ELECTRIC SIX, ROCK KILLS KID
at the Key Club, March 10
Rock Kills Kid made me giggle, the way singer Jeff Tucker caressed the microphone like a lover while the keyboardist acted like a $300 ski jacket and scarf were the most natural things in the world to rock out in. The opening Talk Talk–esque key stabs, the drummer’s air-slicing high-hat paradiddles, and a spot-on cover of “Lips Like Sugar” were fun, but the overall whiff of late-’80s alt-rock mush brought to mind INXSmiths and the EchoCure.
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Electric Six owned the place the moment they took the stage in their shticky silk suits and wide-lapelled dress shirts. The Motor City sextet ripped through the MILF mock-ode “Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother),” “Gay Bar,” “Danger! High Voltage” and the rest of their buzz-guitared, synth-frosted goodness with the efficiency of the Bee Gees gone headbanger. Though singer Dick Valentine’s surreal anti-Bush mini-skit momentarily baffled the bouncing crowd, it was soon back to SinglesLand with “Rock and Roll Evacuation” and familiar pinwheeling dance moves.
Beyond their addictive tunes, what makes the Sixers special is Valentine, a sly culture critic and effortless comedian who gets laughs with the most casual “you da man”–type finger pointing or the way he makes a throwaway lyric like “evil boys eating evil hamburgers” oddly Zeitgeisty instead of just wacky. The band whipped out zingers and hooks with such ease, it made the semiserious set closer, “Jimmy Carter” — featuring the singer solo with guitar — come off maudlin and forced.
The band was in prankster mode, doling out frustrating pseudo-encores when we thought a new song was coming. For real, though, the quasi-psychedelic breakdown was badass, not boring the way most exploratory jams are. Best of all, it gave Dick a chance to get in his ab crunches.