Juiced up rock at its best
Boots Electric - Live At The Garage, London

Nursing a pre-gig drink at the fittingly named Famous Cock Clash notes that it’s not at every gig we have the pleasure of covering that we spot teenage girls wearing fake, ginger moustaches. Then again Boots Electric, AKA Jesse Hughes, is not your average rock star. A southern rock ‘n’ roll dandy fuelled purely by sweat and dirty smiles, Hughes quite aptly lives up to the “Devil” moniker giving to him by best friend Josh Homme. He’s a charmer, and taking to The Garage’s minuscule stage Hughes spends a good few minutes showing his gratitude to the crowd before even touching a guitar. “Do you believe in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll?” he cries like a demented pastor. We do, and they begin.

With the shadow of Hughes’ previous band, The Eagles of Death Metal, looming over the set, it’s admirable to see the band happy to belt out some of Eagles’ more recognisable tunes as well as good chunk of Boots Electric’s debut ‘Honkey Kong’.

This is juiced up rock at its best, Little Richard, Hughes’ biggest musical influence, pumped up and thrown at the crowd with a more metal indebted attack. Single ‘Complexity’ gets the packed venue on side, Hughes’ dancing somewhere between Axl Rose and your dad at a wedding. ‘You’ll Be Sorry’ (dedicated to his ex-wife) proves a set highlight, a stonking desert blues number that contains the kind of groove that can only be created once you’ve spent years misbehaving in the sun.

Stopping to comb both hair and ‘tache, Hughes excuses the rest of the band, including his girlfriend and bass player Tuesday, so he can admire the ladies in the crowd. Appreciation over he plays a few numbers solo, The Damned’s ‘New Rose’ is a little tricky, and generally proves far too entertaining for its own good even alone.

“Now, I waited for my best friend to fly to Europe so I could snatch his pregnant wife (Brody Dalle) so she could help me record this!” and so begins ‘Boots Electric Theme Tune’ an infectious chant along number built for girl/boy cooperation. A predictable high of the night, but nevertheless the most fun one, could hope to have at a gig.

Between Hughes’ strutting, his girlfriend’s schoolgirl uniform and the heavily fanatical Italian fans pushed against the barrier it’s a wonder why so may acts bother with high concept visuals and a shoegazing stage presence. This is live music.

Performance reaching a close and an extended jam between guitarists raises the energy levels until sweat covers everything and Hughes simply has no choice but to go topless – much to the delight of the girls. A one-guitar rendition of ‘I Want You So Hard’ ends proceedings and its time to kiss goodbye to The Devil and his sinners. “I’m covered in sweat” cry some groupies to the band, “Me too. Let’s go party.” With that they disappear backstage to carry on the antics, and the crowd disperses into the night.

Words Sam Walker-Smart
Photo by Will Bunce

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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