Electric Boys Large

ELECTRIC BOYS – Funk – o – Metal Carpet Ride 25th Anniversary Concert, Debaser Medis, Stockholm 2014-12-20

Electric Boys litenTo play a whole album in its entirety is not a new thing, it’s been done by almost every somewhat big band on earth by now. Hell, Dream Theater even played other band’s albums in their entirety (The Number Of The Beast, Master Of Puppets). But the thing is, I have never been to such a show ever. The reason is mostly because the opportunity has never risen for me, but also because I think that the idea to do so is pretty overrated. I mean, one thing I like about live shows is the moment of surprise, that you don’t know exactly which songs the artist will play and in which order. To play your whole album back to back takes away that moment. Also, there are usually good reasons for some songs to never be played live. On the other hand, bands like Kiss and Mötley Crüe plays it safe tour after tour, playing the same old set list again and again, when they have so much cool stuff to choose from, also knowing that their hardcore fan base would die to hear some of their more obscure stuff live. Plain laziness, is what I call that. But when it comes to the Electric Boys and their debut album Funk-o-Metal Carpet Ride (1989), a whole different story appeared in my mind. I became a Electric Boys fan when I first heard their debut single “All Lips n’ Hips” back in 1988, when they still were just a duo, consisting of only lead guitarist and vocalist Conny Bloom (then Blomqvist) and bass player Andy Christell. The version of Funk-o-Metal Carpet Ride played this night is the European version and not the international one where Bob Rock produced five new tracks. Which suits me just fine. Nothing wrong with the second version at all, quite the contrary, but the first one has a more sentimental value to me and besides, there are quite a few songs on that album that they never play live anymore and my guess is that this night will be the only time they do so. Anyways, to go and see Electric Boys live is a real no-brainer as there are few bands who can kick butt when it comes to get a hot groove live and any Electric Boys gig should not be missed by any rocker out there.

The band is lucky enough to have a real kick-ass groover as the opening track on the album, “Psychedelic Eyes” because it’s more or less the perfect live opener as well and it gets the crowd kicking on the first chord. It feels a bit unusual to hear their biggest hit “All Lips n’ Hips” as the second song when it is the one that usually closes their concerts, but hey, if you’re gonna play the whole album back to back, then you have to do it the right way. Well, the tune is such a brilliant rocker with a groove that could make a paralyzed dance that it sure works like a charm anyway. The 1967 Beatles-esque tripper “Who Are You” has a kind of mellow groove but it also has those swinging verses and everybody are on their toes for that one as well. “Electrified” is a true Electric Boys classic by now and no EB-gig is complete without its infectious groove and catchy melody. I don’t have to state that it kicks big ass tonight. I can’t remember when I last heard the Boys play “Freaky Funksters” live, but they really should give it a place in their regular set. It’s a roaring funkrocker that could get any crowd rocking. I never understood why that song was left out of the second Carpet Ride version. Same with “Hallelujah! I’m On Fire”. It’s one of the guys’ best songs ever and it’s one hell of a live track. Awesome to hear it again. “Cheek To Cheek (In A Moonlit World)” is a ballad, a pretty good one, but Electric Boys has so many better songs than this one and it’s the only one that don’t get full response from the crowd this evening. Somebody at their American department at their record company must have thought that this was a hit to be. It wasn’t. It wasn’t even a single. Neither “Get Nasty” or “Party Up” made on to the international version of the album, but both were mandatory on the Boys first tours and tonight it was easy to see why. Both songs sits tight in the heart of their fans and they are both perfect in a live show. The title track finishes the album and also the first set of this show and there is no doubt that playing this album in its whole was a success. It sure looked like the band enjoy it too because the sheer joy of playing was really palpable and when the band is enjoying themselves this much, how can’t the audience?

After a three-minute break the Boys came back for the second set of the show. “Spaced Out” and “Desire” from their latest album, the fantastic Starflight United (2014) kicked the set off and there’s no doubt that Electric Boys really loves to play their new stuff live. To just travel around like a nostalgia act doesn’t cut it for this band. If they sounded tight and full of sparks on their first set, the band doubled that playing their newer material. It’s tight, hot, groovy and the band is on fire. The songs might not get the nostalgic ovations that their classics does, but they do go down really well and it’s nice to see that the new stuff is familiar with the crowd. Well, most of the punters anyway. 1994’s Freewheelin’ has gotten a lot of crap throughout the years and even tough it’s not the Boys’ greatest moment, it’s not a bad album at all. The album is usually overlooked when the guys hit the stage, but this night they play the brilliant “Ready To Believe” for the first time ever by this line-up (Martin Thomander (guitar) and Thomas Broman (drums) had replaced guitarist Franco Santunione and drummer Niclas Sigevall on that album). Thumbs up for that. “Mary In The Mystery World” (Groovus Maximus, 1992) might be a killer song on record but I always thought it falters live. For some reason, it lacks the spark and groove and it is just not a great live track. Not bad at all, but I went to the bar and got myself a beer during that song. Their latest single “If Only She Was Lonely” rocked much better and with that things went back to its groovy normal and the brilliant “Angel In An Armoured Suit” from the brilliant album …And Them Boys Done Swang (2011) kicked up just as much dust. It really shows that Electric Boys are as relevant today as they were in their prime. Hell, they are in their prime now! “Dying To Be Loved”, the heartfelt and soulful rock ballad from the second album Groovus Maximus shows us that even a ballad can groove like crazy when the band is on fire. Brilliant song, brilliant performance. “Tambourine” and “Bed Of Roses”, both from Groovus Maximus are two really weird choices to play and fact is, there are other much better songs to play from that album, but it really doesn’t matter because they work like a charm this night. The old Red Hot Chili Peppers cover “Party On Your Pussy” that they used to play in 1989 makes a come back this night. I’m not a big RHCP fan and in the Chili Peppers’ arms, I’m not that big on the song but Electric Boys did make that song their own back when and it still sounds that way tonight. Electric Boys are so good that they actually makes me like a RHCP song. Another cool welcome is “För Fet För Ett Fuck” (Too Fat For A Fuck). For fans outside of Sweden, this song might be a throwaway and it is a bit of a joke, but the tune was a massive hit, recorded with comedian Svullo (Mikael Dubois – RIP) so it holds a dear place in the hearts of Swedish fans and we loved to get it live one last time. “Captain Of My Soul”, one of the best songs from the international version of Carpet Ride (and one of EB’s best songs ever) ends the show and this is how you end stuff with a bang! Fantastic!!

Now, we all know that an encore will appear and it does – of course. “Rags To Riches”, another awesome track from the international Carpet Ride version sets the place alight and to finnish the whole thing with a long instrumental jam called “59 High Mountain St” from their latest album – a tribute to one Peo Berghagen of Universal Records who passed away in 2012 (High Mountain st is a translation of Peo’s address in Stockholm), the one guy who believed in Electric Boys from day one and stuck with them til the end – is a brave move but after Bloom’s heartfelt introduction of the song, no one dared to move one step out of the club. It was a great version and with the song’s kind of trippy, psychedelic hard rock blues groove, it was a perfect way to end the show (now that “All Lips n’ Hips” had already been played…). As a live band, Electric Boys never fails to impress. Drummer Niclas Sigevall also need a mention. What a kick-ass groove drummer he is. The Swedish answer to John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) I tell you. Ever since the late 80’s, the guys have been a tight unit that has won over every audience with an infectious groove, heart, soul, passion and love for music. Sure, there might be a track here and there that I would have switched, but as a whole, the guys played one helluva gig tonight. If you ever get chance to catch them in live action, get it. You’ll be sorry not to.

Jon Wilmenius (10/10)

Setlist:

1. Psychedelic Eyes
2. All Lips n’ Hips
3. Who Are You
4. Electrified
5. Freaky Funksters
6. Hallelujah! I’m On Fire
7. Cheek To Cheek (In A Moonlit World)
8. Get Nasty
9. Party Up
10. Funk-o-Metal Carpet Ride

Break

11. Spaced Out
12. Desire
13. Ready To Believe
14. Mary In The Mystery World
15. If Only She Was Lonely
16. Angel In An Armoured Suit
17. Dying To Be Loved
18. Tambourine
19. Bed Of Roses
20. Party On Your Pussy
21. För Fet För Ett Fuck
22. Captain Of My Soul

Encore:

23. Rags To Riches
24. 59 High Mountain St

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