LIVE: Electric Six, Islington Academy 05/12/14
One thing you can say about Electric Six is that they’re definitely a productive band. In their twelve year existence, Dick Valentine and his crew have now put out no less than ten albums. Just keep that thought in mind the next time you hear some bunch of spoilt rock millionaires moaning about how tough and mentally exhausting it is to come up with a bunch of new songs.
As they take to the stage for their traditional pre-Christmas jaunt across the UK here at Islington tonight, it’s impressive to see the range of people gathered in the venue – I honestly can’t think of any other gig where you’ll see mohawk-sporting punks cheerfully rubbing shoulders with wispy-bearded hipsters and lads in hoodies and footy shirts mingling with glam rockers and goths, all going mental as E6 kick in with Karate Lips and Boy Or Girl?.
The other thing that’s impressive about Electric Six tonight is that all ten of their albums are represented in the live set in some form or other. Again, just bear that in mind when you come away from a gig disappointed that the band you’ve seen have played pretty much the same set as when you last saw them two or three albums ago, with the exception of a couple of new songs snuck into the middle of the set somewhere. Yes, of course we get Danger! High Voltage! and Gay Bar (which they craftily follow up with Gay Bar Part 2, which actually came out a good five years later), but there’s plenty of other highlights in here as well, such as the spot-on anti-processed pop music vitriol of Adam Levine, the ridiculously catchy I Buy The Drugs and the maniac disco rock of Down At McDonnellz.
The only complaint is that they don’t chuck the usual unexpected cover version in the middle of Improper Dancing the way they sometimes do (previous tours have seen them put Crazy Horses by The Osmonds or, even more brilliantly, The One And Only by Chesney Hawkes, in this slot), instead choosing to fill said gap with a new original, Who The Hell Just Called My Phone?. But it’s one of the better numbers on their new album, so we’ll forgive ’em.
They finish off with the hit that should’ve been, Dance Epidemic, and Dance Commander from their debut, with Valentine promising that they’ll be back next year with album number eleven and a tour to accompany it. And therein I think lies the reason why Electric Six are still able to command such a healthy cult following a decade on from the last time they bothered the charts. It’s not because they’re such a productive band, it’s because they’re such a productive band that can still keep up a surprisingly high quality of material. Like I say, just think about that next time some pampered rock star who’s long since lost their grasp on reality moans in the press about the internet killing the demand for albums. Electric Six are a band who are happily out there and working their collective arses off to entertain people. And for that, they should be applauded. Treasure them – bands like this are becoming an increasingly scarce commodity nowadays.