Warpaint has been one of my favorite bands for quite a while now, despite the fact that I only have five proper songs by them, the ones on their Exquisite Corpse EP from last year. In fact, there tune Billie Holiday was a close contender for song of the year in my opinion. They played a one-off gig last night with Zola Jesus, both in the midst of a supporting tour for the xx, at the Holocene here in Portland, OR. I arrived just in time to see the last song of the ZJ set, who bounced and lolled her wispy frame—draped in sheets of fabric and apparently glowing—around the stage in what appeared to be a slow-motion fit of hysteria, so I’m not sure what I missed there. It could have been either captivating of grotesquerie. The room was packed, but as is de rigueur the room cleared out post set so that everyone could get their smoke on. Grabbing a beer, I headed up to the front of the stage, which is the only place to see a rock show, unless you have the option of sitting outside in a lawn chair with an unobstructed view of the stage, on a beautiful crisp summer’s evening. I’m just saying that there’s always an exception, especially when you start to get old.
Warpaint began with Set Your Arms Down, a song that starts out with slow down-tempo atmospherics, but steadily progresses into a pretty heavy jam. From there on it was all over, and what I mean is I can barely remember anything about the set, except that it was entirely awesome, every song was killer, and well played. All the ladies in this band seemed like they could just play solid rock in true command of their instruments. Below, I’ve included the set list with links to a video for each song if there was a decent quality recording available. For the best representation of how incredible this band is onstage, check the last, live video for elephants. And, if you can catch them any time in the next year, you should jump at the chance, because these ladies are going to blow up for sure. They’re already on that trajectory. Their album The Fool is due to be released next month, Oct. 25th.
Set List, with links to version of the songs when available:
• Set Your Arms Down
• Burgundy (passable concert footage)
• Elephants or Official Video (but the live version kills it!)
Usually when I go out to see a gig I can hardly walk on my own, but lately I’ve given up on drinking for a couple of reason, and so I ventured out this past Sunday to see Indian Jewelry at the Holocene in Portland, OR in single-vision bliss. The only real downside to this is that there was only one Erika Thrasher instead of two (or three!) However, their stage show generally remedy’s the deficit with its chaotic strobe light madness, and brilliant pummeling bass lines. The last time I checked them was in Atlanta at the Eyedrum, where they were admittedly way the eff further out, but on the other hand, the crowd at that show weren’t a gaggle of art school fashionistas with actual turkey feathers up their ass. I like double entendres, and the Holocene picked a good one–I generally can’t stand the people it draws, it’s such a hollow scene (ha ha!) Basically, it was me and two other girls up front loosing our minds or something, while just about everybody else sulked or posed. People should stay home and sulk. Or at least stay in the bar area. Maybe I’m just not arty enough? I spend most of my free time staring at my tomato plants or ranting about scenes, so that could be the case.
Indian Jewelry is a noise band from Houston, TX, that’s been around for quite a while now. I personally don’t think ‘noise band’ is an apt description; post-apocalyptic pop band is better. They’re kind of like The Velvet Underground, Spaceman 3, and Iggy Pop all wrapped into one package, and they outshine their noise band contemporaries because their songs have real substance, like hooks and melodies. The core members are Erika Thrasher and Tex Kerschen, around which an endless roster of musicians orbit, sometimes changing as often as tour date to tour date as they travel from city to city. Being prone to such mutability, it’s always a surprise what you’re in for at one of their shows, and a good reason to never miss them when they come to your town. On the off-chance that you like the song in the video below, it can be found on their album Invasive Exotics, which is all killer. Going South is for my money their best track. They have many, but I owe this tune a special debt of gratitude for helping me push across that dense, humid, sludgy/swampy wasteland in the eastern part of North Carolina last summer when I rode my bike across is. I guess technically I was headed east, but that’s neither here nor there. When this song is pumping full blast into your head, you won’t know or care where you are.
This video is from a show they played a while back in an abandoned mansion somewhere. Make sure that your computer speakers are turned up all the way. Also, don’t play this if you are prone to epileptic seizures (not joking.)