Electric Six @ O2 Academy Islington, December 14 2013

Andy D and Anna Vision
Andy D and Anna Vision

If you turn up at an Electric Six gig and find Andy D supporting, your first thought is likely to be “that makes sense”. Andy himself is a very outgoing, chubby (with only an undone denim jacket covering his upper half), and humorous man, whose enthusiastic style of singing is very much the joke. He comes with his wife, Anna Vision, a pink-haired, costumed lady reminiscent of Paloma Faith, although her vocals alone weren’t quite up to carrying the act.

Regardless, their act along to an electro backing track was unique and enjoyable, especially when Electric Six frontman Dick Valentine joined them on stage to everyone’s delight.

Electric Six always tour the UK at this time of year. This was me and Frazer’s fourth time seeing them but, crucially, the first in London and not York. The atmosphere was completely different – instead of nonchalant locals just out for something to do mixed in with some overeager teenagers who get on everyone’s nerves, there was a great crowd of music-loving Londoners who actually cared about the band (the chat “we want Dick!” was always enjoyable).

Electric Six
Electric Six

The band responded to this by giving back a great energy, even while systematically doing their usual in-jokes and gestures. Dick’s stares and poses during guitar solos will never get old, and neither will his rhapsodic declarations of love for “my drummer”.

The most exciting thing that happened was that, to close the show before the encore, Electric Six played Radio Ga Ga. This Queen cover was their fourth and last single to chart in the UK back in 2004 and they very rarely play it live, largely due to bitterness at being told what to do commercially at that point in their career.

However, the song always seemed to fit extremely well with the Electric Six style and seeing it live was a privilege (good luck even finding a live version on YouTube). The synchronised hand claps and Dick’s naturally Mercury-emulating vocals were just wonderful.

Electric Six joined by Andy D and Anna Vision
Electric Six joined by Andy D and Anna Vision

Before that though, Down At McDonnelzzzGay Bar and Gay Bar Part Two especially got people singing along with their catchiness and appeal to all Electric Six fans. Adam Levine and Show Me What Your Lights Mean were two highlights from the new album Mustang, with the former perhaps their angriest song and the latter dedicated to the girls who are always a minority in their audiences.

Although there were several more niche songs that didn’t engage the audience quite so easily – Boy Or Girl, It Gets Hot – Electric Six were on top form and proved that the best bands only get better with age. Now in their eleventh year, the encore of Cheryl vs Darryl, another from Mustang, and Dance Commander, the third song to popularise them, seemed a fitting tribute to both ends of their career so far.

Dick Valentine
Dick Valentine
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