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Words cannot describe how much I have been looking forward to Warpaint returning to Liverpool. Ever since the initial announcement was made earlier in the year I have been giddy. So it pains me to admit that the event didn’t live up to expectation. Through no fault of anyone, least of all the band.

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It was somewhat heartbreaking to hear Warpaint, with their reverb-heavy sound, completely washed out by The Dome’s echo chamber-like qualities. For years I have been quite vocal about reconverting Grand Central Hall/The Dome back into a performance space (who okayed the idea of putting perspex boxes selling tat in such a beautiful theatre space?). Now that I have finally seen act play there I am disappointed with the results.

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Throughout the gig I meandered across the room in order to find the best sound, but I couldn’t real find that sweet spot. I was with a producer friend of mine who, likewise, agreed the sound was borderline atrocious. To be clear, I am not blaming the band or the technical team. I genuinely believe that very little could be done to improve the sound without extensive insulation or an alternative venue. It seems to be one of those venues that simply has poor acoustics (Manchester Apollo & Brixton Academy come to mind). They are venues that were never meant to deal with modern live music. After all, Grand Central Hall was a church space designed to amplify a priest’s voice not a 4 piece, amped up rock band. I can only hope that the play set to occupy The Dome later in November will be better suited to the room.  

I believe the band played an exceptional set, exceptionally well

Unfortunately, It’s hard to review the band’s performance without reference to the room. I believe the band played an exceptional set, exceptionally well, but I know that there is bias there. I know their music well so I could fill in the gaps that the acoustics denied my ears. It was like listening to an MP3. My brain tricking me into believing I could hear every instrument or harmony perfectly when I definitely couldn’t. At times I could hear the band’s 3 & 4 piece harmonies – there were several a cappella moments that highlighted this – and what I heard was pitch-perfect. Elsewhere, the rhythm section never missed a beat but quite often the guitar failed to shine through the mix.

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The band played a healthy mix from all 3 of their LPs, concluding the night with fan favourite Krimson from their initial EP. If anything, I would have liked to hear more from the new album. I was hoping to hear Dre and By Your Side but I fear their heavy bass sound wouldn’t have translated well in the space.

I’m left feeling bittersweet, as a fan I was happy to see the band play a tight and lively set, overjoyed even. As a ‘critic’ (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) the room – as beautiful as it may be – let Warpaint down.

Setlist:

  • Bees
  • Intro/Keep It Healthy
  • Heads Up
  • Hi
  • Undertow
  • The Stall
  • CC
  • Whiteout
  • Beetles
  • Elephants
  • Love Is To Die
  • New Song
  • Disco

  • Biggy
  • So Good
  • Krimson