Portland band STRFKR brought the weird to Columbia last Wednesday. Equipped with inflatable swans, astronaut suits and enough gear to make any music-lover geek out, STRFKR threw a psychedelic dance party unlike anything the Note has seen all semester. Frontman Josh Hodges strutted out dressed as a woman — a timely political statement that probably went over the heads of less informed crowd members. His choice of attire served an important purpose and informed us of STRFKR’s ideals that the dance floor is a place of love and inclusion.
STRFKR eased the crowd into the celebration with the sublimely melodic “Atlantis” before transitioning into the jittery synth bliss of “Malmo.” Watching the end of a STRFKR song live is like watching some child savant playing with Legos. Each song is carefully constructed, but the tension they create by threatening to tear it down is absolutely thrilling. If you couldn’t figure it out from the crowd surfing astronauts, this willingness to toss out convention and improvise directly reflects the bands ethos — they’re just here to have a good time. Nothing embodies their lack of fucks given better than their gleeful cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” The bass line triggered a roar from the crowd and sent the place into a frenzy.
Other highlights of the night were the euphoric “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” and fan favorite “While I’m Alive.” Considering all of the improvised jams, STRFKR cruised through over twenty songs in a set that went for two hours. It was a fantastic show. As I left The Blue Note, I heard rave reviews from excited, newly converted fans as well as from a guy I shared a cigarette with who has been following them on tour for the last month. This may sound like typical post-show enthusiasm but it’s a testament to a band that has been near the top of the indie-pop pyramid for a long time and still brings it every night.
This post was written by Ben Kane, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose Blog.