LIVE: Michael Monroe, Leeds Brudenell Social Club 01/11/19
Although I’ve heard several of their albums down the years, this was actually the first time I’ve ever seen Electric Eel Shock live. Let’s just put it this way, if you thought they were a bit nuts from their off-kilter recorded output, live they take it to a whole new level of insanity, taking the stage with the singer shouting the lyrics to Sabbath’s Iron Man from atop the drum riser before they slam into Red Devil and a mass crowd singalong of Bastard!, which is no mean feat considering there’s almost certainly a fair few here tonight who’d probably never heard of this band before this evening. En route we get some serious headbanging action, the drummer playing his kit with a giant tube sock hung from his schlong and countless crowdsurfing interludes before Rock ‘n’ Roll Can Rescue The World and Metal Man end the set with EES I’m sure having won a fair few new converts here tonight. Hopefully soon we’ll be seeing them back here headlining in their own right.
It’s often remarked that Michael Monroe is pretty much rock ‘n’ roll’s consummate showman but if you needed proof, it comes about half a dozen songs into the set midway through Ballad of the Lower East Side when the entire rig suddenly blows out. Rather than simply wandering offstage while it’s sorted, Monroe simply gets behind his bandmate Karl Rockfist’s drumkit and bashes out a pretty damn competent drum solo while the power problems are sorted. This man, lest there be any doubt, is a bit of a legend.
Even minus the improvisation, Monroe and his band are on good form tonight with a good mix of stuff from their new One Man Gang album including storming runs through Last Train To Tokyo, In The Tall Grass, Black Ties And Red Tape and Hollywood Paranoia as well as more established set favourites. Monroe remains a damn good lyricist all these years on, and the likes of Old King’s Road and ’78 (co-written with Ginger Wildheart during his stint with Monroe’s band) read like war stories blasted out over an open campfire with a bottle of Jack to hand. And hearing old Demolition 23 (Nothin’s Alright, Hammersmith Palais) and Hanoi Rocks (Malibu Beach Nightmare, Don’t Never Leave Me, Motorvatin’) songs never gets old, let’s face it.
By the time the end of the evening comes around, we’re all drifting out into the cool Leeds night sweaty, grinning and feeling like we’re 16 years old again (though it’s a dead cert our aching bodies will remind us otherwise tomorrow morning). It’s been a good evening. If you missed this tour, you missed out frankly.