Summer isn’t quite here, but torrential afternoon storms already are. The past couple of weeks
Opening for STRFKR was Com Truise, a New York-based, synth-happy act. Seth Haley, the man behind the project, may have his fans, but his set was a bit underwhelming. His is electronic dance music in slow motion, like listening to a sick beat underwater. Considering the dance elements of both outfits, it makes sense that Com Truise and STRFKR would team up, but they couldn’t have chosen a more plodding opening act.
The DJ and producer played a set that was thick with heavy bass and occasional bouts of glitchy energy, but for the most part, it was loud, oppressive lounge music better relegated to the background. Between the slow, thumping rhythms and the purple lights bathing the room, it felt like one of the vampire club scenes from the Blade films. Com Truise makes proper dope-smoking music that both drunk boys and rolling girls
Normally, openers are a good excuse to sit in the venue’s outdoor courtyard and puff on a few cigarettes. However, the crowd at Culture Room last night wasn’t going to miss a single second of the show. Between Com Truise’s fans and those positioning for a good spot once STRFKR took the stage, the sold-out show absolutely felt like one. The audience eventually jelled into one amorphous blob sluggishly swaying back and forth in unison. Whatever the reason, the masses cemented themselves in the pit so early, those up front were handsomely rewarded once the headliners arrived.
Stepping up to the mic a quarter after 10, STRFKR mercifully picked up the pace of the evening. Already an immovable force, the crowd swelled further in size, joyfully greeting the band. Only an act of God could’ve moved them out of the way. The best way to the bathroom was
STRFKR immediately launched into an indie-pop dance party that was groovier than anything their counterparts, MGMT and Of Montreal for example, have ever done. Certain songs came off like electro-pop versions of Pink Floyd, simultaneously bouncy and psychedelic. Over the years, STRFKR’s shows have become increasingly explosive and weird in the best possible way.
At one point, two astronauts randomly came out to do a little jig before one dry-humped the other from behind. The blowup doll made its appearance during STRFKR’s brilliant cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and continued leaping from outstretched hand to outstretched hand as they pumped out another awesome cover, Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.” As if that wasn’t enough of
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STRFKR’s own songs received just as much love and attention as all the covers — in particular, “While I’m Alive,” which was celebrated with one of the astronauts riding atop the audience in an inflatable raft. They closed the show with an absolute body-mover, “Leave it All Behind,” ending on a high note, fans exhausted by fun.
Although the band didn’t really address the crowd in general, it didn’t matter. They let their music do all the talking, and the message was simple: dance.