Bunnies and Pandas and Gumby, Oh My

March 18th, 2013

Starfucker – Webster Hall – March 15, 2013

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Accurately describing what Starfucker sound like requires some hyphens. The band, sometimes known by the SFW vowelless variation STRFKR, could be called psych-pop, electro-rock, indie-glam and disco-funk. You might even say there are subtle hints of chillwave in there. But, then, this may be getting too specific. So long as you mumble “fun” and “dance” somewhere in your description, that’s really good enough—and it’s quite possibly all you’d get out of anyone in Friday’s crowd at Webster Hall.

Starfucker know when they’re onto something catchy, wringing every last groove out of a song’s hook like it’s a wet sponge. The Portland, Ore., band doubled down on the blissful riffs of “German Love,” liberally applying synths on top of synths until the hooks worked their way into every last brain in the venue, collectively drowning them in pleasure molecules. The fun levels shot up exponentially in the latter half of the set, when, as if some otherworldly dimension had kicked down a door backstage, the place suddenly filled with balloons, inflated trash bags and a cast of plush characters.

This psychedelic wonderland’s arrival had an immediate effect on the audience: Head-nodding appreciation for the grooves quickly turned into jumping and flailing, and the entire front row of the audience decided it was the perfect time for crowd surfing, with some members of the plush gang onstage joining in amidst a sea of popping balloons. The cherry on top of it all arrived in the encore with Starfucker’s sing-along friendly cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” And judging from the scene, guys also want to have fun, not to mention plush bunnies, astronauts, pandas, elephants and even Gumby. Fun doesn’t discriminate at Starfucker shows. —Dan Rickershauser