LIVE: Electric Callboy @ Chalk, Brighton

By Punktastic

While the wind and rain had been battering the south coast for much of the day, the adverse weather hadn’t stopped a swathe of gig goers turning up in costume – from big wigs to all manner of brightly coloured clothing – for the final sold-out night of Electric Callboy’s long-awaited UK tour.

While they’ve been around for 12 years, it’s in the last two that the band formerly known as Eskimo Callboy have truly exploded into an international success story, channelling their metalcore-meets-Scooter vibes and sound into their biggest and best material to date, with latest album ‘Tekkno’ being their first to top the charts in their home country of Germany.

Anticipation began to build throughout the room as the playlist of hair metal’s greatest hits on the PA cut out, the intro of ‘Pump It’ kicks in and each member of the band takes to the stage. The catchiness of the hooks and melody in Callboy’s recent output is immediately apparent with the crowd belting the lyrics before the song had properly kicked in, as cannons fire gold confetti across the room and the party truly begins. ‘Pump It’ is alternative music’s answer to Eric Prydz, with new album track ‘Arrow Of Love’ a reminder that it’s not just the singles from their latest record that fans have adored.

Immediately apparent among the matching mullet wigs and shellsuit jackets worn by each band member is the pair of ear defenders sported by lead vocalist Nico Sallach. Their UK tour was initially scheduled to take place in September, but was postponed to November at the last minute due to an ear infection that prevented him from travelling. With his ear not healed enough to wear in-ear monitors, the headphones were, as Nico says, “the only option so I could be here”. He also comments on how they made him look, exclaiming “who gives a fuck!” to rapturous applause.

As the band return to the stage following the first of the evening’s four costume changes, they keep the tempo and spirits high through ‘Hate/Love’ before moving into a run of some of their older songs. Any presumptions that there would be a more muted reaction to their pre-lockdown material were quickly proven wrong with how passionately the crowd responded to songs like ‘The Scene’, ‘Supernova’ and ‘Crystals’ throughout the night.

Following a massive reaction to new album fan favourite ‘Tekkno Train’, Callboy exit once more for another costume change, returning in the now iconic outfits from the ‘Hypa Hypa’ video and burst right into the viral sensation that is ground zero for their newfound success. So many bands would end the night on a song that has done so much for the trajectory of their career as ‘Hypa Hypa’ has for theirs, which says a lot about how much the band believe in their latest material to stick it in the middle of their set. The high-octane energy on stage is matched by the audience, who are carried by the wave of feel-good euphoria whether throwing themselves into the pit, or on the fringes of the crowd in what was a sea of movement, flailing limbs and smiling faces.

While almost all their songs are sung in English, that isn’t to say Callboy didn’t bring some German flair to proceedings, as co-vocalist Kevin Ratajczak urges everyone in the pit to find a partner for what he called a “special song”- one of the most unique tracks from their latest record, ‘Hurrikan’. Starting off as a pastiche of German Schlager – with enough cheesiness to rival Eurovision’s finest – halfway through the song descends into a contrasting cacophony of pure noise, as filthy deathcore breakdowns and Kevin’s piq squeal vocals pierce through the room.

As the crowd came close to lifting the building off the ground with synchronised jumping resembling the Poznan during ‘MC Thunder’, the band hits their final run of songs with aplomb, as an encore of the euphoric ‘Mindreader’ leads into two of their biggest singles to date to close the night out. ‘Spaceman’ blends metal, rap and techno into an irresistible cocktail of catchiness that is undeniably massive in front of a live audience. One final costume change into white gilets and bowl cut wigs was the cue for the whole room to go hell for leather one last time, as streamers and more confetti shoots across the room and rousing rave anthem ‘We Got The Moves’ brings the house down.

With how in-your-face it is by nature, Electric Callboy’s music and overall package is unquestionably marmite and will put a lot of people off from the moment they press play. For those who are onboard the Tekkno Train and everything that comes with it though, tonight was an example of why they are a band you would be remiss to pass up on live when a wunderbar night of non-stop partying is there to be had.