eeshock@ Newcastle o2 Academy II, October 24 2009

Now, I’m not going to lie. Electric Eel Shock was my first ever rock/metal gig. This Japanese trio are doing their Attie Bauw (Judas Priest, Scorpions) engineered Sugoi Indeed (Super Indeed) tour of the UK, sounding like they’ve just been let loose from their dad’s garage and told to ‘see the world, son’.

They’ve been doing just that since 1999 and brought a part of their world to Academy II. Bassist Kazuto Maekawa, looking not dissimilar to Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, kept the catchy rock riffs solid. He complemented luscious locked lead singer Aki Morimoto who regularly yelled ‘you bastards’ as a term of endearment towards the sparse but engaged crowd.  
However, Japanese bizarreness was personified in drummer Tomoharu ‘Gian’ Ito, who appeared wearing only an over-length sock covering his…length. Forcing thoughts of ‘how is that staying on?’ aside during prolonged shows of beating drums and playing guitar with said sock, I marvelled instead at the four-stick drumming driving every track forward.

It was all I could do to stop myself from stripping off, leaping on stage and gyrating to the stomping, grinding beats that all of a sudden would get down and funky.

Obligatory head banging came from the young crowd lining the front, mirrored in a more restrained fashion by mature, predominantly male supporters behind. You couldn’t help but move to each song, performed by talented musicians who were genuinely thrilled to be there.

The hour-long set kept an energetic tempo throughout, climaxing in Aki being karate-chopped by his own guitar. Electric Eel Shock combine jaw-dropping showmanship with left of the middle crowd-pleasing tunes, pretty much guaranteeing any spectator a grand night out. Slightly Peter Pan-esque in maturity of sound, they are a great way to begin a rock journey and offer a comfortable rest stop for those well on their way.

Laura Gutfreund-Walmsley