I first got tipped off about the Electric Six when a friend sent me links to their videos on YouTube. Funny stuff, in a lowbrow sort of way. Adam Sandler could front this band. E6 is one of those acts that fly beneath the radar on their home turf (Detroit) but are way more popular as an export. In this case, the U.K. is where E6 has charted well and received club and radio support.
Why? For one thing, the band sounds as if they could be British…but the Electric Six came up in the same Detroit club scene that produced the White Stripes. The overseas draw may also be due in part to the band’s sense of humor, full of the sexed-up puns and goofball jokes and the ribald observations that Brit sitcoms are known for. Beneath the comic front lurks a serious retro disco-rock band but one that wants to take their listeners to an Abe Lincoln-esque gay bar and make a little noise: “Let’s start a war, start a nuclear war/ At the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar/ Wow!/ At the gay bar.”
Dick Valentine is the founder and E6’s main songwriter, and he’s been quoted in the music press as saying that his songs are “about nothing.” The Electric Six first surfaced in the late 1990s, broke up soon after, and then reformed in 2002. By the next year, things were looking up. They had a sweaty club-band hit in the U.K. with “Danger! High Voltage,” the video for which has a Masterpiece Theatre look to it, with the exception of the subject’s glowing genitalia. Buffoonery like that may be a hard fit within a scene where most American indie rockers are too cool to laugh, but I, for one, hope that Dick Valentine never grows up.
ELECTRIC SIX: The Casbah, Tuesday, November 10, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $15.