Mazzy Star (Photo: Jason Persse)
The Warfield enforced a strict “no photography” rule last Wednesday night, as per the request of highly anticipated headliner Mazzy Star. It was an understandable request, given the band’s choice of remarkably dim lighting. A flash would have been necessary, and in turn would kill the mood.
Soft-spoken singer-songwriter Mariee Sioux started the evening with a set of four or five long-form folk songs. She timidly remarked on how The Warfield was the largest venue she had ever played, performing lovely, poetic songs from last year’s Gift For the End, including “Twin Song” and “Old Magic”. She dedicated the last song to her mother, who was in the audience.
The Entrance Band ushered in a dramatic change of pace, with the trio jamming out solo-heavy cuts from their upcoming album Face the Sun. Frontman Guy Blakeslee sported a dapper red vest and pinstripe shirt, with drummer Derek James looking like some sort of psych-rock candy striper, yellow maraca in hand. Bassist Paz Lenchantin, who has collaborated with A Perfect Circle and Smashing Pumpkins side-project Zwan, looked very comfortable standing and kneeling on top of her amp. Lenchantin and Blakeslee leaped of their amps in unison during the finale of “No Needs”. Blakeslee made use of his guitar pedals, and at one point he collapsed onto his back, flailing his legs in the air whilst shredding on his guitar in classic rock star fashion.
Mazzy Star played for about an hour and fifteen minutes, offering a solid mix of material from each of their four studio albums. Led by the gorgeous vocals of Hope Sandoval, the band rotated between five and six members. David Roback alternated between electric and acoustic guitar, joined by an ever-present drummer and an extra guitarist as needed, plus a multi-instrumentalist who provided nearly everything else from keys to violin. Sandoval occasionally played tambourine and other shakers, and appeared to be operating some sort of digital tablet in front of her.
The muted blue and gray tones of the stage lighting were enhanced only by sparsely placed candles and a giant screen which flashed murky imagery reminiscent of the band’s album covers. Mazzy Star stuck to their typical setlist from this particular tour, opening with “Look on Down From the Bridge” and closing with an encore of “So Tonight That I Might See”.
While the band played about five songs from September’s comeback release Seasons of Your Day, the crowd was most enthusiastic during the opening notes of more familiar favorites such as “Ride It On”, “Into Dust”, “Fade Into You”, and “Blue Flower”. The dreaminess of Mazzy Star’s nineties releases translated well on stage, offering a soothing, opiatic vibe, enhanced by their choice of lighting.
“You guys are savages,” said Sandoval towards the end of the set. I’m pretty sure she meant this as a sarcastic compliment, given the tranquil politeness of the audience.