Live Review: Band Of Skulls, The Love Junkies

25 July 2012 | 10:23 am | Scott Aitken

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Two years ago I was lucky enough to catch Band Of Skulls at Splendour In The Grass, one of their first shows in Australia. Unfortunately they were stuck playing the early morning slot and seemed to be suffering from a combination of nerves and either jetlag or fatigue. This time around this scribe was excited to see them free from the constraints of a festival and confident playing their first ever WA show. First though, The Love Junkies got the crowd amped up with a dose of fuzzed-out rock'n'roll. The local trio kicked things off with new songs Heads Down and Oxymoron, the latter featuring a great riff and an instantly catchy chorus that will hopefully make it a contender for their next single. On set highlight Dirty Lover, Mitch, McDonald let loose with some killer guitar work that got a huge response. As much as it was great to hear the new songs live, and it will be even better when we can hear the whole album.

Taking to the stage a short while later, Band Of Skulls opened with Sweet Sour, Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson's howling vocals locking straight in with Matt Hayward's simple, yet effective drumming. Fires showcased the band's beautiful weaving harmonies, which were far more effective with the more subdued instrumentation. Similarly they did a great version of Cold Fame. As much as everyone seemed to enjoy the more all-out rock'n'roll tracks from Sweet Sour, it was the softer, more dynamic songs from Baby Darling Doll Face Honey that arguably drew a bigger response. That being said, The Devil Takes Care Of His Own and You're Not Pretty But You Got It Goin' On sounded great live, the latter featuring a blistering echo-laden solo by Marsden and thunderous John Bonham-esque drumming by Hayward. By set closer Impossible, more and more of the audience packed out the front of the stage, culminating in two punters jumping up and trying to stage-dive off of the knee-high stage. Given the band's improvement since their first visit, this was the only thing that might have been better left to the festivals.