As soon as Warpaint took the stage at the Newport Music Hall on Friday, the night turned ethereal. Maybe it was the lighting, maybe it was way Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman’s vocals weave in and out of each other, maybe it was the thunderstorm filled day, or maybe it was the single candle burning behind the band, lit for Chris Cornell whose death was hanging over the whole music world, and Columbus especially on this night. Whatever it was, Warpaint’s set transformed the Newport to another place, a place where for that time the music was all that mattered.
The band opened with the upbeat title track from their 2016 album, Heads Up, before jumping back to “Krimson,” off of their 2008 debut EP, Exquisite Corpse. Building upon the hypnotic strains of “Krimson,” the band followed it up with an impassioned performance of “Stars,” which was dedicated to someone special who was in the crowd that evening. Those two songs from Exquisite Corpse so perfectly set the tone for Warpaint’s entire set. With Kokal and Wayman front and center, both singing and playing guitar, it might be easy to overlook the other two members of Warpaint, however it is the rhythm section of Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass, vocals) and Stella Mozgawa (drums) that drive everything the band is doing.
Warpaint’s setlist on this night travelled up and down their discography, perfectly mixing the peaks and valleys of their sound into one cohesive musical experience. For most of the night, Warpaint let their music do all of the talking, pausing only briefly to thank the crowd, and offer small insights, like explaining the candle they had lit for Cornell, who was supposed to have been playing across town with Soundgarden.
After the strong beginning, other highlights came with “So Good” from Heads Up, and the duo of “Keep It Healthy” and “Love Is to Die” from the band’s 2014 self-titled sophomore album. The night came to a close with their hit “New Song” from Heads Up, and then “Disco//very” off of Warpaint. On this Friday night, with Rock On the Range taking place just a few miles away, only a modest crowd was at the Newport to witness what was undoubtedly one of the best shows to happen in Columbus this year.
Love Is to Die
Keep It Healthy
Ohio native, Jessica Lea Mayfield opened the night with a strong set of her slow-driving mix of dark country/rock/folk. Mayfield opened with “Seein* Starz” from 2014’s Make My Head Sing. Mayfield’s voice and acoustic guitar have a sometimes twangy country music vibe, but her minimalist style is definitely based more in pop-rock. Mayfield was joined onstage by the members of Warpaint for her final song, “Our Hearts Are Wrong,” from 2011’s Tell Me. After playing the rest of her set with just herself on acoustic guitar, and an electric guitarist on stage with her, it was great to close out the set with a full band sound, and harmonies, on her biggest hit to date.
Check out the separate photo galleries below of Warpaint and Jessica Lea Mayfield: