Electric Callboy (Lotto Arena, Antwerpen) – 02/03/2023

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Two sold-out performances in the Trix launching their Hypa Hypa Tour and afterwards outplaying everyone at Alcatraz 2022 creating a massive dust cloud in the process. That was the parcours Electric Callboy (formerly known as Eskimo Callboy) ran in Belgium during the last year. Were they able to match or even exceed that level this year again or was it simply a hype that now starts to lose its edge? Well ….. this most definitely is not just a hype and this band put the entire Lotto Arena in flames on their Tekkno Tour. The general consensus amongst all fans was univocal: next year Sportpaleis!

Future Palace

Before we start off with Electric Callboy, a few words about the supporting acts. I shall be brief as, honestly, I am not that much of an all-round metalcore and certainly no punk fan. Furthermore, it was rather clear that this tour is first and foremost an Electric Callboy gig and the supporting acts are – as far as I can tell – not that known. Consequently, the bulk of the audience only arrived when Electric Callboy began its concert. Nonetheless, as a good journalist and in true GRIMM tradition, I was willing to be bedazzled by any newcomers and, hence, I gave them a fair shot.

The first supporting act, Future Palace, was a young metalcore band consisting of three members, which brought out their first single in 2019. It must be said that their youth certainly showed and in terms of musical performance the band can hardly be called complex or innovative. That is not to say, however, that there is no potential. There are hints of interesting musical choices that could be further explored certainly in terms of composition and the synthesized backtrack. My recommendation to this band would therefore be to integrate the synth fully into the band.

The strongest asset of this band, however, is beyond any doubt their leading vocalist Maria Lessing, who was to join Electric Callboy later on set for the song Fuckboi. She has a voice with a good vocal spectrum that is able to put some real feel into the singing. Honesty compels me to note that her voice appeared not as confident and refined during the life performance when compared to the recordings. But hey, that is something that comes with experience and practice! Maria has the ability to gradually shift from clear to rough to distorted vocals. A rare ability amongst singers, leave alone female vocalists, which she demonstrated aptly during this performance. So if you are a fan of female lead metalcore bands, keep an eye on this one!

Holding Absence

Bringing us to the second supporting act , Holding Absence, which I found underwhelming. Honestly, in my humble opinion both supporting acts should be switched as this band had much less to offer. When you surf to their website, you get a good impression of what to expect: no content, just tour dates and merch. The band is labelled as a post-hardcore punk band that was formed in the UK in 2015 after which the founder and lead vocalist Zac Vernon quickly left the band being replaced by current lead singer Lucas Woodland.

Do not get me wrong, this is not an awful band, not even a real bad band! The musicians play well albeit with little complexity in their riffing or drumming – something not really astonishing for punk though – and the vocalist has a typical boyish garage punk band voice which at moments lacked some strength to propel the music. But that is what this band is, typical. The word “meh” really comes to mind as this band gives me the feeling of watching yet another iteration of the stereotypical teen punk band that I was already tired of hearing as the soundtrack to every Dawson’s Creek episode back in the nineties. But hey, perhaps it is just me and my trauma due to an overload of such random punk sounds in my youth.

Electric Callboy

Then it was time for the pièce de résistance: Electric Callboy (once upon a time, not so long ago, known as Eskimo Callboy). And sure enough, this band has raised quite some expectations after their previous visits to Belgium. They sold out the Trix two times in the beginning of 2022, which launched their Hypa Hypa tour. They went on to astonish friend and foe at Alcatraz Metal Festival the same year, where they were programmed in the late afternoon, by drawing an immense crowd – becoming the de facto headliner – that jumped and moshed the festival terrain into such a mayhem that a massive dust storm had risen from the grounds. Dirt was running out of my nose a month later! And clearly Alcatraz left an impression on the electric boys as Nico (lead vocals) called that epic deed into memory when he was addressing the crowd this evening.

So the question was whether their Tekkno Tour could match that level again. The answer: when you look around during their last song We got the moves when they sing the football hooligan techno part – you know when everyone goes “tup turrororooo tup turroorrrooo” (you know what I mean) – and you do not just see the center field going crazy but also everyone in the seating area on the stands jumping and shouting, you know they more than succeeded. Although their next show in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne would be far bigger and – in their own words – be one of their best shows they ever gave, they brought the same level of performance in Antwerp too. And the crowd rewarded them with at least the same amount of energy. The Lotto Arena was on fire!

What explains this remarkable success of the band? After all, the band released their first EP eponymously titled Eskimo Callboy way back in 2010. However, in their first twenty years of existence they did not draw the crowds they attract today. So what changed? Well, the band always had a certain ambiguous nature. For the most part, it was a rather typical metalcore band that took itself quite serious. This was particularly the course the then lead vocalist Sushi (Michael Malitzki) wanted to sail. This culminated in their studio album Crystals that holds many of these more serious – and truth be told quality – metalcore songs.

However, the band also experimented with a so-called ‘electrocore’ sound in which they combined their typical metalcore sound with electronic music. And sure, they used some electro tunes in their more serious songs as well, but in this case they particularly went back to the sound of nineties electro music. This was most prevalent in their song MC Thunder (part 1) of 2017. Next to this musical blend, these type of songs were characterized by a great deal of humour and self-mockery. A blend that most other band members, most notable the other lead vocalist Kevin Ratajczak, were particularly fond off and which they wanted to pursue more.

This inevitably led to a creative split within the band that was cordially resolved by Sushi pursuing a new project GHØSTKID, while the rest of the band held auditions for a new vocalist, resulting in Nico Sallach joining the band in 2020. That the band had found its true calling now was clearly proven by the first song they produced together: Hypa Hypa, the band’s most iconic song to date, which recently at their show in Cologne a couple of days after their performance in the Lotto Arena earned a golden record. This would be the hallmark of their next EP MMXX that also held quite some songs with Sushi.

The success, however, did not end with Hypa Hypa. In the next two years, the band produced other hallmarks of its repertoire with songs – and equally iconic video clips – such as We got the moves and Pump it. The latter song was made for the German selection of the Eurovision Song festival which strangely did not even make the preselection. Well, karma’s a bitch as Germany would end with zero points, while Electric Callboy would conquer the world in 2022, touring everywhere with the Hypa Hypa Tourwhile launching their Tekkno album, adding even more iconic numbers such as Hurikan and Spaceman.

So why does this seem to be so popular, particularly with millennials in their thirties. My explanation is the inclusion of dance music within good metalcore, with some decent hard breakdowns which famous YouTuber and metalcore guitarist Nick Nocturnal aptly names ‘chonky’. It brings us back to those strange nineties when metal was mostly NU metal, Maiden was in its Blaze period and the kinda music that was all around was a typical Eurodance sound. It was the time of Vengaboys, Scooter and Two Fabiola. Even if you were a die hard metalhead even back then, this music soaked into your youth nostalgia. Electric Callboy does not only know how to tickle that nostalgia, it seems to redeem the guilty pleasure by accompanying it with hard riffs and screaming vocals. Moreover, it is layered with positive vibes and humour, reminding us not to take everything so serious, while those positive and light nineties vibes are a welcome change in these heavier times we live in.

It is therefore not a surprise that this tour following the album is the one where the band fully embraces this electrocore silliness. And it clearly gathers crowds! And this tour is certainly an album’s tour as almost all songs of the Tekkno album are included in the setlist. Also, some of the more serious and more old school ‘Eskimo Callboy’ type songs of the album were included in this tour, such as Hate/Love or Mindreader. Together with a small selection of older songs, they formed the first part of the setlist, warming the audience up for the more serious work.

Although, this gentler setlist compared to the Alcatraz, helped in sustaining the audience’s stamina, it missed its punch. On Alcatraz, Electric Callboy opened with Pump It, immediately setting the scene on fire, while this setlist opened with Tekkno Train, whose video was just released a day before. Sure, this is still a real good and very typical EC Electrocore song, but it does miss that punch that Pump It brought as a starter of the former setlist.

Nonetheless, the concert had a good balance and some real treats such as the amazing drum solo of David Friedich, who is perhaps a lesser known or at least conspicuous member of the band, proving his salt in full techno style by playing Sandstorm by Darude on his drums. The second treat was the song Hurrikan. A song which is a true German schlager for its first part only to suddenly change into a deathcore song for its second part. Consequently, people less knowledgeable of what was to come – or who have a death wish – started to dance and form a polonaise, which were utterly destroyed and washed away by the massive wall of death that hit on the vile tones of the second part of the song.

The final treat before the culmination at the end was a duet with Nico and Kevin with cheesy songs such as I want it that way or Let it go, which the audience were all too happy to sing along. All of that on an oddly shaped red piano protruding from Kevin‘s loins (yes, you are thinking right) upon which Nico sung. A fact Kevin brought to Nico’s attention, who awkwardly jumped up. Those are just one of these small fun moments you have with Electric Callboy (for a video see Electric Callboy – Kevin and Nico having a bromance and ‘let it go’ (Lotto Arena, Antwerpen) – YouTube)

This little moment of happiness – and a well needed breather – would pave the way for the final culmination and that was utter madness. Starting off with MC Thunder, continuing with Pump It and Spaceman (see video), and ending with We got the moves. I can tell you, the mosh pit was amazing, but more than that, the entire arena was on fire.


Tekkno Train
MC Thunder II (Dancing Like a Ninja)
The Scene
Castrop X Spandau
Arrow of Love
Best Day
Drum Solo (Darude – Sandstorm)
Hypa Hypa
Fuckboi (With Maria Lessing from Future Palace)
Careless Whisper / When You Say Nothing At All / Let It Go / I Want It That Way (Acoustic intermezzo)
MC Thunder


Pump It
We Got the Moves

Once again, Electric Callboy pulled it off, drawing in the crowds but not disappointing them one bit. I keep wondering how long they can keep this line of success bringing out one hit after the other and establishing a new subgenre Elektrocore in the process. But as long as it lasts, I know that a growing number of my generation will keep on coming and having a blast of a time. Rightfully so in my opinion, as the humour and positivity should not let you forget that they put out some real good music, both in terms of the metalcore as in terms of the electro. And that is exactly what you get at their concerts!

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