Gentleman Junkie

Live at The Joint

Los Angeles, CA 10/09/2008

Review by Travis Baumann

Gentleman Junkie was the opening band for the Los Angeles stop of the Cruxshadows, Ayria, and I:Scintilla tour.

Up until this show I had never heard of the band but checked them out on Myspace to see what they were like. I was pleasantly surprised to find them to be of the dark-electro vein and hailing from here in Los Angeles.

After some venue troubles with Safari Sams and the show being stated as canceled earlier in the day, it finally was relocated to The Joint.

We arrived just as they were beginning the set and I am glad we did not miss them as they turned out to be my favorite act of the night.

Musically they range from danceable EBM style songs to darker and harsher electro including awesome distorted beats and lush synthesizers. While some of the songs have some power noise influences, they never go deep enough into that sub-genre to be considered as such.

The vocals themselves ranged a number of styles including some great distortion on some songs, cool vocoder robot voice on one, and on other songs a melodic darkwave gothic feel that lent itself perfectly to the heart felt lyrics.

Even on the distorted songs you could easily make out what was being said and the lyrics were all very intelligently written and in some cases down right emotional.

Just as the vocal styles varied, so did the lyrical content. On one song featuring heavily distorted vocals the tall lead singer snarled out the chorus "God hates you! And he hates me too!"

On a following song the distortion came off and with a melodic vocal style the lyrics became more touching with "I want you to know that I thought you would be the most beautiful part of my life. I want you to know that I thought I would be the most beautiful part of your life."

Other songs ran the gambit from committing suicide over lost love to other notably gothic mentalities. I am just a sucker for electronic distortion and dark electro style bands and I really like the variation they offered as some bands get a little old if they only have distortion set to the highest level and you can never tell one lyric from the next.

I do have some issues with the venue however, as it was insanely hot with no air conditioning nor even a door or window open and no fans to circulate the quickly stagnating air. Their stage space was ridiculously small due to other bands' gear on an already tiny stage, and there was no stage lighting of any sort, just a hot white spot directly on them. Luckily they handled their own sound mix from the stage.

Despite all of these hinderances, I am glad they were able to find a venue and not just cancel the event. Gentleman Junkie put on a great show and won me over. I am surprised I had never heard of these guys before with them being local but I am glad I heard them now and hope they do more shows and put a CD out soon.

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