Candy Warpop fans were caught by surprise this summer when the local fuzz-rock group’s lead singer (Beatrice Hernandez) and guitarist (Jessica Lazaro) quietly left the band. Since news of the lineup change appeared on Facebook in June, Warpop has simmered under the radar, fine-tuning its sound until last Friday’s show at the Royal House, where new singer Amy Pate was unveiled.
Minutes into an explosive set, it was clear the good ship Warpop sounded better than ever. Pate’s throaty, sinister vocals bring to mind the punky, anarchistic qualities of The Distillers’ Brody Dalle and the distinct range of Evanescence’s Amy Lee. Pate, who also performs in local punk band Sounds of Threat, never took her eyes off the tightly packed crowd and fit in well with remaining Warpoppers Joshua Cohen (guitar), Jonas Woolverton (bass) and Anisa Buttar (drums). “This is what we always wanted to sound like,” Buttar says. “We had it inside us, but she really just brought it out in the best way possible.” The band plays Off the Strip this weekend and plan to release a full-length album next year.