It’s been five years since the Japanese cult rockers Electric Eel Shock have graced the Emerald Isle. Five friggin’ long years! I remember their previous visit to the city, and being astonished by their energy and total insanity! Thanks to the efforts of Shizznigh PR and Voodoo Belfast, a dull post-work Wednesday night was quickly uplifted with aural debauchery. The billing tonight featured the chaotic genre-bending trio, alongside grrrls with attitude and a mean bite in the form of the hard-hitting Sister Ghost, and new-starts Gender Chores from Bangor.
First up at the strike of 9pm was Gender Chores. All the way from glamorous Bangor, County Down, I’ve only heard their name mentioned on the grapevine once before. Tonight saw the three-piece – comprised of Sam, Sophie and AJ – channel their inner Pauline Murray [of Penetration] and Slits-esque post-punk vibes through their confronting song-writing and political versing. Rough n’ ready, three-chord thrash out juxtaposed Raincoats-style jangle driven by their straight-to-the-point manifesto – standing together in persistence against oppressive toxic cultural attitudes and narrow-minded philosophies of the zeitgeist. I’m keeping my eye on Gender Chores, more is yet to come.
I’ve seen Sister Ghost on a number of occasions, performing together with esteemed acts including Steve Albini’s Shellac, Russian activists Pussy Riot, and Le Butcherettes fronted by the ever charismatic Terri Genderbender. Executing Sonic Youth’s dynamism with Shannon’s expansive vocals overlain, enveloped within L7 and Bikini Kill’s aggressiveness, and harnessing a Melvins hammering rhythm and low-end section to tie it all together – Sister Ghost kept up expectations with a vicious supporting performance. Noisy tracks such as Emily, Her Mind and Growing Pains stood right out through the noise and energy. Catch the band again soon on March 8th for events linked to International Women’s Day.
To a barrage of feedback, the reserved Electric Eel Shock who watched the support bands with beers in hand morphed into another animal. The trio were already throwing themselves around the stage before the first song began. Meanwhile, behind the kit, drummer Gian armed with 4 drumsticks suggestive of a delusional Edward Scissorhands, was stripped of all clothing. Butt-naked, Gian adjusted his long signature sock on his cock, which was wrapped around his neck to double up as a towel. To the sounds of ‘Suicide Rock N’ Roll’ – Aki was on the monitors with his signature Flying-V in one hand and the microphone stand in the other pointing it into people’s faces screaming “GIMME SUICIDE ROCK N’ ROLL” together with brother-in-arms and bassist Kazuto.
What followed can only be described as a sudden chaotic explosive event ensuing at deadly speed with heavy garage riffs, throbbing bass lines, deafening sharp drum beats, and plentiful amounts of posing and interactions. This is everything (and more) that you want on a chilly Wednesday night, or any night for that matter. Electric Eel Shock were just getting started! Matching hysterical stage movements with tongue-in-cheek humour, songs like ‘Bastard’ had the band encouraging clapping, calling all punters the lovely word and inducing lethal doses of grooving MC5 riffs! Head-banging tunes including ‘So Much 80s’ and ‘Do The Metal’ sent the crowd into a time-warp of pure heavy metal riffage and blistering hair metal solos, not only exemplifying the band’s wholehearted love of all things rock n’ roll, but also their tightness as a unit and Aki’s technical prowess as a frontman/axeman! Their 70-minute set, comprised of pure attitude and madness that celebrated the back-catalogue of an impressive 25-year career, was rounded off with a melody of metal and rock tunes incorporating the likes of Ozzy and Sabbath.
Voodoo has seen some amazing gigs this year, and Electric Eel Shock have continued this trait appropriately. F***ing AWESOME!