Review By Raelee Atkinson
Choo-Choo … climb aboard and let's ride the Tekkno train …
This time last year, Good Things Festival was in full swing and the German band formerly known as Eskimo, now Electric Callboy, took to the stages of Australia, wowing crowds and winning over new fans. A few months later in February 2023, a headlining tour of Electric Callboy was announced and it was met with much excitement. It took no time to sell out and the venues were upgraded to house more fans, and again the entire tour was sold out quickly. The buzz around this band has kept going throughout the year as they have been travelling the globe with their Tekkno World Tour.
I’ll admit, I’ve been so excited for this concert that I’ve been counting down the “sleeps” like a kid waiting for Santa.
Finally, its a balmy Thursday night and we’ve just fought off the peak-hour traffic and arrived in Sydney’s Moore Park, the location of the Hordern Pavilion, to be met by an eclectic sea of black clothed metalheads and neon attired techno-heads. Electric Callboy’s genre-bending mix of metalcore and EDM attracts an interesting demographic ranging in ages.
Bro and I nick across the street to the pub for a quick pre-gig feed of French fries and a lager, then passed through the security check to the awaiting hordes. We joined the long line for merch that snaked its way around the outdoor area that enclosed the Hordern, eventually got our tee shirts and entered the venue. We were early so we were able to get up pretty close to the front.
At 7.30pm it was time for the first support band, Future Static, a five piece band from Melbourne. Future Static are a fusion of alt rock, indie pop, and metalcore with a dash of prog for good measure. They have recently released their first full length album titled, Liminality. After a minor ‘false start’ they hit the stage running with an energy reserved for the young. Spinning like a dervish, lead singer Amariah Cook's clean vocals are lovely, then she surprised with some filthy harsh vocals and injected so much emotion into her performance. Bassist, Kira Neil complimented Cook’s vocals with some sweet harmonies and gave an indie/alt vibe to the performance. There’s three dudes in the band, but to be honest, apart from a random thought that they were good, the focus was on the women, who put on a great show.
Four songs into their set, they played a cover song titled Gasolina and I realised that this was the band that my brother had sent me the link to three times. I turned to him and he's grinning. Future Static entertained the growing crowd with a cracking 30 minute set, which included Waves, Venenosa, Chemical Lobotomy, Gasolina, The Hourglass, Roach Queen and Dead End.
The next band up is Stockholm-based, Self Deception. The Swedish foursome enter the stage and it's obvious that there are sound problems. The singer isn’t singing in tune (and I know he's an experienced and talented singer) and every time the bass hits there’s a horrible vibration and popping sound emanating from the speakers which hurts my ears. Part way through the second song the singer, Gabriel Keyes, better known as the current vocalist for fellow Swedes, Crashdiët, stopped the band and said that they are having ‘technical difficulties’. Roadies scattered on the stage looking busy while the bass player, Patrik, chatted with the crowd and announced that he’d like to do a “shoey”. It’s an obvious distraction that overseas bands seem to think Aussie audiences enjoy. The crowd cheered him on and then the band re-commenced by playing Scandinavian Dream. The sound is still horrible, so again the crew scamper on stage trying to “fix” the problem and this time the bass guitarist suggests that the guitarist, Ronnie, do a “shoey” now, again, the crowd cheer him on but it's getting awkward, thankfully Keyes, the singer took over and explained that they’d had a dreadful day. That their flight from Melbourne had been cancelled and they had been told that they were no longer going to be able to play the gig in Sydney, but the band wanted to come and play so much that they decided to hire a private plane and flew up, having not long arrived. The audience cheered encouragingly, the technical issues seemed to be resolved and singer Gabriel introduced the next song, Roxette classic The Look. The audience dances and sings along loudly and the Self Deception set continues without the earlier sound problems. They have a heavy rock industrial-electro sound with a Marilyn Manson flavour. Their stage presence was a tad confusing to me as the drummer wears a mask, the man-buned singer prowls the stage semi (and eventually) shirtless and the bassist is dressed in a neon pink cowboy hat, matching Hawaiian shirt and shorts set and long pink socks, looking more like he's on an island vacation rather than playing at a metal gig. It’s definitely a “vibe” I'm just not quite sure which “vibe” though. I enjoyed their songs, the band were tight, and Gabriel Keyes is an enigmatic frontman. Bass player Patrik Hallgren ended up playing in the mosh pit crowd at one point. At the end of the set, they thank the audience for their patience and say that it had been the most memorable night of the tour. Self Deception played an interesting 30 minute set that included, Six Feet Under, Scandinavian Dream, The Look, Psycho, Holy Water, Fight Fire With Gasoline.
The Hordern had now filled with people and everyone was hyped and excited for Electric Callboy to take to the stage. To pass the time, some people had brought a couple of beach balls and a spaceship shaped balloon, which the crowd tossed around ooh-ing and ahh-ing as they rose and fell.
The time had finally come, the excitement from the crowd was palpable as the lights dim and the big screen at the back of the stage is illuminated with a video clip of a woman dressed up as an airline stewardess announcing the beginning of the Electric Callboy set. Towards the end of the announcement, the band entered the stage, the lights came up, a confetti bomb exploded and the audience was bouncing and singing loudly to Tekkno Train. Vocalist Nico Sallach asked the audience to form a “Ninja Wall of Death” for the next song, MC Thunder (Dancing Like A Ninja) then when the song ended, Nico mentioned what we’d all been thinking, “where was Kevin?”. Sallach explained that after the Melbourne show the previous night, Ratajczak had to leave straight away to the airport to return home for “family reasons”. Then Nico asked us all to sing loudly for Kevin as Spaceman played. The Spaceship balloon from earlier flew around during the song. Then they played Love/Hate followed by the Cascade cover, Everytime We Touch, The Scene, Castrop X Spandau and Arrow Of Love. At this point, the band left the stage leaving the drummer to perform his solo to Darude’s Sandstorm. The band then returned and to the delight of the crowd, and the much loved Hypa Hypa played next, followed by Parasite, then a stripped down acoustic version of the Backstreet Boys cover, I Want it That Way which had the audience singing along very loudly. Sallach explained that the next song is based on German Schlagger music and separated the crowd in the centre to form a space and encouraged everyone to “couple dance” to Hurrikan. They rounded the set out with MC Thunder, leaving the stage as the audience cheered and called out for an encore. They complied and returned to the stage to play Pump It to the excited and energetic crowd as another confetti bomb went off and followed it with Mindreader, leaving briefly once again. With more encouragement, the band returned once more to perform the hit single, We Got The Moves to a final confetti bomb and streamer bomb. At the end, the band lined up for the obligatory band with the audience in the background pic, then Nico spotted a couple of youngsters who had been perched on their dads shoulders during the show, singing along enthusiastically, and called them up on stage to join the band in the pic. The crowd cheered, everyone posed and then there was the scrum for the picks, sticks and set lists. The house lights come up at 10.45pm and everyone is buzzing as they exit the venue.
What a night! Electric Callboy delivered a high octane set, even without their co-vocalist, Kevin Ratajczak. The sound and lighting were on point, the multiple confetti and streamer bombs added to the party atmosphere and the energy from the audience was like being at a dance club or a rave with everyone dancing, bouncing up and down and singing along loudly. This definitely felt more techno than metal and even though lyrically, the songs imply something a bit “rude”, the absolute silliness of the band and their songs appeals to all ages, so there were parents there with their children. The fanbase is varied to say the least, with the black parade of ‘core and metal fans mixed with the brightly coloured ‘fits of EDM fans. There were a lot of fans dressed up like the characters from their videoclips, with matching outfits, wigs and headbands. The support bands were high energy and did their job of gee-ing up the audience and firmly established the party vibes. Venue staff were friendly and polite, and security kept everyone safe. Overall, there’s a legit reason why this band totally sold out this tour so quickly, because they bring the dance party 100 percent, even with a missing bandmate. The night was exactly what you would want for an event like this and I’ve walked away feeling like I could very happily do that all over again! I'm definitely up for seeing these bands again, especially Electric Callboy, so who’s coming with?