GIG REVIEW: The Love Junkies @ Alhambra Lounge, 27/06/13

Nestled between cozy brick walls and black and white “cum & sweat” signs, The Love Junkies took to the stage of the Alhambra Lounge to show why the best way to listen to music is in a live venue.

The three-piece, hailing from Perth, are comfortable with the guitars-bass-drums-yelling mixture when it comes to producing their music; it’s a blend that many can relate to and one that works well when done properly. The Love Junkies, a humble group with stilted banter throughout the show, have proved both in the studio and onstage that they know what they’re doing and damn, are they good at it.

With Brisbane locals Babaganouj warming the crowd, the music they list as being influenced by many things, including “spending all my tax return on paying for my rego for my stupid car,” was the perfect introduction to the night. The night, of course, which can only be best described in a quote taken from the stage banter of The Love Junkies’ vocalist Mitch McDonald, “I… Yeah, I don’t know what to say. Fuck.”

Opening their explosive set with Heads Down, the first track of recent release Maybelene, the set list was successful in building the energy of the crowd as the members of the band reflected the energy thrown at them by punters.

It was the grins shared onstage between McDonald, bassist Robbie Rumble and drummer Lewis Walsh that showed the members were more than happy to be playing the interstate show. This, perhaps, was the only suggestion that they weren’t the brooding boys they’d have you believe if you never bothered to look further than the lyrics of their debut full-length.

Even their stage clothes appeared to be an accurate reflection of the genre one would attribute the band to, with McDonald in stovepipe jeans, a black and white striped sweater – reminiscent of the clothes attributed to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain – and Vans. Despite closing his eyes, a move usually attached to being lost in the music, the lead vocalist would have struggled to see the people standing before him, swaying in time to the music, through the strands of hair that obstructed his vision. Tonight, appearances were not deceiving and The Love Junkies played their part with utmost dedication.

Working through their setlist, composing of Maybelene favourites, including title-track Maybelene and Oxymoron, the band explored their sound and their ability to wind up the audience until even those most reluctant of dancers were moving in their spot. The moshpit, formed stage-left at the feet of Rumble, featured an array of dance moves from full-body thrashing to synchronized swaying taken directly from the Lollapalooza episode of The Simpsons.

Oxymoron was the clear favourite amongst attendees, with the single having seen heavy radio play on Triple J. Though, each song evoked similar reactions, showing that the fanbase of The Love Junkies are of the dedicated kind.

Most importantly, the show was exactly how one would expect after listening to Maybelene. The album itself was raw though still perfectly recorded, and the live show was a direct contrast to this. By no means was it anything less than perfect, but live shows require a different gauge than studio albums, especially when the music in question is of a genre that’s constantly called into question whether or not it is still ‘alive’. It’s the energy of the show that went from strength to strength, and the way the sound complimented the venue and the surroundings and the people in attendance, that shows The Love Junkies are on the rise to becoming a well-known band in the scene. It’s their humble stage presence, the message clearly screaming they’re in it for the music, that made Thursday’s show a signifier of the success that’s yet to come.