Just over a year ago, I was at an Electric Six show at Southampton Engine Rooms, which I remember fondly not only for a great performance from the headliners, but a brilliant show from support act Mutant Monster. I got very excited to find that Mutant Monster were going to be visiting London on their European tour in 2019, but was quickly disheartened to find that I wouldn’t be able to make it there. So how did I console myself? At about 3AM, on a whim, I bought a ticket to see Electric Six again!
Although they are a band who shamelessly acknowledge that a lot of those in attendance want them to shut up at play the hits (Frontman Dick Valentine even assured the crowd four songs in that they shouldn’t worry – “those were our four worst songs!”), they didn’t dig out as many Fire tracks as they did last time they played, this time choosing to play only the mainstays (the singles, ‘Synthesizer’ and ‘Improper Dancing’).
It’s often fun to hear acts from abroad try and stick their nose in the UK’s matters, and Electric Six dished this out in spades, first with a reference to how they had just come from Dublin – “You are right to leave them behind. Ireland is full of really, really thick people. Except… the north? I don’t know…”. Even namedropping “the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems” sounds bizarre to me in a US accent. Dick made mention of how he had earlier swam a few laps of the Isle of Wight, where he heard crosstalk that Electric Six just isn’t cool anymore. Boo! Dick was defiant to show that that wasn’t the case – “who here grew up with Electric Six? Who here took a bet that Electric Six wouldn’t be around anymore by now? How does it feel to know you were wrong?”.
This obviously got a big reaction from the audience, but I was slightly disappointed by the crowd, which was substantially more sparse than at their Engine Rooms show. I think that this was to do with how densely packed the Engine Rooms was (it has an adaptable capacity), which led to a more intense rock concert atmosphere with a lot of singing and jumping around. However most people were very still during this show, and I imagine a few people there wanted to dance, but no one wanted to be the first. That didn’t stop a couple a small group of drunkards who decided during ‘Dance Commander’ to literally throw their approximately 6’4″ friend around, and unfortunately on occasion, in my direction. This was definitely by no fault of the band.
I’ve mentioned before Dick’s favourite party trick of standing unusually still during extended solo sections, statuesque. This picture is of him during the solo in ‘Danger! High Voltage’, and could have been taken within any point during that period. He also had some weirdly (in)appropriate choices of dance moves for the line “every boy and every girl” during ‘Synthesizer’.
At the end of the show, I got to briefly meet Dick Valentine at the merch table and got a rather unflattering photo of us outside the toilets. (How long before someone makes a joke about there being two dicks on this photo?). There is a running trend when it come on photos taken after shows with the performers. They grin on everyone else’s but look pissed off on mine. It’s a blessing that my photos with Dev Hynes and Tim Minchin have been lost. My phone had not yet been set up probably, and when I brought up the camera it asked if I wanted to set up “Bixby Vision”, whatever that is. Dick commented, “Bixby Vision? Is that your name?”. Then as I walked away, “thanks for coming Bixby”. Thank you for a great evening!