Friday, 28 November 2014

Electric Six

Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Electric Six - Edinburgh 2014

27th November 2014

Few bands over the last decade or so appear to to have burst into the mainstream and then equally swiftly disappeared from it with such efficiency as Electric Six. 

2003 (Christ, was it as long ago as that!?) saw the band enjoy two whopping hit singles in Danger! High Voltage and Gay Bar – both helped along by marvellously eccentric videos.  The accompanying album Fire was a unique smorgasbord of rock, funk and disco all laced with a sly-wit not often associated with our friends from across the pond.

But then it all dried up, apparently overnight.  The follow-up album Senor Smoke yielded no hits (a sloppy version of Radio Ga-Ga aside), and just appeared to be an inferior regurgitation of their debut – in fact sounding like a collection of songs initially not deemed good enough for Fire.

But here they are eleven years on with ten studio albums under their belt still plugging their unique rock and roll vaudeville experience.  Dipping into each of those releases over the years (don’tcha just love YouTube and Spotify) I had found each new recording to be naught but a small but progressive further dilution of whatever magic they had summoned up with Fire.   Although there were gems to be found, if one dug deep enough: Body Shot, Down at McDonaldzzz and the delightfully titled Jam in the Hole spring to mind.

I have to say I had expected more of a dance/disco vibe to proceedings this evening, but these guys clearly felt the easiest way to get through to their audience is by grungy riffing.  Which was generally fine, but I felt a second keyboard player rather than a second guitarist could have more accurately represented their studio sound.  But what do I know?

The new tune Karate Lips which opened the set, the tongue-in cheek lyric apart, sounded like some Deep Purple/Rainbow parody.  The New Shampoo was great fun, as was Gay Bar and a fine time was being had by all.

And yet something peculiar undoubtedly occurred midway through the show.

After a rendition of It Gets Hot where the band had been joined by Mr. and Mrs. Andy D (the warm-up act), a chant arose from amongst the enthusiastic young Turks who formed the mosh pit.  Even my Caledonian ears could not make it out, but the word Fuck was in their I am sure.  The band looked totally nonplussed trying to work out what was going on, until vocalist Tyler Spencer growled at them “Just start the song”, and we moved into Improper Dancing.

Once this one was done, cue much whispering among the band.  Clearly some amendment (as it transpired, truncation of) the set list was in hand.  The other biggie was played, and then we were presented with just two more and off they went.  Between these last few songs Spencer clearly took out his phone on two occasions to slyly read texts, not in a self-deprecating part-of-the-act manner, but I think he genuinely felt he could get away with it without any of us fools noticing.  

Had we pissed him off in some way?

I thought the band may even forego the encore business completely, but they returned to do an even odder thing.  Apparently some Number-one Scottish fan had been given the privilege of choosing the encore for the evening.  And in true Electric Six contrary style, he had insisted on not one but four songs – four complete obscurios from the depths of the band's back catalogue; none of which had even been played live before, we learned.

Even the hard core support around me were going “What the fuck….?”, as the band perfunctorily plodded their way through the quartet of real turkeys.  The chaps did redeem themselves in my eyes anyway, to a degree by summoning  up a coruscating rendition of Boy or Girl to close out.  But nevertheless I couldn't shake the impression the whole lot of them just could not wait to get offstage.  For whatever reason.

Electric Six - Edinburgh 2014

Electric Six - Edinburgh 2014

Electric Six - Edinburgh 2014

Electric Six - Edinburgh 2014

At the end of the gig as I hung around looking to blag a set list off one of the roadies I realised why this place was called The Liquid Room, as the floor was literally awash with the dregs from lazily discarded bottles, cans and plastic tumblers.  

Just take ‘em back to the bar, folks.


Karate Lips
Dance Commander
Down at McDonnelzzz
The New Shampoo
Gay Bar
Gay Bar Part Two
She's White
Dance Pattern
It Gets Hot
Improper Dancing/Who The Hell Just Call My Phone?
Danger! High Voltage
I Buy the Drugs

Unnatural Beauty
Talking Turkey
I Belong in a Factory
Good View of the Violence

Boy or Girl?

The setlist as perhaps it was intended - only four
of the last eight on the list were played.

1 comment:

  1. Electric Six are a complete mystery to me, though a bit of research did turn up a couple of tracks I recognised. This sounds like a gig of two halves. I do like the Liquid Room as a venue though.