Review: Electric Six at The Academy 2010Tweet
Electric Six @ The Academy, Saturday the 4th December 2010
Photos by Kieran Frost
I stood at the train station for forty minutes, completely unaware that the trains from this stop were cancelled due to the snow. When I saw everyone leave, like a sheep I followed, only to rush to the local spar to break a fiver when it dawned on me that the crowd were heading for an expected Dublin bus. When I eventually made it into town I had approximately twenty minutes to hit an ATM and make it to the venue for the support act. And make it I did, with enough time to spare to order a drink from the bar and get comfortably ready to rock.
Support act Vengeance And The Panther Queen came out to a semi-full audience, a band I was previously unaware of until I spotted Republic of Loose’s Mick Pyro on the guitar. Is this a side project, I pondered, or something with as much investment as his forerunning band? There was definitely something unique about their presence on stage, and vocalist Tara McCormack definitely had enough sex appeal mixed with a rock edge to entice the crowd. That was until, in my opinion, they began performing. They have supposedly described themselves as some kind of Britney meets Misfits playing Madonna mixed by Daft Punk mash-up, but the closest comparison I could make was the irritating sound of Katie White (The Ting Tings) trying, but failing, to collaborate with a perfectly in tune and on form Jamiroquai. How frustrating it was that every quality riff pumped out was drowned out by excruciating talk-shout-singing, which can only deteriorate the public opinion on the performers talent. She is definitely a good songwriter, if that credit is indeed her own, but I say leave that middle of the road not-quite-rap but probably rap style vocals to the likes of M.I.A. or even Alison “VV” Mosshart. It didn’t help when Tara invited her friend up to provide backing vocals for the remainder of the set. The new girl seemed uncomfortable in her own skin, and had as much stage presence as the child who played the shrubs in the school play.
With a new-found skepticism I wandered back to the bar, hoping that the headliners would not follow suit with a similar shoddy display. I was half way back when Electric Six graced the stage, this time to the screaming admiration of a now jam-packed Academy. Tyler “Dick Valentine” Spencer approached the mike and simply said ‘sorry for your banks’, before kicking into After Hours, with the crowd chanting the ‘oh oh oh’s’ in sync. This was more like it. The party had indeed arrived, and the icing on the cake would be the bands ever-present comic value. After flowing through Naked Pictures (of your Mother) and Formula 409, Valentine began to speak to the masses once more. He gave a big congratulations and dedication to Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, before kicking into the clearly tongue-in-cheek reference American Cheese. Anybody present, whether it be moderately aware teen, avid listener or fully fledged fan, would be helpless to prevent the growing smile on their faces as they watched the stage. Another knee-slapping moment came soon after as they played through Improper Dancing. Legend has it that during the moment of the song when Valentine yells ‘Stop’, there is a prolonged moment of spontaneous comedy before kicking back in. Sure enough, when the cue came the music changed, and it was soon apparent that the band had flawlessly moved into the opening of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. All The synth effects were present, and for a song so washed out thanks to re-releases and most recently Glee, it was the first time in a long time I found myself willfully singing along. After the first verse of Journey, Valentine screamed ‘Continue’ and they played out the rest of the original song.
The place went into raptures soon after as Danger! High Voltage began. definitely still to this day one of the band’s most recognisable and popular tracks, everyone present sang their hearts out and danced like no one was watching. More quality tunes followed in the form of Body Shot, Jam It In The Hole ( with the fantastic line ‘I’m Courtney Love baby, who the hell are you’) and Infected Girls, with hilarious mid-song monologues about the unfortunate outcome of England’s World Cup bid, or mini Jazz breaks in the tune of Super Mario. Valentine then began to speak about their time on the road, and the many cultures they experienced, specifically the dancing in Spain. He concluded by introducing the next song as originating from the Spanish region of Spain, and the played Pink Flamingos. This almost was the beginning of a medley of sorts, as they flowed directly into the much-loved Gay Bar, followed by the aptly named Gay Bar part 2 before finishing with the classic She’s White. The final song, or so they claimed, was I Buy the Drugs, and closed the set with a crescendo of dance rock fusion.
When they re-appeared for their encore, Valentine spoke again briefly about the political issues facing us all today, generally speaking and more specifically with the Irish economy. He used this as a comedic prologue to the acoustic Jimmy Carter, with the insanely hilarious lines ‘there’s a lion in the desert slouching to Bethlehem to be born again, Backstreets back alright’. As he announced there will be 2 more songs, he proclaimed the night be turned into a crazy dance party the likes of which have never been seen. They did their part, and did it well. Closing the show with Dance Epidemic followed by Dance Commander ensured the crowd went home with their monies worth, not least a sweat covered shirt which could then only be padded into the skin under the many layers protecting one from the harsh realities of the current weather conditions.
The first revelation I had was that the handlebar moustache sporting gentleman from Electric Six video fame was NOT that of Valentine (something many already knew obviously) but it was definitely not the last. Anyone who is genuinely sick of the snow and the freezing cold, there was no better break from it than a comedy coursing dance party produced by a rock band who clearly have a lot more to give. And if tonight’s performances of the new tracks of their recent album Zodiac are anything to go by, I doubt they are thinking of hanging up their boots anytime soon. They day they do, there may actually be a fire in the disco.
Danger, High Voltage!
Jam it in the Hole
Gay bar part 2/Shes White
I buy the Drugs
Down at McDonnelzz