Music Reviews

Down at Camden Underworld, with Electric six

Tony Erdelyi reports from Camden Underworld where Electric Six remain electrifying
E6’s Dick Valentine “doesn’t fluff a note” while on tour at Camden Underworld. Photography by Conor Treston (instagram handle: @ct_photography1210)

Some 26 years after they first formed, Detroit six-piece band, Electric Six, are once again on tour – for the first time in two years. Not only that; they’re here with a new album, Streets of Gold – a high octane collection of cover songs of rock classics from Alice Cooper and Kiss through to Fleetwood Mac and The Jam. A mouth-watering prospect, are we right? (We are right). And bearing witness to these musical delights at Camden Underworld, London, was Nothing in the Rulebook reviewer, Tony Erdelyi, who reports back…

I was at the bar when, to my surprise, Electric 6 open with their heart string puller and normally closing ballad, Synthesiser. Ok, fine, if that’s how you want to play it.

Drink in hand, I rush to the stage to find a less animated E6 than I’d expect and remember them to be from years past. It takes me a couple of songs to realise that they’re not having a bad time; rather, they’ve matured. “Oh no, if they’re mature, what does that make me?” I start pondering.

All existential worry has dissipated by the time they’re done with Naked Pictures (‘Of your mother!’ go the crowd-generated gang vocals), as I realise that they pack more character and musical professionalism than most bands can hope to aim for.

The E6 brand of disco-infused rock only stops for healthy doses of Dick Valentine’s charming stage bullshit as we continue through a set featuring half the tunes off their hit album Fire, including – of course – Danger! High Voltage and Gay Bar, back to back nonetheless. Quite improper dancing ensues near the front. The White Wolf makes his guitar leads howl through the night with a posture only a seasoned party man can pull off. Valentine’s voice box doesn’t fluff a note and Rob Lower’s disco bass holds the band together whilst simultaneously being all over the fret board. His demeanour is cool like crushed ice, the slick.

I’m The Bomb is played to the crowd’s audible delight as well as the Eminem teasing Down At McDonaldz. At this point we feel the sands of time slip away and it really is time for some Improper Dancing. The crowd oblige. I nail the ‘stop’ and scream ‘continue’ only to find that they break into another tune entirely. The joke’s at the crowd’s expense. As they play a full two-minute tune in the intended two second gap, we grin at being had by the band. The much anticipated ‘continue’ arrives and E6 wrap up Improper Dancing. Off they go so we can all giddily role play the encore charade and of course the Dance Commander and his crack team of leisure operatives return to the stage, giving the Underworld its last orders.

6 nuclear bombs out of 75 minutes.

About the reviewer

Tony Erdelyi is an enabler, purveyor of blast beats at Chimpyfest, which is a London based grindcore festival of ten years. He plays three of seven strings in goregrind outfit Nganga. More information about Chimpyfest and Nganga can be found via the website, on Facebook, and through Bandcamp.

Photography by Conor Treston (instagram handle: @ct_photography1210)

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