Sunday, 15 June 2014

Gig Review - The Love Junkies

The Love Junkies
Live @ Black Bear Lodge (12/06/2014)
Reviewed by Katie Langley

After visiting Black Bear Lodge on Thursday for a cider and the music stylings of The Love Junkies, I couldn’t help but think about Jo’s recent post on choices. Yes, the cider was delicious and warmed my innards on a cool evening (by Brisbane standards), but that was an added bonus really. My choice on Thursday evening was all about the music, man, and a band that peaked my interests earlier in the year. As I glanced around Black Bear Lodge I wondered - do people in Brisbane not leave the house on a Thursday evening? Do the people of Brisbane not leave the house on a Thursday evening when the temperature drops 3 degrees? 

Whilst disappointed by the choices of the people of Brisbane, my vantage point meant that I was in prime position to eyeball the band. Wait. Stop. That’s not to sound as creepy as I mean it to be. Who doesn’t enjoy being up the front to really take in the full experience? It’s the best place to be, alongside other people who have also made excellent choices on a Thursday. And sure, then there’s the eye-balling.

Yes, there is good music around. But there’s not always a lot of interesting music. Music that makes you feel. Music that makes you react. Music that makes you nod your head. But The Love Junkies managed to do that for me with the release of ‘Chemical Motivation’. It was not what I expected, in the best possible way. So when I found out that they were touring following the release of their latest EP Flight Test, the choice was easy – go to Black Bear Lodge. And I was not disappointed.

The Love Junkies treated us to songs old and new, including ‘Baby Come Home’, ‘Chemical Motivation’, ‘Maybelene’, ‘Oxymoron’ and my new favourite ‘Blowing on the Devil’s Strumpet’. Hell, there was even an awesome rendition of Refused’s ‘Rather Be Dead’. They were the perfect hosts, checking in with the audience at different points throughout the set, including the stragglers up the back – “you’re probably thinking that if all people from Perth sound like Tame Impala then we’re fucked”.

Earlier in the year I had described ‘Chemical Motivation’ as the end product of a dalliance between The Dandy Warhols and The Vines. A dalliance that occurred after a moonlit stroll during which they held hands and stared longingly into each other’s eyes. Six months later, watching the band live, this description proved to be accurate. The Love Junkies have a grunge, garage rock sound that appeals to my 90s heart. But it’s not all flannelette and messy hair – not that there’s anything wrong with that. They manage to dance between this raw, unapologetic, guitar heavy sound with a more melodic, surfy vibe. That’s what I mean about the romance I described. Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Craig Nicholls are holding hands, but neither of them is squeezing too tight.

The Love Junkies have been handpicked by Triple J as one of the Top 20 artists you will love in 2014. So, when you get an opportunity to see them live, I’m sure you’ll make the right choice.

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