Saturday 27 November 2021

Electric Six - Boileroom, Guildford - November 26th, 2021

This one came out of the blue!

I'd seen Electric Six in Reading 3 years before and, even though I'd quite enjoyed myself, wasn't sure I would again, but I saw this gig advertised when seeing Ren Harvieu and being so local and cheap, decided I'd go along.

Google was showing them as playing in Holland on this date and few of the ticket sellers' sites were showing this event, so I can only assume that the Dutch event was cancelled and the Boileroom gig added at short notice.

However, the late announcement didn't stop people coming from far and wide to see Electric Six and The Boiler Room was packed in a way I hadn't seen since my visit to see The Hoosiers some years ago.

The support band was a Guildford Band, Neon Islands, but to be honest, the sound was so bad for them (combined with most people chatting while they played, further muddling the sound) that it was hard to tell if they were good or not.

Electric Six came on around 9:30PM and featured a similar lineup to that I'd seen in Reading, back in 2018 and they had a lot less space to play with on The Boiler Room's tiny stage, but one thing they are never short of is energy.

I'd ended up right near the front for the start of their performance, with a group of 30 something male friends and a couple from Detroit, the woman of which said (and I've no reason to doubt her) that Jimmy, the drummer, was a relative.

The lineup was, of course, fronted by Dick Valentine, the only Fire period member remaining, but a couple of the other guitarists also looked familiar.

Dick thanked us for coming on such short notice and joked about being desparate to sell us some of the many albums they'd made and as he went along there was a running joke about each track being off "one of the albums".

I have to admit, most of my familiarity with their material comes from the debut album, "Fire", which features "Improper Dancing", "Gay Bar", "Danger, High Voltage!","She's White","Synthesiser" and "Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)", all of which featured in the setlist, scattered amongst other tracks from later albums, including the openers from the latest album, "Bride Of The Devil" and the earlier "Switzerland".

There's a relentlessness to their playing and to Dick's vocals, occassionally broken on tracks like the mellow "Syntheiser", and that was there in abundance, but I also appreciated their musicality on this ocassion, many of the lesser known tracks showing off the band's talents.

On introducing "Rock and Roll Evacuation", Dick joked that it was written in response to George W Bush's election "When it seemed like the worst thing that could happen to America" and then smiled and said "And then something else happened", leaving the audience in no doubt of who that was.

The set, with the encore ("Dance Commander"), lasted about 90 minutes and I went back to the bar about 2/3rds way through as I needed a glass of water from too much dancing and the general crush. It's all one space though, so I was still in the room where they were performing, but not in the melee at the front any more.

It was, to say the least, a lively, exciting gig with the band seeming to be enjoying themselves too.

"Gay Bar" was, oddly, played in two short sections, which I didn't remember from Reading, but from the set lists I've found online, it seems common these days, at least. It was still enjoyable and did give us the pleasure of the intro twice, which is a definite highlight.

"Improper Dancing" is probably my favourite track and that had a great rendition, combined with "(Who The Hell Just) Call My Phone".

Of the tracks I was less familiar with, "Rock and Roll Evacuation", "Dance Epidemic", "I Buy The Drugs" and "Slices Of You" have stuck in my mind the following day, but everything was delivered (and received) with the same enthusiasm and energy.

The feeling I'd had at Reading was that their tracks get a bit samey after a while and I have to say that I had the same feeling to a degree this time as well, but I definitely enjoyed this gig more than the Reading one.

Somehow the band seemed more relaxed, Dick Valentine looked healthier and they seemed be enjoying themselves more, but maybe I'm just projecting my own feelings.

Either way, it was a fun night and, with the postponement of French band's, Keep Dancing Inc, gig until next May (as COVID continues to play havoc with normal life - As I correct a couple of typos a few days later, we have new restrictions coming into place!), a great way to almost certainly end my 2021 gig going.

Electric Six are definitely a band that knows how to deliver a good night out! Thanks guys.

Mr. Woman
Bride of the Devil
Rock and Roll Evacuation
After Hours
Naked Pictures (of Your Mother)
Down at McDonnelzzz
The New Shampoo
Gay Bar
Gay Bar Part Two
She's White
Slices of You
Be My Dark Angel
Infected Girls
Improper Dancing / (Who the Hell Just) Call My Phone
Danger! High Voltage
Daddy's Boy
Dance Epidemic
I Buy the Drugs
Dance Commander

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