Written by David Johnson-Igra
All Photos by Charlie Homo
For a group whose name mocks the very fan base they’re creating, Starfucker knows how to engage a crowd. Playing last Tuesday at the Bottom of the Hill, the Oregon based band brought energy, humor and talent. When this combination transfers to their record, they’ll have an army of starfuckers ready and waiting. In all sincerity the crowd consisted of mainly platonic starfuckers like “I’m in love with this band,” though there appeared to be some more lustful eyes in the crowd as well.
Before Starfuckers performed Atole, a tweaker’s punk electronic group, tried to energize the crowd with synthesizer whistles, and empty bass lines. Their sound depended heavily on tweaking EQs and a drum kit, which for most part felt redundant. By eleven the crowd had filled as Starfucker took the stage. Three of the four band members’ outfits caught my attention, as they indulged in what is becoming known in the blog sphere as a humorous antic. Lead singer Josh Hodges’ outfit was tame as he wore a hairnet, white undershirt and tight, I mean TIGHT, jeans. The other members were dressed in drag, wearing skirts and bright cardigan jackets with earrings to match. The band’s humor is sophomorically light, which is fitting because the most notable parts of both their album and performance are when they perform elated with bubbling electro dance hits.
During their performance it was evident the band was highly talented. Each artist seamlessly weaved between multiple instruments during songs, while maintaining a succinct level and balance. Watching them maneuver is exciting, and it’s unfortunate that this same visual energy doesn’t translate into their record. Though “Pop Song,” and “rawnald gregory erickson 2nd” stand out on their debut album as pop songs full of catchy guitar distortion and edgy drumming, “Boy Toy” and “Medicine,” sound overly drone and robotic on the records, but amazingly more balanced live with pumped EQs and pounding drumming. Early in their set the group played “Pop Song,” riling the crowd into a mosh pit frenzy, which was surprising considering most of the crowd was female, and everyone was dressed to their hipster nines drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. I thought hipsters just stand around looking apathetically cool.
Transitioning between songs, Starfucker played a recording of Zen philosopher Alan Watts who is well known for his opinions on comparative religions, particularly Asian religions and belief. It may be that Starfucker intends to draw from Watts’ desire to illuminate and reach higher consciousness, as they try to parallel bright disco infused grooves, with humor and thought. On “Medicine,” recently praised by Spin as a “song you must hear,” Hodges provides a dose of positive reinforcement as he sings “you’re perfect, drink your medicine” and then cuts and stabs Watts' recorded voice. When breaking from singing, Hodge dances like he’s inspired by Save The Last Dance, his hip twisting with a two step, and his arm pumping like a disco queen. The man can dance and sing—ladies he’s a keeper—and a crowd pleaser.
Like the characters they dress themselves to be on stage, reverting to a youthful aura of fun, free of the economic burdens, the 9-5, these kids rock the stage freely like a garage band. While Josh Hodges leads with a stern and emotionless face, his rare smiles, are bright with the same energy that radiates from the band’s curious and experimental playful style. Unfortunately unlike a similar band, Passion Pit, whose records are equally flush and vivacious as their on stage performance, Starfucker screw themselves more often on the album with an incomparable sound to their packed concert full of eager starfuckers getting ample doses of energetic positive “medicine.” Enjoy them in town, and get ready for their follow up album.
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