Live Review: warpaint, james supercave

may 3 • wild buffalo

It’s always special when a bigger band routes through Bellingham on a Friday or Saturday night, and Warpaint’s show had all the makings for a great one.
First up was James Supercave (I wish touring bands had a local opener more often). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the set, but Craig Jewell, one of the owners of the Buffalo, said it was fantastic, so that’s good enough for me.
Hailing from Los Angeles (two members are originally from Eugene, Oregon), Warpaint has built a reputation for their dark,  and haunting pop music, recently playing the Coachella Festival. While their recorded music is beautiful and engaging, it was obvious from the onset of the show that Warpaint’s true strength is their live show. The band played a mix of songs from their debut The Fools and most recent release Warpaint, and the crowd was engaged right from the start. At the end of their sixth song, “Love is to Die,” the crowd cheered in a way that only a Bellingham crowd can – a full ecstatic showing of love and appreciation, which seemed to catch the band slightly off guard. As the crowd fervently cheered, Theresa got a look on her face that I’ve seen many times over the years: an “oh wow, they really get it” look that’s usually followed by a genuine smile of gratitude. From there, it was a Warpaint/Bellingham love fest with the band telling the crowd when anyone asks their favorite place to play, they’re going to say “Bellingham.” They also went into a story about arriving earlier and seeing the Procession of the Species, and wondering what kind of town they had landed in. At one point Emily added, “Bellingham reminds me of Eugene,” to which the crowd hushed a bit. She added, “That’s a good thing.  Theresa and I are from Eugene,” which brought more applause and appreciation from the crowd.
After taking a small break, they came out for the encore, with Emily playing and singing “Billie” to a fairly hushed crowd (a difficult feat considering it was after midnight in a bar). A couple more songs and the Warpaint experience was over and the crowd left full of sonic joy and glad they’d won over another band.
–Brent Cole