Friday, August 13th, 2010
Warpaint and Javelin at Wrongbar in Toronto
Frank YangWith all sympathy to Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, who thanks to some lost passports were unable to get across the border, and to the fans who had been waiting to see them, I can’t say I was too disappointed that they had to cancel the engagement at Wrongbar on Wednesday night because it meant that my night out would be that much shorter and that I would get to see Warpaint that much sooner. We’re talking a difference of maybe an hour, but still – I’d been waiting to see them again after they bent my mind on the opening night of NXNE in June. Yeah, that was barely two months ago, but what can I say. I’m not a patient man.
Up first, though, were Javelin – also from Brooklyn but with their papers in order. With the stage festooned with old gutted boomboxes as props, the duo staged a live mixtape/mash-up dance party built around R&B and world music sounds, even though initially not many people seemed to feel like dancing. Their energy was relentless as they multi-tasked between drums, keys, stompboxes, kazoos and cowbells overtop taped backing tracks and samples and while it got a little exhausting towards the end of their set – it went on maybe 10 minutes longer than I’d have liked – but still a fun set if oddly paired with Warpaint.
The Warpaint portion of the evening got off to a good start even before they took the stage, what with being able to pick up a copy of their debut EP Exquisite Corpse on vinyl; not an easy find in Canada. And things just got better when the Los Angeles-based quartet did come onstage and soundcheck turned into a rhythm section jam over the house DJ’s tunes and then transformed seamlessly into the start of their set, all signs were that they were going to be on this night.
The musical chemistry of this unit is remarkable to behold – more than a band, they’re like a single, wholly organic unit with drummer Stella Mozgawa the musculature, bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg the blood and the pulse and guitarist/vocalists Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal the two hemispheres of the brain, though which is the right and left seems to change moment to moment. Together, they seem to operate almost subconsciously or on pure instinct, effortlessly pushing and pulling each other as they sculpt their dreamy, sensual rock that’s as beguiling as it is unsettling, simultaneously chaotic and utterly in control. Watching them exchange looks and smiles on stage as they did their thing, seemingly as fascinated with seeing what they created as the audience, was almost as much a highlight of the show as the music.
This performance wasn’t as beautifully brutal as the Horseshoe show, instead feeling more limber and textured, and was built mainly around the new material which seemed to allow Wayman to more equally share lead vocals with Kokal. Still, the couple of Exquisite Corpse selections they did perform, they jammed the hell out of and set closer “Elephants” was positively explosive. The only facet of the show that could be considered disappointing was that it was all over in 40 minutes, their headlining show running only slightly longer than their more rigidly-timed festival appearance. Though the promotional push around their full-length debut – due mid-October – hasn’t begun yet, the buzz has been building steadily since last Fall and using this show as a barometer, they’re ready to take that and blow it right up.
Warpaint return to town as support for The xx at Massey Hall on September 29; The Daily Times has an interview with drummer Stella Mozgawa. Daytrotter just posted a session with Javelin and another with Beach Fossils which will hopefully hold fans over until they can get new passports in hand.
Photos: Warpaint, Javelin @ Wrongbar – August 11, 2010
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”
MP3: Warpaint – “Billie Holiday”
MP3: Javelin – “Oh! Centra”
MP3: Javelin – “World MIDI Classics, Vol. 2”
Video: Warpaint – “Stars”
Video: Warpaint – “Elephants”
After turning in an awesome free show at the Horseshoe back in May, great Welsh hopes The Joy Formidable will return to said venue for another show on November 3 as part of a Fall tour – this one you’ll have to pay for, but it will be worth every penny. Their full-length debut is now set for release in early 2011.
Drowned In Sound goes through Sky Larkin’s new record Kaleide track-by-track with the assistance of the band. They also interview and are interviewed by Michael Lerner of Telekinesis, who will be in town on September 4 for a show at the El Mocambo.
NOW previews this Saturday’s Arcade Fire show on the Toronto Islands with a cover feature. The Los Angeles Times talks to Merge head honcho Laura Ballance about their road to the #1 record in the US, UK and Canada while Nylon also talks to Ballance, but in her capacity as bassist of Superchunk. Their new record Majesty Shredding is out September 14.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World finally opens today, and the media blitz continues. eye has a cover feature interview with Edgar Wright and Michael Cera, Interview gets Jason Schwartzman to interview Cera, The AV Club talks to Schwartzman and Anna Kendrick and both Under The Radar and Spin get some face time with Mary Elizabeth Winstead.