Electric Boys, Sheffield Corporation, 20.09.14

Electric Boys, formed in the late 1980s in Sweden, is one of those bands that are lumped in with the “’80s hair metal” scene, but this band actually doesn’t share many features in common with the likes of Motley Crue, Poison or Quiet Riot. With Electric Boys, there is none of the macho muscle-flexing in their music that is associated with ’80s rock. Their sound is often flamboyant, but it’s apparent that any ‘eccentricities’ that Electric Boys hold all come naturally, whereas with the likes of the aforementioned other bands their attempt at being ‘different’ was to wear make-up – quite a bit of a failed attempt at changing their sound, you have to agree. So whereas other rock band of the time were singing about using and abusing women, the amount of drugs they supposedly took and the number of parties they’d been invited to, Electric Boys were creating a study in funk-infused rock that didn’t involve copy-pasting from old funk artists, instead pulling influence from the likes of The Beatles and Zappa.

Electric Boys' Starflight United, yet to be released in the UK.

Electric Boys’ Starflight United,
yet to be released in the UK.

The Electric Boys split in the mid-’90s after losing their cult following, only to reform in 2009 after the split of Hanoi Rocks, with whom bassist Andy ‘AC’ Christell and singer/guitarist Conny Bloom were pulling bass/rhythm guitar duties for. Since this reformation in 2009, Electric Boys have enjoyed a renewed sense of small time success, with the ability to release new albums to a great response and to then take their new music around to various countries across the globe. This brings us to the Corporation in Sheffield. The Electric Boys have a new cult-esque following, made of the old and the young, all nicely spaced out in this tiny room just outside of the shops in Sheffield. “March of the Spirits” rolls out of the speakers, and the band appear one by one to light but excited applause. The night’s set is short but well-rounded, and the new songs included get a good reception even though the album (Starflight United) hasn’t been released yet in the UK: often people go to gigs to hear songs that they all know, so playing new material can have a negative affect on those particular members of the audience, but (un)surprisingly the Electric Boys seem immune to this as even if you don’t know the lyrics there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pick them up quickly – their songs are hook-laden and designed to appeal to more than one kind of music fan.

The peak of the set had to be “Rags to Riches”, with its infectious groove and rolling rhythm it has been a staple of the band’s set for some time now. Perhaps the idea of reaching for their dreams as outlined in the song’s lyrics still ring true for the musicians on stage tonight, or maybe they have reached their optimum point in the music scene now: a comfortable position where it seems there will always be people coming out to see the band, year after year, and a position where they still have plenty of ideas to form new songs with: not necessarily reinventing themselves, but providing a taste of a little something fresh and new each time they embark on a new tour or enter the studio.

The final song of the night was “All Lips N’ Hips“, the band’s first hit and a signature song for them, highlighting everything you can expect from an Electric Boys track, no matter the year. The music is adeptly played, a serious approach in contrast to the fun and frivolity of the sound created: a mixture of rapped verses against expertly executed bass and guitar riffs. Bloom caught his guitar as it was thrown from the side of the stage, deftly playing on without missing a beat – a move that is well practised and can be seen in the original music video – adding a little bit of extra showmanship to the end of the night.

Upcoming tour dates:

Sept 21: Glasgow Classic Grand
Sept 23: Newcastle Think Tank
Sept 24: Llandudno Labour Club
Sept 25: Workington Carnegie Theatre
Sept 26: London Underworld

Electric Boys website: electricboys.com