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Monday, February 1, 2016

Live Review: Warpaint's jennylee Performs Her Solo Work At The Chapel

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 9:58 AM

click to enlarge Sing it, girl. - ELLE COXON
  • Elle Coxon
  • Sing it, girl.

Taking sips from a can of Red Bull, a very caffeinated Jenny Lee Lindberg (a.k.a. jennylee) bounced and spiraled across The Chapel's stage last Thursday night performing songs from her debut album, right on!. In fact, even before the Warpaint bassist took the stage, she was dancing her way through opener FACIAL’s set, waving her arms and cheering from her perch on the green room balcony.

When it was time for Lindberg to take the stage, she strutted about in multi-colored sneakers and a loose-fitting sweatshirt emblazoned with the title of her album,  greeting the crowd and asking if everyone enjoyed FACIAL. “I did,” she said with a grin, “And my mom did.”

Quickly tiring of small talk, Lindberg grabbed her microphone, twisted a few dials on her pedal board and plunged into “bully,” then “never.” Though she is an accomplished bassist, Lindberg opted not to play the bass (or any instruments at all) for her right on! tour, instead focusing solely on the vocals. She was flanked by a bassist, guitarist, drummer and backing vocalist, but fiddled so often with the knobs on her bassist’s speaker and instrument that I couldn’t help but wonder if she should just grab the bass from him and play it herself. Fifteen minutes in, she did just that – anchoring the beautifully understated “long lonely winter” from behind her bass with no shortage of swagger.

The switch was a needed break from Lindberg’s carefree (and mobile) just-me-and-the-mic approach, which rang hollow underneath the obvious enthusiasm. She introduced Warpaint’s “CC” as “an oldie but goody,” and the foray into familiar territory broke through any lingering resistance from the audience. To wit: She was met with cries of protest each of the three times she said, “We have one more song.” (The first two instances were a joke, though neither was particularly funny.)

Her setlist ricocheted between right on!’s moments of seductive darkness and its rowdiest cuts, sacrificing a fair amount of sonic continuity in order to play almost every song. Still, her top-notch vocals and spastic writhing never wavered, and she seemed genuinely pleased with the performance as she and her band exited following “riot.” The audience cheered her out and stayed loud to demand an encore, undeterred even as ABBA's “Dancing Queen” came on the PA system.

After several minutes of raucous chanting from the audience, Lindberg and her band re-emerged to play the subdued “real life” as the disco ball glimmered overhead. As evocative and powerful as her performance was, the moment proved anticlimactic when left dangling without any definitive finale. Which Lindberg were we to believe: the affable frontwoman swinging her hips to right on!’s more vibrant cuts or the formidable bassist and vocalist spinning the record’s darker moments into gold?

The sound tech, however, did not share in her inconsistency. After her final thank you and good night, the PA resumed playing “Dancing Queen” as though it had never stopped.

Critic’s notebook: The woman beside me spent five minutes warning her neighbors about a wad of chewed gum on the floor. I appreciated the courtesy (being nice is punk rock!), but I wondered if she would spontaneously combust if she knew what the floors of most DIY houses and dive bars look like. (Insert joke about the bathroom stalls at CBGB, may it rest in peace, here.)

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Elle Coxon

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