Portland Oregon’s Starfucker played New York’s Mercury Lounge last night. We brought Starfucker to town last October (check the video), but due to van malfunctions in Kansas, they arrived 5 hours late, forcing us to move the venue from Skull Alley to the Nachbar. Last night made for a different story as the synthsters pulled a crowd to the Merc & got us all sweating quicky.
Starting the set off was their most recognizable song, German Love, which built their reputation in the beginning for being a very fun and lighthearted kind of synth pop that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Alongside Starfucker was hometown friends Guidance Counselor who play similar danceable synth pop, and so the Starfucker trio hijacked the Guidance Counselor drummer, Keil Mitchell, giving Josh a chance to split from the drums and focus on keys & Shawn on bass. Apparently, since we last caught Starfucker, Keil has become a permanent member of the band and helps the band create a more spastic, full sound. Bassist Shawn was trying out a new look as well, wearing a very flattering little green summer dress, furthering the phenomena wherein the girl in indie bands always seems to be the bassist, but departing to the extent in which they’re usually incredibly attractive.
After German Love, the pace slowed a bit, and while you could tell everyone had mentally prepared themselves to start dancing, but the music just wasn’t there yet. It didn’t take long however before the band and the crowd began to mutually feed off of one anothers energy and as that happened the music got more and more fun, with sweaty bodies dancing everywhere. With Starfucker, what sounds good on your iPod takes on a whole new life when performed live. Tearing through song after song, spanning both the debut album and the recently released Jupiter including the much loved “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” cover. Every show feels as though it could be one of the basement parties for which they’d become notorious in Portland. By the time we left, we welcomed the pouring rain because the Merc had turned into a oven, but nobody cared until the music had ended. An incredibly fun show, I cannot recommend these guys enough and while they’ve been making waves over the last year, I expect you’ll be hearing plenty more.
Guidance Counselor played a very fun set very similar to Starfucker & I can imagine the basement parties that used to go on in Portland. Although a very short set to give way to their tourmates, it was highly energetic and although the crowd was slow to warm to them, you couldn’t like Starfucker & not like Guidance Counselor…while not sounding like the same band, they seem similarly inspired and play with the same fun and energy.