Live Review: Starfucker @ Drunken Unicorn, April 24

[ 0 ] April 29, 2009 |

By Julia Reidy

 After two-piece Guidance Counselor,
who shared drummer Keil Corcoran with the headliners, played to a moderate
Saturday night crowd, the aforementioned headliners took the stage without all
the attention-grubbing, social climbing behavior their band’s name might
suggest. Leaving affectation at the door, Portland
quartet Starfucker humbly launched into a
mixture of tracks from their self-titled debut and from their forthcoming
eight-song record Jupiter, out next
month via Badman Recording Co.

Starfucker plays pop, the kind that relies heavily on
synthesizer melodies, dance hall beats, bouncing guitar hooks and Josh Hodges’
breathy vocals, and the Unicorn was absolutely full of all of it. Though
certainly not the only song with a transcendent, shiny dance vibe to it, the
standout of the night had to be “Laadeedaa,” from Starfucker. It features a repetitive guitar riff that’s got a
frantic, too-quick quality about it, to the point that when I heard the first
notes of the song, my curiosity turned toward whether they’d be able to pull it
off faithfully live. But pull it off they did (I made sure to watch the
guitarist’s fingers to suss out whether the riffs were pre-recorded or not),
along with feats from all of their other compositions, all performed
enthusiastically to a boogeying audience.

The best of the set remained those
numbers with more of a sunny indie-rock slant to them. Starfucker forays, as
the name might imply, into disco territory, a musical area that bores me
instantly. Fortunately they didn’t stay there, returning to “Florida,” “Pop Song,” “Rawnald Gregory
Erickson the Second” (which has this awesome
bass line) and even “Myke Ptyson,” a song that relies on super-humanly fast
handclaps on the album, but which survived happily with moderate audience
participation live. The whole show was punctuated by the speaking tracks they
sample on the record (played on an actual turntable on stage), lending an
introspective air to the synthy, dance-centric atmosphere created by the songs
themselves.

And like every satisfying story, the show even ended, for
me, with a moral. Which is that you shouldn’t leave freshly-purchased vinyl
(the pre-release of Jupiter) in your
car’s back seat for 24 hours so it can warp irreparably. Lesson learned.

Category: Live Reviews

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