Appropriately returning to Dublin during the sunniest spell the city has seen in 2017 so far, Los Angeles based dream pop outfit Warpaint seem to have attracted a crowd that retains a sense of festival buzz camaraderie – Vicar Street’s bar is packed and there’s a spill over from the smoking area onto Thomas Street before a single note has been played.
As the ten-minute call for Warpaint rings out, the socialising begins to wind down and people crowd into the stage area to witness a gig beginning without fuss, the opening notes of ‘Heads Up’ creep in without so much as a greeting from front woman Emily Kokal.
The backdrop, a stage filled with palm trees covered in fairy lights that looks like a Tumblr aesthetic blog come to life, finds amongst it this four-piece playing with the rare quality that anyone who has dreamed of being cool wishes they possessed: effortless perfection.
It’s unsurprising that Krokal and the band feel little need to interact with the audience – there are only one or two conversational tidbits thrown in, with little of the patter that one expects at gigs. However, this doesn’t throw the crowd off, with drinks being enthusiastically raised as lyrics are shouted along to.
Every aspect of the show feels extremely tight and well rehearsed, from the light show to the flow from song to song. Even moments that would throw most musicians are dealt with casually, such as drummer Stella Mozgawa beckoning a roadie to fix a misplaced microphone during a performance of ‘Undertow.’
At the end of the day, a successful performance relies heavily on the behaviour of the crowd. Full of tipsy sun-drunk fans, Warpaint are able to focus on their own presence on stage, without placating the all too common yells from those who have had one pint too many demanding that certain songs be played.
This makeks the rare interactions appear charming and genuine – such as Krokal and company giddily playing the opening bars to ‘Kiss From A Rose’ by Seal, proclaiming it as “the best song,” before playing a song that Krokal declares to be not as good, but still pretty good – ‘New Song,’ off their latest record.
As the gig culminates with ‘Disco’, Vicar Street’s strict rules on shutting down at 11pm on the dot actually creates a great atmosphere to finish on – without worrying about when to chant “one more tune”, the audience is able to wind down from a perfectly paced concert.
Warpaint photographed for State by Mark Earley