Electric Six @ Bar l’Escogriffe – 25th September 2017

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Electric 6  Bar l'Escogriffe

It was mostly curiosity that drove me to tonight’s show. Curiosity to see how the band that rocketed into the mainstream in 2003 with those two songs are faring 14 years later, and curiosity to check out this new venue I keep hearing about, Bar l’Escogriffe. In terms of the latter, it’s basically one of those hip bars along St Denis, a few steps down from the sidewalk, and it’s abundant in cool and character, but seriously lacking in one thing: air conditioning. By the time I arrive towards the end of support band Groves‘ set, it’s essentially a sauna… with a similar lack of ventilation. My camera lens fogs up almost instantly, rendering it unusable for most of the evening. And that’s before the crowd packs in for tonight’s headliner.

Hailing from Detroit, 6-piece Electric Six have largely flown under the radar since their flirtation with the mainstream back in 2003 with Danger! High Voltage and the hilarious Gay Bar. That’s not to say they’ve been on hiatus, or taking it easy; this year, they have already released their 15th album, and plan to release their 16th before years end, all since 2003. 16 albums in 14 years is prolific by anyone’s standards!

Electric Six montreal

Frontman Dick Valentine jokes about this soon after the band arrive on stage. “Montreal, it’s been too long! 4, 9, 15 years? In that time we put out 15 albums, we’re gonna try and sell you some tonight so we can reach the US Border!” The set then opens with Rock and Roll Evacuation, After Hours, and the dance funk of Satanic Wheels, after which Dick proclaims “those are the worst 3 songs we have, song 4 is the best one we have!” With that, they dive into Down At McDonnelzzz, and much of the crowd sings along heartily, screaming the “NO!” part of the chorus as loud as they can.

Right afterwards, Dick addresses the elephant in the room: “this isn’t even in our top 10 hot shows…though Toronto was a little cooler, I’ll give you that.” One song later, “we’re getting into the top 10 hot now, I’m losing electrolytes.” After The New Shampoo and classic Gay Bar and Gay Bar Part 2, “now we’re into the top 7 of hot shows.” Nobody disagrees around the stage. “OK let’s move to the dance material before we all fade away.” With that, the funky Improper Dancing and (Who The Hell Just) Call My Phone? gets the dance grooves going despite the oppressive heat, before the breakthrough Danger! High Voltage gets an unsurprisingly huge response, with both guitarists Da Vė and Johnny Na$hinal climbing the front amps and leaning into the crowd guitars-first.

The main set closes out with I’ll Be In Touch, Dance Epidemic and I Buy the Drugs, which some of the crowd somehow manage to pogo throughout; credit to them for that! I was stood relatively still for most of the show, and I’m still basically soaked to the skin! Dick acknowledges the crowd as he leaves the stage: “thank you for sacrificing your bodies and electrolytes for Electric Six!” 6 songs in total are cut from the set list that was played in Toronto the show previously, which is perfectly understandable given the circumstances…

Electric 6 Bar l'Escogriffe Montreal

The band soon re-emerges, sans blazers and waistcoats (yep, somehow Dick and one guitarist wore Blazers throughout the entire duration of the main set), and shirts altogether in some cases. Dick announces “be sure to pick up our new record on the way out, it don’t cost nothin’!” Amusingly, a voice from the back of the venue yells back “it costs $20!”

After a few laughs around the venue, the AC/DC-esque How Dare You? is then followed by oldie Dance Commander, and that group in the middle of the floor jumps around one final time, before the show closes out after a fun, but incredibly sweaty, 65 minutes. Leaving the stage, Dick announces “thank you so much, Canadian Tour decimated!” A pretty good appraisal indeed; despite difficult conditions, Electric Six crushed it, no, decimated it, tonight!

Setlist

Rock and Roll Evacuation

After Hours

Satanic Wheels

Down At McDonnelzzz

(Be My) Skin Caboose

The New Shampoo

Gay Bar

Gay Bar Part Two

Improper Dancing

(Who The Hell Just) Call My Phone?

Danger! High Voltage

I’ll Be In Touch

Dance Epidemic

I Buy the Drugs

Encore

How Dare You?

Dance Commander

Review & photos – Simon Williams

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