As part of a long-awaited European jaunt, Electric Callboy called into Camden's Electric Ballroom for the party to end all parties last week (April 22). This is why it was such a life-affirming and wonderfully joyous event that felt like the start of something special.
Photos: Chelsea Cochrane
If you had told Electric Callboy that their first headline show in the UK in three and a half years would be at a sold-out Electric Ballroom, they probably wouldn't have believed you. If you had told them they would be playing that show off the back of one of their songs being one of the biggest in their label Century Media's history, they probably would have laughed such a remark back in your face. And if you had told them that most of the crowd they would be playing in front of would be wearing mullet wigs and fluorescent moustaches, they probably would have said, "That checks out".
The reality is that Electric Callboy are currently on the verge of becoming an absolute phenomenon. Spending the last two years redefining what they are all about and creating some of metal's most viral hits, the band is on the brink of something truly exceptional, more so than any other time in their fascinating career so far. And yet, it still only feels like the tip of the iceberg, with their new album 'TEKKNO' coming in September, promising more unpredictable treats. So, there is plenty of reason to celebrate.
And celebrating is precisely what they do.
After playing the likes of Def Leppard, The Darkness and Mötley Crüe in the build-up to their arrival, the punishing hardstyle banger that welcomes the band onto the stage reminds you that you aren't just watching any old band. You are a part of a culture crossover unlike any other. And as the motivational grit of 'Pump It' kicks things off, with the band draped in their finest workout gear, that sentiment is solidified even further. What follows is absolute carnage of the high order with a dancefloor that never stops moving and a light show that could rival some of Berlin's wildest party spots. Every band member is committed to every bludgeoning note they deliver, with vocalists Kevin Ratajczak and Nico Sallach conducting the chaos with absolute glee, pushing even harder the more that they see the masses before them going off. This is a metal show, but not as you know it.
Now, even though it's the last few singles that have seen the band climb up the ladder, there is still a whole discography for them to still pull from, and the songs they pick at have never sounded better. The existentially vibrant 'The Scene' feels more volatile and vital than ever before, 'Best Day' sounds like the best song that Linkin Park never wrote, and the pure party nature of 'My Own Summer' feels all the rawer and more raucous with the energy that the band possess in 2022 coursing through it. There's even space for an acoustic run-through of 'Prism' which sends shivers shooting straight up the spine and showcases just how tight their songwriting is when you pull away all the bells and whistles. It's a testament to the band using their finest hour so far to showcase their journey up until now whilst also demonstrating just how many leaps and bounds they have come in the last couple of years.
But the thing that glistens the brightest throughout every second of the band's set is just much fun absolutely everybody is having. In a scene that has been guilty of taking itself too seriously for far too long, moments of wall-to-wall bedlam like during the stratospheric 'Spaceman' and the cold as ice 'Back In The Bizz' remind you what it means to smile whilst watching a band give their all. Moments where nothing else matters but the unashamed happiness that comes with losing inhibitions and dancing like nobody is watching. Because, after all, when you have a pair of songs as brilliantly bonkers as 'MC Thunder' and 'MC Thunder II (Dancing Like A Ninja)' sitting side by side with each other, it's impossible not to get roped up into the madness of it all.
But it's at two moments within the night's final crescendo where the real beauty of what is happening with Electric Callboy right now comes to a head. First up is the stone-cold summer epic 'We Got The Moves', complete with bowl-cut wigs and hip shakes aplenty. The second is the anthem to end all anthems' Hypa Hypa', featuring all of the neon light and chest-thumping intensity you could ever want. With each track proving to be crushing and joyous in its own unique way, this is what this band is all about. Forgetting about the rest of the world, letting your hair down and giving your all like it's the last thing you will ever do. Music should always leave you with a grin permanently plastered across your chops. Without that, what is the point of any of this? Life is about living, grasping every moment we have and making it count wholeheartedly.
That is why nights like tonight are so important for us right now and why Electric Callboy are such a vital band right now as well. They embody the very essence of what it means to feel alive, with all of heart and soul you can muster. And they are on course to become an even bigger deal than they are in this moment in the very near future.
So, strap in.