This past Friday, Portland natives Starfucker (or “STRFKR”) played a sold-out show in the Hub. Starfucker, which consists of band members Joshua Hodges, Shawn Glassford and Keil Corcoran, originally got together in 2007. The formation of the band stemmed from instrumentalist Josh Hodges’ frustration with his intimate, mellow, “Elliott Smith-meets-Stephen Malkmus” solo project, Sexton Blake. Josh decided to drop that in favor of doing what many Portlanders do: making fun indie-pop music.
As for the origin of their absurd name, Glassford said, “[Josh] just wanted the stupidest name possible so it would never get serious,” and then laughed. Fortunately for us, the plan backfired, and they hit relative mainstream success with their most famous song, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” which was featured in a Target commercial in 2009.
Coming in, I had heard good things about the band’s live shows, but I never imagined having as much fun as I did. The opener, Nuer, consisting of Ishmael, Vincent and Miller, started the night off right with some mood-enhancing tunes. It was apparent that everyone was ready for Starfucker; either that or we just really liked chanting the name; people are prone to take any opportunity to use profanity in a socially-acceptable public arena.
Finally taking the stage after a 30-minute gap between sets, Hodges thanked the crowd for all the love and support. They immediately jumped into songs, playing a slew of hits from their 2011 album, “Reptilians.” For an album so heavily centered on death and mortality when it comes to lyrics, the rhythms and hazy vocals were surprisingly reminiscient of Passion Pit.
While it is not unlike the UCSB crowd to turn almost any concert into a full-fledged dance party, Starfucker’s infectious dance music captivated the entire crowd, sending us all into a frenzied trance. Unfortunately, Starfucker’s stage presence was less than engaging. While fist-pumping and flashing lights are not requisite, the band was strictly business for the most part. All of the musicians were modest and at ease on stage.
Midway through the set, when the band played their hit, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” the fanatic crowd was at its peak. People were crowd surfing, climbing up on the Hub’s crossbeam and grooving, so security kept turning lights on to keep people down. The band was understandably pissed off about the lights, and at one point, the lead guitarist took his guitar off and used it to smash the lights above him (YOLO). Security came on stage, and they had a bit of a rumble. The only thing that was missing was my bag of popcorn.
They began playing again shortly thereafter. Finishing off their set, they played an incredible rendition of the classic girl-power anthem, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” That was the icing on the cake for me. Cyndi Lauper will probably be dead before she gets the chance to sing “Time After Time” at my wedding, so this was probably the closest thing I have to hearing something of hers live. The carefree vibe and the Starfucker boys’ lively tunes were nothing short of a positive start for an enjoyable and regret-filled weekend before midterms.
An act that can keep me entranced the whole show is pretty rare, so I tip my hat to Starfucker for a job well done. Regardless of the setbacks, 12 bucks to see a band like them is a complete steal, and I enjoyed every cent.