Warpaint @ Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, 23 Oct

Live Review by Katie Hawthorne | 01 Nov 2016

Although huge billboards in Los Angeles raise their silhouettes across their home town's skyline, Warpaint's third album Heads Up has caused some friction. It's divided long-serving listeners and attracted unusually commercial radio play for Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa. The LA four-piece are holy ground for their many disciples, and just as their 2014 self-titled record marked a determined evolution from their hallowed debut, so too does this 2016 incarnation of the band. 

Even so, there's none of that concern in the Queen's Hall. The show's been sold out for a month at least, and Edinburgh's gig-goers are thrilled not to be bound by Glasgow's last train home. After a glittering, funk-heavy support from Aldous RH, the Hall pushes to the front. Fans hang over the balcony, cameras ready, and when the four walk on stage with little ceremony, jumping straight into Heads Up's title track, they are welcomed with adoration. The set nears 90 minutes, and it spans their history almost without exception: a woman shouts, “Fuuuck!” when the band break into early cut Beetles, and the audience on the balcony are up on their feet, hands in the air mimicking Kokal's dance moves as the opening bars of Undertow seep through.

Tonight Warpaint aren't quite as tight as they can be, fidgeting with sound levels and misplacing drumsticks. They've always been an impeccable jam band, though, and they follow the tide – Lindberg bounces around the stage, playing up against the rest of her bandmates to recalibrate their rhythm – or just to share a grin. Wayman and Kokal share front duties, as usual, and the band's effortless, eerie harmonies are as divine as ever. The Stall, from Heads Up, is a whirring, mesmerising carousel ride, and Love is to Die is a total triumph. New Song – their recent, controversially straightforward single – sees the audience surge.

After a rafter-shaking demand for an encore, Keep It Healthy showcases drummer Mozgawa's ridiculous ability, So Good – another new one – feels right at home, and favoured closer Krimson, from 2010, proves that, actually, these 'new' songs are easily traced back to the band's roots. As always, Warpaint play with total conviction: they've got faith in where they're headed, and on this Sunday night they don't leave a single soul behind.