Show Pics: Warpaint @ Urban Lounge (4/29)

WarpaintField Trip.

The day job has changed a bit for me recently to include a little more travel. That means the occasional opportunity to take in a show in another city and get to check out some new venues and make new friends. I ended up in Salt Lake City the same time as Warpaint, who have stirred a bit of controversy lately, and arranged to be able to shoot a show at the Urban Lounge. Opening the night was James Supercave.

Read on for a little photo walk, some thoughts about the venue and plenty of pics.

I didn’t travel with the big cameras, but V1 came along to provide images. Small, but capable, I clicked on the 50mm equivalent to take in the new venue. The Urban Lounge is located just east of downtown, between the CBD and an area I understand is called The Avenues. There are plenty of restaurants and vintage shops, but everything is way more spread out than Austin. Eleven blocks are a short stroll here, but SLC’s city planners saw to it that you would get your steps milling about amongst the tall buildings. Urban gets top tier indie talent; basically if you play the Mohawk outside, this is your stop in Utah. However, the room is a little over a third the capacity, somewhere around 350. Lights and sound were both very good, though the layout of the room creates challenging site lines. Remember Red7 inside before it was remodeled? It is kinda like that, but flipped so the stage is on the long wall offset in a deep room so two-thirds the room watches stage left. Staff was friendly to this area n00b, I look forward to going back.

And yes, people watch shows through their phones in Utah.

James Supercave, fresh out of Los Angeles on Hit City USA, casually took to the stage, my knowledge of the band only being a jam RayRay posted a couple months ago. That song is good, but the rest of their set was better. Digitally bolstered pop done at a high level, they took an unsuspecting crowd over. Merch was sold. They were a bit upbeat for the gazy drama to come, but it was a welcome surprise and had me grinning like I discovered something.

The last two times I have seen Warpaint were both less than optimal conditions. I remember thinking as I watched them at Psych Fest last year and opening for The National at ACL Live a few weeks ago that I would much rather see them in a room with a low ceiling where a fog machine actually worked. I got that and then some. The crowd, the room, the haze, the lighting, the sound all added up to much better experience. The songs had weight instead of air. The layers were thicker and being able to really discern which vocalist was doing which part gave me a new level of respect for the band’s live performance. The concept that one person finishes another’s note with falsetto or sustained harmony is on full display. “Undertow” was gorgeous. “Love is to Die” was brilliant. There was a temporary sound issue that led to an impromptu rendition of “Pump Up the Jams”. They do have a sense of humor, after all…

Thanks for being a kind host, SLC.

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