The Electric Six Petit Campus, Montreal QC - February 11, 2006

"You!" You? I can't quite believe that this is Dick Valentine. Having missed their last swing through town, and never having paid attention to their promo photos, I guessed that the Electric Six's singer would be big and flamboyant, like the New York Dolls' David Johansson, with a physique and face to match that disco commandant voice. Instead, he's a stocky, sport-coat-wearing guy you would expect to see in an office cubicle, greeting the crowd with a semi-wry, semi-shit-eating grin and what looks like ironically enthusiastic waving. At one point, he hooked his jacket on his index finger and posed like a male model; later, he stripped down to boxers to sing his apocalyptic solo ballad, "Jimmy Carter." When I interviewed Valentine last fall (by phone), he described a segment of the band's fan base as "stupid frat guys." Amid the tattooed rockers, tasteful goths and assorted students, the air was certainly rank with frat vibes, judging by the jumping, pointing and yelling along to the band's big tunes — apparently, a whole lotta jocks would like to accompany Valentine (or each other) to a homosexual drinking establishment. Of course, they whipped the crowd into a frenzy with "Gay Bar" and "Danger! High Voltage," but — as Valentine noted with a smidgeon of bitterness — Electric Six have a new album, Senor Smoke. Luckily, the fans were (almost) equally stoked for new sleaze rock rousers like "Rock and Roll Evacuation," "Bite Me," "Be My Dark Angel" and the set-closing cover of Queen's "Radio Ga Ga." I can't say Electric Six delivered an incredibly energetic, intense or theatrical show (stripping aside), but between their minimal rock'n'roll moves, the singer's bizarre stage presence and the heat they instilled in the crowd, a fire was set nonetheless.