Electric Six at the Academy, Dublin, 1st of December 2012
With the nights drawing in, that familiar chill in the air and fairy lights adorning Dublin’s streets, you just know it’s that time of the year again. That magical time. That’s right: Electric Six are back in the Academy. The Detroit made their fifth annual appearance in the Abbey Street venue just in time, as usual, to kick off Advent. It’s strange to think that a band who hasn’t had a hit in the eight years since lead singer Dick Valentine literally danced on Freddy Mercury’s grave (in the video to their Radio Gaga cover) can still mostly fill a venue the size of the Academy. As the show goes on though, the reasons become clear.
The primary reason comes out in Valentine’s first interaction with the crowd. “We’re going to play our first album (‘Fire’ a.k.a. the good one!) in its entirety,” he says to rapturous cheers from the crowd. “We’re contractually obliged to.” Despite the nine albums (yes, nine! Seven from the studio, one live and one rarities) they have released since, it’s still their debut that holds with the fans. And after a three song opening salvo of Crazy Horses, It Ain’t Punkrock and Gridlock (“It’s about gridlock,” Valentine explains), the band launch into Dance Commander.
For the next thirteen songs, the audience are hugely entertained. They jump and dance and sing back nearly every word from the likes of Electric Demons of Love, Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother) and I Invented the Night. And then, of course, there is Danger! High Voltage and the song that will forever be their legacy, Gay Bar. All the while Valentine dances around like a creepy uncle in front of what looks like a band that have been playing weddings for the last two decades but still hold out dreams of ‘making it’.
That’s all part of the tongue-in-cheek that Electric Six provided. If they’re not singing about “Gerrymandering at the singles bar” (from I’m the Bomb) or “You can come and see my piece of shit band” (from It Ain’t Punkrock), Valentine is saying “Look at this shit!” when his drummer is performing a solo. Cynics could find it tiring, but a ‘go with the flow’ attitude makes it a very enjoyable night.
Even when they finish with ‘Fire’ they’re not finished entertaining. They have a talent for writing sings with heavy riffs and catchy choruses that keep the crowd going without having to know the words. It’s no deeper than a puddle at any stage but that’s not why people are there. People are there to sing along, dance, chant “We want Dick!” at various points in the night and be entertained for an hour and a half. It’s fair to say they got what they came for.
As long as Electric Six continue to play shows as fun and enjoyable as the one on Saturday, for me, they are welcome back any time they wish. See you next December, Dick.
Danger! High Voltage
I Invented the Night
Getting into the Jam
Vengeance and Fashion
I’m the Bomb
Down at McDonnelzzz
I Buy the Drugs
Germans in Mexico
Electric Six Photo Gallery
Photos: Michelle Geraghty