Last night, the Oregon-based indie-tronica group (whose longhand title is less modestly dubbed Starfucker) drew an eclectic mix of young stargazers to the Rev Room with a steady flow of synth rock and disco beats.
Truth be told, I was somewhat taken aback when boatloads of “hipsters” frolicked in wearing full fantasy regalia. It was hard to decipher exactly what I was witnessing — was this a death blow to time-tested traditional hipster fashions or simply Halloween leftovers?
Perhaps Starfucker just draws a different crowd. The obligatory skinny jeans were plentiful enough to supply an East Village restoration project. But one could also find torn hot pink spaghetti strapped tank tops — likely a nod to the group’s penchant for '80s covers. One large group — we will call them the Fairy Clan — rocked out in Egyptian-styled eyeliner and donned glow sticks, hula hoops, silver-tasseled halos, and glittery butterfly wings. Touché.
I don’t want to paint the image of a youthful hallucinogenic wonderland. Plaid shirts were also decently represented. I bumped into a rigidly carved mountain man as well, and I believe I even saw a pea coat. The scene wasn't particularly enigmatic or majestic — just refreshing, and encouraging after countless shows with worn out prefabricated styles.
Maybe this is what distinguishes the band from other popular indie-synth groups like College, Chromatics and Jupiter — Starfucker is richer in substance. Beneath the cool, wispy vocal sounds are contemplative messages on mortality. This isn’t a particularly new artistic gesture. Nonetheless, Starfucker seems to have a genuine proclivity for matching their messages with appropriate, yet counter-intuitive, expressions that expose the raunchy funkiness of human experience.
Lead singer and brain trust Joshua Hodges admits the band is philosophically rooted in what might be described as an Eastern approach to death and dying.
“I'm kind of obsessed with death,” he told Spinner last year. “It's scary, but it doesn't have to be. There can be a way in which death can not only give meaning to life, but so much more than that. Everything is dying all the time. Nothing is permanent.”
Starfucker's latest album, "Reptilians," includes multiple samples of lectures by Englishman and Zen guru, Alan Watts. In a clip at the end of "Mystery Cloud," Watts suggests "Just as manure fertilizes the plants, and so on, so the contemplation of death and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creating life."
Starfucker opened the night with back-to-back instrumental shorts and then wasted no time appeasing the collective appetite with the 2008 hit “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” which in 2009 was featured in a Target commercial.
The group rarely ventured from its mainstay disco groove, much to the delight of star fans. The three-pronged multi-instrumental front men consistently floated between keyboards, guitars, and microphones, belting out signature anthems. The geared-up crowd unleashed when the group played the morbidly pure, “Bury Us Alive,” which was included in the 2012 film "Chronicle."
Hodges ended the show slithering on the stage floor while swiping licks at a nearby electric guitar. After a short, business-like exit, the band returned for a four-shot encore, including the evergreen '80s cover, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Some came purely for entertainment, and a rare few likely came for a deeper experience. With Starfucker, you get the best of both worlds.