You know those concerts where everyone just kind of stands around and bobs their head, making an effort not to look “uncool” by showing off the dance moves they’re itching to let out? The lame kind? A STRFKR concert is anything but that. People that would normally let the unwritten rules of hipsterdom keep them looking bored, go crazy when those guys get on stage.
Last night, I was lucky enough to see these guys for the second time in the past year at Harlow’s in Sacramento. The show began about an hour late, adding that much more enthusiasm in the crowd. Fellow Portland native, Onuinu opened the night with a mixture of dreamy and upbeat chillwave music. Songs off of his new album, Mirror Gazer, like “Always Awkward” and “Happy Home”, got everybody moving a bit more than the simple head bob, with some slight hip movement getting in there. For this kind of crowd, that’s pretty impressive.
After Onuinu left the floor, the lights on the venue walls started changing color, the stage got dark, and smoke started to fill the room. Everyone in the near capacity-filled room started pushing their way to the front, where I happened to be standing, and if you’ve ever been to a jam-packed show at the sardine can that is Harlow’s, you know this is quite uncomfortable. STRFKR climbed up on stage, started with one of their most upbeat songs, “Hard Smart Beta”, and an earthquake hit midtown Sacramento. The whole room was a moving sea of giddy hipsters. These boys are dance gods in their world.
Although the show had a bit of a shaky start with some technical difficulties that the guys pointed out between songs, the problems were soon resolved and the excitement resumed. An LED wall light show and laser beams in the small space gave off the feel of an intimate party. Classic STRFKR songs like “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” and “Julius” had everyone singing along, while their more beat-driven tunes like “Mystery Cloud” and “Quality Time”, made the crowd erupt into a passionate dance. The band also revealed some new songs off of their upcoming and highly anticipated album, which had a tremendously positive response. At the end of the night, they gave an encore that included “Bury Us Alive”, one of my personal favorites. It was a perfect ending to another triumphant performance by STRFKR.
Overall, the night was a great success and even the most cynical concertgoers seemed pleased. STRFKR’s infectious beats bore deep into the souls of the crowd, taking them away to a land of happy, mindless dancing. For three hours, the music had me forgetting a looming midterm the next day. Blissful euphoria. This is the kind of band I would pay to see live for a third time. Whether you catch them on this tour or when they come around again to promote the new album, STRFKR puts on a show you won’t want to miss.
You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Wednesdays from 7-8pm on KSSU.com. I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and the occasional giveaway. Tune in!
DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas