Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Show review: Electric 6 at Double Door, 11/4

By Andrew Hertzberg

In the early 2000s, there was a swarm of bands that really seemed to care about making you dance. The biggest names grew into your Franz Ferdinands and your Killers. Those who wanted something a little left of center however, looked for the Detroit outfit Electric 6, fronted by the ridiculous and flamboyant Dick Valentine. Their breakout album was Fire back in 2003, and through various lineup changes, the group has managed to keep it together, releasing seven more full-lengths after. And if the turnout at the Double Door on Friday (their 12th appearance there) was any indication, they’ve been going non-stop to build a devoted fan base.

Surprisingly, the set didn’t entirely focus on tracks from the recently released Heartbeats and Brainwaves, and in fact, the first six songs were all from different albums. The night kicked off with "French Bacon," a driving synth guiding the tune as if Ric Ocasek took the Cars on the Autobahn. Likewise, the cheeky "Body Shot" ended with a little reggae jam. The crowd loved all of the left turns that the band was throwing out, but I certainly didn’t expect "Gay Bar" to pop out in the middle of the set. The romantic tune (and kinky but historically accurate and certainly NSFW music video) certainly got the best response, especially when it went into a psych-jam psych-out before returning to "Gay Bar Part Two" from 2008’s Flashy. Appropriately, this was followed by "She’s White," referenced at the end of the previous song. Bouncing around genres again, "Formula 409" was a saxy almost no-wave jam about the multi-purpose cleaner, complete with extended soloing.

Although the group first got real notice in the 2000s, they originally started out as the Wildbunch, formed in 1996. Fifteen years later they’re still playing material from the early days, and treated the diehards at Double Door to "Don’t Be Afraid of the Robot." Throughout the set, you could notice Valentine wasn’t always willing to hit those falsettos that sound so crimson on wax (or 0s and 1s), but he commanded the dance that night. As such, it was quite the tease to end the set with "Dance Commander" and then leave us to our own devices. But if the past is any indication, Electric 6 will make a welcome return to the Double Door sometime soon.

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