Warpaint’s Theresa Wayman brings ‘LoveLaws’ to life at MOCA

Thursday night marked a homecoming for Warpaint singer and guitarist Theresa Wayman, who brought her TT-monikered sideproject to the MOCA in DTLA for a free show.

Wayman dropped her debut full-length as TT last month called LoveLaws, a trip-hop heavy record that still grooves the way many Warpaint tunes do. As much as I dig the record (I bought the vinyl after the show), the songs took on new life for me watching Wayman bring them to life. Just like with her band Warpaint, the live experience exceeded listening to the records.

“You are too far away!” Wayman said when she took the stage around 9 PM with glitter — or “warpaint” — under her eyes and red flowers adorning her microphone stand.

“You should climb over the rail,” she added, talking about the five-foot gap between the rail and the stage. This is something I remember her doing when Warpaint played the Santa Monica Pier last year, as if Wayman needs to be as connected to the crowd as possible when playing these highly personal and intimate tunes.

She kicked off her set with “Love Leaks”, one of the first singles to come from the project. Flanked by three band members, Wayman was able to focus on doing the singing. “I just got too, I just got too empty,” Wayman laments before exploding into the powerful chorus. “I feel like we’re failing, I feel like I’m waiting on you…”

A similar sorrow permeates through “I’ve Been Fine” — “Why can’t you be next to me?” she asks over and over again. The crowd swayed back and forth as pot smoke billowed into the warm Los Angeles air. A car alarm sounded as Wayman finished the tune. “That’s probably my car,” she joked and smiled.

Wayman alternated between picking up a guitar and playing synths, sometimes just singing. You could tell that “Mykki” is a favorite of the singer, as she shook her hips like she was part of a girl doo-wop group.

Next was “The Dream”, my personal favorite and a song I played during my School Night DJ set Monday. It has a very danceable tempo and intoxicating piano line, further complemented by Wayman’s deep vocals. If you told me it was a Nicolas Jaar song I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest.

I started to feel a nice crossfade from the two IPAs I had and the joint I passed around during “Tutorial”. Just like Warpaint, Wayman’s music is a perfect match for being a little bit stoned, a little bit fucked up.

The crowd was entranced throughout the 45-minute show. Wayman played a song not on the record “So To Be Forgot,” which I hope gets a release.

The set-closing “Too Sweet” seemed like the perfect way for her to wrap up her gig. It ties in her band Warpaint, referencing a song of theirs “Biggy” with the line “I’m made of a lover”. As Wayman steps out on her own, she’ll always find comfort in knowing that she’s got her girls to fall back on. And that strong friendship makes it easier to bare one’s soul about difficulties finding love.

Current Joys and Wives (Brooklyn) opened up the show, which was a free gig thrown by Spaceland Presents.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Frank Mojica

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