Show Review: The Lipstick Junkies At The Horseshoe Tavern

By Kalina Nedelcheva

They say Thursday is the new Friday. The validity of that statement was confirmed last Thursday (February 11th, 2016) at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern (home of vibrant voices and bobbing heads) during a fantastic concert by The Lipstick Junkies and openers. The night was a series of four bands – The Zoes, Womb, Big Name Actors, and the aforementioned headliners –  each of whom had a very distinct and exclusive sound.

The Zoes hit the stage at 9 P.M. and began the show on a very intriguing indie-punk note that made you want to unrestrainedly jump up and down. Fifty minutes later the atmosphere transformed into something a little less safe thanks to the rawness of Womb, an alternative-blues rock trio. While the Zoes brought a feeling of joy and got heads moving, Womb brought the class with raspy, emotional vocals and cloudy guitar solos.

Just as I was about to get a little too tangled in Womb’s sorrows and regrets, band number three appeared. After Womb I was feeling a little blue, convinced that my “Baby Don’t Love Me”, but Big Name Actors revived me with some upbeat power pop that got me swaying side to side with drink in hand. So far so good, as the opening bands were complimenting each other smashingly!

Thoroughly impressed with the diversity and clarity of the sound, as well as the brilliant juxtaposition of unique genre fusions, I was excitedly waiting for the last band, The Lipstick Junkies. The band consists of Greg Babinski (vocals/guitar), Brian Davis (bass) and JR Tomlinson (drums)- three Torontonian lads who occasionally add a little bit of a flare to their shows by including Australian-born Hayden French (guitar) – and has just released their latest EP New Lingo, with which they mark a new period of maturity (albeit maturity that still likes to dance). While their older projects are packed with carefree melodies and Flea-inspire bass-lines, New Lingo possesses all that and something more: for example, the third track “Boogie Everywhere” has the power to cease the head-nodding and inspire some real moves (in the way that only real disciples of 70s funk can do). It sets a philosophy for the group, and suggests an outline for their emerging image: the galvanizing tunes the lyrics impel you to forget your troubles for a while and surrender to the music.

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Thus, it came as no surprise when the audience began to actively disco-dance during the band’s first song (almost immediately, in fact). The speakers burst in colourful noise, with varying frequencies and skillful, jammin’ back-and-forths between Brian’s bass and Hayden’s rhythm guitar. The set was an electrifying amalgamation of their older songs and their new personality, including a cover of Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” and a brilliant mash-up of Nelly’s “Hot in Here” and the Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive” that got the whole audience participating. But the crowd did not need prompting, as everyone was already making their own opportunities; from some people ecstatically worshipping Brian’s bass guitar to a couple of girls jumping on stage and strip-teasing. As a whole it was mesmerizing. The Horseshoe had become a dimly-lit cosmos, where everyone was either swaying or had completely devoted themselves to breaking down the beat to tracks like “Build Me a Box” with their body; driven by JR’s spirited drum-work, it was impossible to stop grooving. Needless to say, the night ended with an active plead for an anchor and a post-show hang out.

All work and no play makes you a dull person. Hence, if you are feeling like exams and work are just wearing you down or you just wish to show off some moves on the dance-floor, go see the Lipstick Junkies and get intoxicated with their optimistic music and blithe attitude! It definitely worked for me.

Photography by Kalina Nedelcheva

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