Electric Six attack First Ave

Tony Libera

I’ve been shakin’ it to Electric Six records since the salad days of 2003. That’s when “Fire” came out and the world was privileged to “Danger! High Voltage” and a host of other über-groovy, cock-rock jams. Subsequent records found the Detroit tunes getting more eclectic, more composed, but always wild and hilarious. To my dismay, I had never seen Dick Valentine and the boys live … until last night.

I had heard an Electric Six show was simply an “experience.” Truer words were never spoken.

 The lights went up at First Avenue and Dick Valentine strutted onstage, a smirk smeared across his face, his blazer signifying the classiness that would never come. He approached the microphone, squinted at the crowd and announced — with a completely different voice than the macho growl he sings in — that he had lost a bet, the conditions of which forced him to drop acid and attempt to do a good show à la Hendrix. He succeeded.

The set was varied, featuring songs from throughout the sextet’s career, including a few off the new album, “Kill,” which came out back in October. Still, the modern classics like “Gay Bar” and "We Were Witchy Witchy White Women" were the songs that made the crowd go wild, devolving into mindless savages. Valentine swaggered and staggered in his drug-fueled haze, and the spectators loved every minute of it, calling the group back for two outrageous encores. My ears are still ringing.

The Six closed the night with “Dance Commander” and the pit once again erupted into a mess of flailing brutes and masochistic human-pogo hybrids. Valentine brought the house down and ultimately left the swirling horde satisfied. The attendees returned from the primal brink, hugged one another and thanked the band for an amazing night of debauched sounds and depraved shimmying.

It was an experience.