Gig Review: Electric Six/Kut/Red Rav and the Reprobates at 02 Islington Academy, London

If you regularly read my reviews, then you will know this gig was a change of programme from my usual musical choices of angry women. Almost 20 years ago, “Danger! High Voltage!” came out (how is that even possible??) and I was supposed to go to an Electric Six gig but the fates conspired against me. All this time later- a marriage and lots of moving house and career changes later, the fates decided it was finally time for me to see this band. I hadn’t really listened to the band in this rather long interim, so I was rather shocked first of all to realise not only that they were still going, but also that they had since released a further NINETEEN albums!! Basing my opinion on songs from so many years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect, my instinct was it was likely to be a good time, but with all this time passed, would it be?

After getting a little confused where the venue was (tucked away in a little corner of a shopping centre, not really the most obvious place to find a gig venue). I arrived, and unfortunately I had missed most of the first support act-The Kut’s set. I had looked them up beforehand and was looking forward to them. The Kut is solo artist and multi instrumentalist Princess Maha, who tours with a collective of female musicians. I only got to see the last few songs of their set but I completely loved their rock n roll attitude and it seemed the audience did too. A lot of people seemed familiar with their music and when the band were signing merchandise at the merch stall, I could see there was a lot of demand for people wanting to speak to them. They exuded coolness and played like they were the main headliner. I’m really excited to hear more from The Kut.

The second support act Red Rav and the Reprobates filled the stage, there were seven of them I believe. The best way to describe the music was country tinged. It wasn’t my thing personally. The audience seemed to gradually warm up to this band as they went which did help with the bands good sense of humour. They joked about their accents, the real need for songs about sand, and introduced a song about trouble with an utility company saying they couldn’t name the company for legal reasons, only to say the song title “Scottish Power I Hate You.” By the end of the set there were quite a few people having a hoedown in the audience.

Finally it was time for the main headliner. First Dick Valentine asked the audience if they liked American music and then  introduced the band as Electric Five on this occasion as the synth player was unwell, so he dedicated their first song to him, which was of course ‘Synthesiser”. First song in, and already you could see Dick’s charisma shining through as he waved to different parts of the audience as he performed.

The energy felt slightly muted to begin with despite the charisma on the first few songs, but by the time the fourth song kicked in, the energy felt more vibrant and alive. Dick Valentine spoke a lot during the show, making lots of references to being a long lasting band. He joked that 48 Presidents had been and gone in the time they have been going, and also a joke about standing to prove they still can. He also said they had signed up for at least another four albums.

This particular gig happened to also fall on an England World Cup Match day which you never would have guessed by how crowded the gig was, and this didn’t go unnoticed, “Since you’re all missing a big match today, I’m gonna give you one extra song for FREE!” Dick Valentine said with a grin. When they started the next song you saw him glance at his phone, and by his face, I would definitely guess he was checking the football score!

Despite the fact I only knew a few of the songs, this gig was probably one of the most fun I have ever been to. Honestly Electric Six was all I had hoped for from them and more. The band looked quite serious but this was only serious in the sense of SERIOUS joy. It was fun, exciting and enchanting. After witnessing this gig, I’m now going to visit all the albums I missed and catch up, so next time I will have even more fun, as who doesn’t want that?

The setlist was

  • Synthesiser
  • Bride of the Devil
  • Rock and Roll Evacuation
  • Pulling the Plug on the Party
  • Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother)
  • Down at McDonnelzzz
  • The New Shampoo
  • Gay Bar
  • Gay Bar Part Two
  • She’s White
  • Night Vision
  • Future Is in the Future
  • Improper Dancing
  • (Who the Hell Just) Call My Phone?
  • Danger! High Voltage
  • Panic! Panic!
  • Dance Epidemic
  • I Buy the Drugs
  • Dance Commander
  • Encore:
  • The Afterlife
  • Vengeance and Fashion
    (The Dirty Shame cover)
  • After Hours

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Review by Hayley Foster da Silva, Photos by Martina Horackova

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