Electric Six at the Grog Shop
I saw Electric Six at the Grog Shop this past Saturday. Now, the Grog Shop consistently has their shows start late (sometimes hours), but this time we managed to time it just right. Almost as soon as we arrived, the opening act started. In the past, I haven’t been too impressed by many of the opening acts I’ve seen there. I’m not sure I can justify that opinion considering I saw Los Campesinos! with opening acts The Smith Westerns and Girls, who subsequently blew up (in the indie/Pitchfork sense at least) soon after.
The first opener was Swarm of Bats – a local band with a big wall of reverb, which is something you might not think if you listened to their songs on their Myspace page. They started with a clatter of various drum hits and guitar twangs at which point I became worried that they were an experimental band.* But that resolved in due time to a punky stomper (after listening on their website, I believe it was “Zombies”). Their live sound was surprisingly polished; it sounded more like a raucous shoegazing band than the projected horror clips would have you believe.
*I don’t have anything against experimental bands, but that would not be what I want for an opening act. You don’t get to destroy my ears with random squealing unless you’re the headliner.
Next up was The Hot Rails. I really had no idea what to expect when they took the stage, as the guitarists, bassist, and drummer all looked like your timeless rock band – could have been anywhere out of the past 30 years. Then the lead singer lumbered on stage, drink in hand up to where two six packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon where placed on stage. After some amusing banter, he spent the first song alternately belting out lyrics and placing his beverages in strategic places across the stage. He was particularly charismatic and funny and the rest of the band was pretty damn skilled, too.
Electric Six came on soon after. We had staked out a pretty good spot front and center, but then douchebags happened. About a half dozen drunk guys decided that this was the place for mosh pit, or whatever the kids call it these days. This took me by surprise as (1) I had never seen this at the Grog Shop before and (2) Electric Six doesn’t seem very moshy to me.* Really, it wasn’t a mosh pit. That implies a group of many people. You’re not really a “pit” if you’re just like five guys – you’re just douchebags. Indeed, most of the surrounding people seemed more irritated than anything at this, including a grizzled Grog Shop employee who looked like he was going to snap and shank one of them. Eventually, we moved off to the side and back, which felt much more comfortable next to the guy in the cardigan awkwardly “dancing” and a guy writing down the set list to post on his message board.
*Go back to your Insane Clown Posse and Slipknot. Kthxbye.
Electric Six were fine and Dick Valentine’s enjoyment of Cleveland was obvious, including with his intimate knowledge of Cleveland area codes. They played some new stuff and some older singles, nothing too different than their album versions. Somehow they didn’t know the names of the opening bands. After Electric Six finished their set, Ken Janssen “apologized” to Electric Six over the PA on behalf of The Hot Rails and Swarm of Bats for “giving their bands name”, which was hilarious. Afterwords, we spoke with Janssen, who informed us that Electric Six had snubbed them before the show.
Anyways, I was very impressed with the opening acts and enjoyed them more than the headliner, which is absolutely the first time I’ve said that.
FYI, The Hot Rails have an album on CD Baby which I’m going to get next time I place a CD Baby order (CD Baby’s $5 sale!). Probably when Faded Paper Figures release their next album (coming in May!).
Arbitrary song of the day: Métal Urbain – Lady Coca Cola