@ Newcastle O2 Academy, December 7 2012

When bands play gigs at the Academy on a Friday night they are always going to be in a race against time due to the venue’s infamous 10pm curfew.

And it felt cryingly obvious with Electric Six. But they warmed to the task after a ropey start.

Dick Valentine looked every inch the man that straddled the moose in the video for Danger, High Voltage – albeit the face that had gone through old-booth and come out the other side after 100 units of alcohol and 10 years of rock and roll. 

The Detroit rockers had one objective on the night and that was to play Fire – start to finish. The fact that they gave some extra to the crowd turned the gig into a Fire sandwich, where songs such as Bodyshot and Rip It were the bread to Fire’s meat.

Electric Six provide a light and smoke show that would put to shame Circe du Soleil but that was just all smoke and mirrors for what was a tired performance from Valentine and Co.

The frontman’s singing seemed drained, his cocky and sharp voice was dulled, his edgy vocals blunted by the sands of time – and possibly by 12 tinnies of Carlsberg.

The rest of the band did little to help their frontman out – bassist and guitarist stood idly by while Valentine tried to inject some energy into the act. But it was like watching Alan Shearer trying to play football in 2012 – he still knows how to do it but he can’t quiet move or act like he used to.

Electric Six raced through Fire and Valentine took to singing at a tempo much faster than the original recordings or the massed crowd. Maybe he was conscience of the time constraints laid on him by the venue and was anxious to provide the crowd with more to rock to.

The latter seems probable as, after Fire was played in its entirety, he informed everyone ‘We are going to play not one, not two, but three more songs for you’. Including the encore, Electric Six played five more songs after Fire had finished suggesting the penny had finally dropped that they needed to do more than merely pose.

Of course track eight on their debut album is their most infamous and the bass into Gay Bar was as incisive as ever – sparking mass excitement from the gathered faithful. Despite the frayed vocal cords of Valentine, the awkward dancing and the non-existent stage presence of the rest of the band, they still gave a performance that could be jumped and rocked out to. So much so that the majority of the crowd didn’t even notice the ladies energetically kissing each other just to the side of the dance floor…

Russell Hughes