benefiting, surely, from their extended development.

After finishing up and a quick thank you, the band returned for the expected encore, ending the night on a jam session that was much faster and louder than anything Warpaint had played the entire night to an overwhelmed crowd.

An amazing experience, to be sure.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: As a fan of both the band's album and EP, I was really looking forward to seeing Warpaint in person.

By the way: Drummer Stella Mogzawa is much more talented than I had realized. That became readily apparent when she briefly switched instruments with Wayman.

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