LIPSTICK at Metal Matsuri, London
Let's get this party started!
It’s fair to say that of all the bands at Metal Matsuri, LIPSTICK were one of the truly unknown quantities in the line-up. One thing’s for sure though; the all-female quartet aimed to put that right. As the punters entered the venue and passed by the merchandise booth, they were greeted by stacks of free copies of LIPSTICK's EP Hello UK!!, and it wasn't just any old two-track sampler either.
The CD was a generous six-song offering, recorded especially for this Metal Matsuri giveaway, complete with lyrics and a discography. As an independent band, merchandise plays a big part in making the extra cash that keeps the wolf from the door, but LIPSTICK were prepared to skip that chance of an earner to get some new fans on board. Their generosity didn’t end there. If you bought some of their merchandise after the show, they'd throw in a free packet of miso soup.
Guitarist Sally and bassist Sakae have been performing together since their high school days and they’re currently the only permanent members of LIPSTICK. The group’s line-up is currently filled out with support players: singer MAIKO of My Complex Of Academy fame, and drummer Mii-chan. The band are somewhat of a throwback to '80s glam metal and they certainly had the glamorous look, thankfully minus the big backcombed hair.
Introducing the band, Metal Matsuri’s host, cross-dressing Aussie wrestler Ladybeard confessed his love of makeup (who’d have thought it?), but particularly lipstick. Before the night was done, a big chunk of the crowd would be able to admit to a similar fondness for LIPSTICK, won over by their energetic performance.
MAIKO was all black leather biker chic, sporting a Jack Daniels parody LIPSTICK T-shirt and a bandolier with bright red lipsticks where the bullets would normally go. Sally’s scarlet leather jacket was only just outshone by Sakae’s bright yellow one, and for ammunition they weren’t messing about either. Their guitar straps came fully loaded, bandolier-style, with lipsticks the size of .50 calibre machine gun rounds.
MAIKO greeted everyone:“Hello London! We are LIPSTICK from Japan! Welcome to the Party!” Not only was this last line the title of the opening song, it was also the cue for the party to well and truly get started. The singer got the crowd clapping to the beat and the opening bars had some singalong-friendly "Yeah yeah yeahs" to help get everybody into it.
They blitzed through this good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roller, buzzing with energy and dashing all over the place. It’s an approach that sums up their music in general, which veers between straight-up rock and catchy old-school '80s metal. For a three-piece, they put out a surprisingly big sound. Drummer Mii-chan - her smiley face just about visible, peeking out over her kit - pounded out busy, high-speed beats while Sally and Sakae’s long-time familiarity showed in just how tight a duo they form.
There was a quick pause for MAIKO to let everybody know how pleased they were to be at Metal Matsuri before she announced Mad Infection, the first of two tracks from their latest single Bloody Sword, bellowing the title at the top of her lungs. That’s how she rolled when it came to introducing each song, and Mad Infection was punctuated by some equally raucous yelling.
There wasn’t much light and shade in LIPSTICK’s set and they saw it home with a flurry of fast-paced rockers. They were going at it full throttle, determined to take this chance to impress on their international debut. The audience got swept up in the frantic energy of the performance that reflected their clear delight at being in London.
Sally was a real crowd pleaser with her shredding and MAIKO proved to be a dramatic frontwoman, never letting the crowd rest, keeping everybody hyped. Whether you’d heard of them before or not, LIPSTICK were exactly what Metal Matsuri needed to set the place alight.
01. Welcome to the Party
02. Holy Knight
03. Mad Infection
04. Bloody Sword
06. In the Stream
07. Zero Tiger
08. Heart Breaker
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LIPSTICK, Mardelas, Mary's Blood, Rie a.k.a. Suzaku, ZEROSHIKI
O2 Academy Islington
The Metal Matsuri headliners talk about their new album "CONFESSiONS" and plans for the future.