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Akron/Family and Warpaint hit Artistika

By Adam Thorn


Published: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Touring bands are a special treat for Greensboro music enthusiasts/college kids stuck with what Greensboro has to offer. A recent article in Go Triad, pointed out what people in this city have been talking about for years: people just go to hear their friends bands and don’t care much about live music. The crowd on this bone chilling night in February were enjoying the music of Akron/Family and Warpaint.

Warpaint’s set was impressive. They treated the performance as a professional endeavor. No one stops the show to tune a guitar or sings out of tune. One of the singers sounds like Beth Gibbons of Portishead while the other vocalist sounds like Courtney Love without all raspy after effects of chain smoking.

Both the vocalists are too talented to pretend that they are playing back up so they just switch off. Theresa Waymay used an interesting set of effects pedals with her Stratocaster so much so that more than one person asked if I could see the keyboardist.

Michael Stipe of REM once said that “the lyrics of a song are about as important as the bass line”. When you’re at a live performance of a band that you’ve never heard before, you don’t stand there and analyze the thematic elements of the song lyrics, it hits you all at once like a pill or some wild animal that’s escaped from a city zoo. To be simple, the songs of Warpaint are about their boyfriends and or girlfriends or maybe their dogs but the operatic vocals and jazz influenced drumming tend to over shadow that.

You hear a riff repeat itself and someone beside you is trying to talk on their phone and you are either dancing or wishing you were dancing. At the bar I asked guitarist Theresa Waymay if they all moved to L.A. to become famous rock stars. “Um, not really” she says.

“You guys are a good looking audience. That’s not irony,” says bassist Miles Seaton of Akron/ Family after their first song. For all their popularity they are more or less a jam band with a few cards up its sleeve. The three members played their well-received song “River”. People who could otherwise have been mistaken for deaf came to life suddenly to join in with the chorus “You and I and a flame make three,” they sang. Concise, undeniably beautiful and well-rehearsed.

As the evening went on the band went in various directions. Some of the songs arranged for drums, guitar, bass and two vocalists had the room racing, and at other times the tempo was hard to stay awake for. After two hours when the band has used up all its strong material singer and guitarist Seth Olinsky asked the audience to “close your eyes and imagine yourself in a meadow with rows of yellow flowers.”

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