Los Angeles art pop band, Warpaint, made their return to Toronto last week with a stop at The Opera House. The show marked their first time here in a headlining slot since their 2016 visit, and was in support of their fantastic new album Radiate Like This (released earlier this year).
Opening the show was Belief, the collaborative electronic side project of Boom Bip & Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa. The duo were content to hang back in the middle of the dark, hazy stage and let the music hang out there for everyone to decide whether to groove along. Given Warpaint is known for notching up the percussion in their live shows, the thumping electronic set proved to be a good lead-in.
It’s a shame that some of this energy was lost when Warpaint hit the stage, only to have to stop shortly into it for a sound issue (time lost that likely was the reason for the cutting of a couple of songs from their encore). Despite the issue, the band kept things light for the crowd, not letting the situation get to them. After a few minutes, the show was back on and the quartet kicked things off with “Stars” from their debut EP Exquisite Corpse. The song was followed by “Champion” which kicked things up a notch, with the drums and bass shining through to truly bring the song to life.
From there, the band kept things mostly upbeat, with highlights being “Intro/Keep it Healthy”, “Love is to Die”, “Krimson”, “Stevie” & “Disco/Very” which closed out the set. However, where Warpaint shines is in their ability to juggle the upbeat percussive sounds with beautiful, dreamy ambient sounds and vocals. The real highlight of the night was when all four members gathered centre stage to perform a beautiful, stripped down version of “Melting.” (Note: I, personally, had been playing the song quite a bit lately, and to hear that version is definitely something I’ll remember).
It’s a shame that the sound issues delayed things, as “Today Dear” and “Elephants” were supposed to be in the encore, and were cut due to an 11pm end time. However, they did manage to squeeze in a cover of Fugazi’s “Im So Tired” and Radiate Like This closer “Send Nudes,” finishing off another memorable Warpaint show for those that attended.
Their short east coast string of dates is done, but if you’re on the west coast, they’ll be playing some dates in California, Seattle & Vancouver later this month. Go see them; it’ll be worth it.