Warpaint, The Garden at O2 ABC Glasgow, 24/3/15 

You think you’ve seen it all; you go to gigs on a regular basis, have done so since what seems the beginning of time and it has all became something of a ritual, however, most unfortunately it feels from time to time all too ritualistic as you witness a similar chain of events whether you’re in The Hydro or in the comfort of Admiral’s small basement.

Then, just every so often you are reminded it isn’t always this way and you can still be genuinely surprised from time to time; now is such a time.

Calling The Garden a bass and drum duo would only begin to describe California’s wacko twins, Fletcher and Wyatt Shears enjoy a generous sludge of stage time for a support slot.

Cymbal heavy snarly rhythms are accompanied by broody, Jack White stylee virtuoso riffing with ‘songs’ ranging from 25-seconds to touching three-minutes.

At times some, in a remarkably respectful Glasgow audience, look at each other as if they have just entered the wrong room or joined the circus.

Irrespective of the actual content of the set, the night is memorable for reaction to each sudden jut of direction in the performance; from overblown mime movements to buzz punk inflections through to something approaching a bizarre hip hop show, what the hell?

The brothers seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves as they bamboozle a crowd awaiting an all girl group, which couldn’t be further removed from The Garden and all their eccentricities and songs about apples.

At one stage Fletcher Shears disembarks from his drum kit, disregarding all drummer textbook rules and engages in a rap off with his sibling.

Did I like those crazy twins and the seven different brands of whatever, I still don’t know, but do I want more? Definitely.

Warpaint’s set opens to a relatively low-key ponderous start as the band attempt to convey the slightly gloomy ambience of their style, in a Bunnymen-ish manner.

It seems the liveliest people, at the start of the set, are those jostling to get another lukewarm Danish pint at the bar.

Crowd interaction is kept to a bare minimum as the free-flowing lingering instrumentals replace any kind of crowd chat, keeping the almost eerie tone of the gig alive.

The audience excitement picks up as the set gets in full swing: older favourites like ‘Composure’ and ‘Undertow’ are performed in a dazzling fashion.

Although the sound throughout the set is aesthetically pleasing, the drive of the band definitely comes from drummer Stella Mozgawa – a predominant force who drives the intensity forward.

Despite the obvious jam like quality of the rest of the band, with even the slower more indulgent numbers played by the girls rough, or at least rougher than they do on record, they’re not messy or chaotic, this is one of the tightest sets you’re likely to witness, with each member exhibiting a keen focus to the material – you might say they are in the zone.

Melodic yet aggressive, ‘Love Is To Die’ – a song I don’t care for much as it veers too far in the pop direction – is played subtly yet critically different than on the album, with sharper edge and a faster tempo, so much so that it is a highlight.

Another peak is the live debut of the beautifully chilled out ‘Teese’, one of the stand out tracks of last years self titled LP.

A couple of years ago Warpaint could have been written off as just another all girl band far too polished for there own good, but following up The Fool with an album of consistent quality and putting on a live show of this ilk should help set them apart.

More Photos

Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Beth Chalmers


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