Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Dick Valentine needed some fire from the Fort Lauderdale crowd, and he occasionally got it. During Tuesday night's set, the Electric Six frontman exhibited that he had done his part to get ready for a blistering set of funk- and new wave-fueled sleaze. Through squinted eyes, he sized up the semifull Culture Room and made a solemn promise: "We're going to understand each other and then go out for Chinese food." His tongue was loose from chugging white wine ("Don't mind if I fucking do," he bellowed before taking another gulp from the bottle), his red shirt and black suit glistening like expensive appliances, and after sizing up the microphone stand's weight, it was no problem extending it from his midsection like the phallic innuendos dripping from his lips.
Things got off to a rollicking start with "After Hours," a brisk entry from the band's recently released seventh album, Zodiac, but after the obligatory "Gay Bar" (and "Gay Bar, pt. 2"), Valentine started showing some frustration that his audience wasn't settling into the palm of his hand. Blame it being a Tuesday night or whatever, but no one likes feeling as if they're the only wasted one in the room.
Instead of full-on stalking the floor while the rest of Electric Six's intrepid lineup scorched the keyboards, furnished a two-guitar attack, and synced drums and bass to coax the jelly in everyone's hips to a full-on shake -- all while looking the part of a thrift-store buyer's club -- Valentine was often striking exaggerated poses for pictures. The most egregious moment came in the middle of "Danger! High Voltage," arguably the Six's trademark song, when he turned into a wax figure for what seemed like an eternity. To introduce "Down at McDonnelzzz," he haughtily asked the crowd "Who has a gym membership?" and a couple of folks raised their hands. "This is the final song!" he then added, and looked like that was his wish as they took a break.
Judging by past set lists, this was a typical length for an Electric Six show, but the level of abandon in the building (with notable exuberant exceptions in the balcony and a goateed guy throwing up devil's horns every two minutes) was pretty low. By the time set-closer "Dance Commander" was in full swing, the room finally felt charged and got a couple of Thriller-style claw-dance moves out of Valentine. Exciting but ultimately too late.
Personal bias: Zodiac is one of E6's strongest albums since the beginning, and "Jam It in the Hole" (as well as "After Hours" and "American Cheese") will hopefully stick around for years to come.
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Random detail: Guitarist Johnny Na$hinal looked his happiest and played fiercely after a lit cigarette arrived in his mouth via a burly member of the crowd.
Overheard after the show: "We're getting some tattoos next door!"
Gay Bar, pt. 2
Jam It in the Hole
It Ain't Punk Rock
Danger! High Voltage
I Buy The Drugs
Down at McDonnelzzz
The Rubberband Man